Olympic Weightlifting Champion Hidilyn Diaz Lifted Water Jugs and Suitcases During Lockdown

Diaz creatively adapted her training during COVID-19 lockdown prior to the Games.

On Monday, July 26, 2021, Hidilyn Diaz chalked up her hands and approached the barbell for her final clean & jerk attempt at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Her Olympic record result of 127 kilograms (280 pounds) secured her a total of one kilogram more than China’s Liao Qiuyun to win the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines. Here were Diaz’s results from her fourth Olympic Games appearance:

2020 Tokyo Olympic Games — Hidilyn Diaz, 55-Kilograms

  • Snatch — 97 kilograms (213.9 pounds)
  • Clean & Jerk — 127 kilograms (280 pounds) — Olympic Record
  • Total — 224 kilograms (492.8 pounds) — Olympic Record

Nine months before the Games, in November 2020, Diaz took to her YouTube channel to share a behind-the-scenes look into how she trained during the COVID-19 lockdown in Malaysia. In addition to the workouts involving a barbell one might expect from an eventual Olympic champion, Diaz also incorporated a lot of running and Tabata training — a kind of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) — into her routine. Check it out:

Here is an example of a training session, programmed by her coach, Julius Irvin Naranjo, that Diaz would perform while staying at home, or rather, outdoors in a parking garage:

Hidilyn Diaz’s At-Home Workout

Then, every minute on the minute (EMOM):

Additionally, Diaz shared clips of herself performing overhead squats and back squats using water jugs as weights. The movement of the water during the squats challenged her balance and stability.


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A post shared by Hidilyn Diaz OLY (@hidilyndiaz)


Her accessory movements included high-pulls with a resistance band, pistol squats, and front squats with household items like suitcases loaded with filled water bottles. Of course, Diaz had weight plates and a squat rack in what appeared to be her basement to train with as well.

Diaz said that having to adjust to training within the confines of her home for the majority of her prep for the Olympic Games was not easy. However, her desire to make it to the Games and stand atop the podium kept her motivated.

Learn to be creative during this pandemic. We cannot complain. We have to adapt.

Diaz’s creativity during the lockdown led her to perform the training that led to the first gold medal ever won by an athlete representing the Philippines at an Olympic Games.

Feature image: @hidilyndiaz on Instagram