Lu Xiaojun has mobility and movement patterns that make (other) Olympic champions jealous. And while he’s certainly not invincible — a clean & jerk bombout at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships highlighted some inconsistency in his game — Xiaojun is a favorite to repeat as Olympic champ in Rio. What’s more impressive is that Lu is no spring chicken in the weightlifting world, and he turns 32 just over a week before the Rio Games.

The Chinese lifter with a physique to make bodybuilders envious also pulls off some crazy feats in the training hall. Our favorite — and one we come back to every few weeks to remind ourselves how weak we really are — is Lu Xiaojun’s 220kg overhead squat from 2014 (embedded below).

Actually, that’s not quite fair: This isn’t technically a standard overhead squat. It’s a narrow-grip, bottoms-up overhead squat. The two movements aren’t equivalent, but this variation is arguably MORE difficult than your standard version. Since Lu is a squat-jerker, it makes sense for him to develop crazy stability and strength in this overhead position. But squatting it up from a dead stop? “Remarkable” doesn’t do it justice.

Though the video — originally taken by Ma Strength’s Manuel Buitrago — is two years old, Lu looks to be in great shape heading into Rio. At Chinese Nationals earlier this year, he (unofficially, as it wasn’t an IWF-sanctioned event) totaled 381kg, 1kg over his own total world record.

All eyes will be on Lu Xiaojun in Rio, where the 77kg title should be his again — assuming he can actually stick a jerk in the clean & jerk portion of competition. The snatch and clean? For Lu, those just seem like baby weight.


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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and, as well as a contributor to, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.