This Russian Weightlifter’s Clean Is a Clinic in Never Giving Up

Russian weightlifter Sergey Koptev isn’t a huge name in the weightlifting world, and he’s not attacking world or national record weights during training or competition (yet). And while it remains to be seen if he’ll ever reach a competitive elite status, like many determined lifters, he’s fighting to improve, one attempt at a time.

Koptev’s recent fight with 160kg — a 20kg PR! — really caught our attention. It’s a lesson in patience, fight, and repositioning in the clean. Textbook form? Not really, as there are certainly some kinks to work out.

But inspiring fight? Sure thing. We can’t remember the last time we fought this hard for a lift.

When it comes to strength sports, sometimes it’s good to know when to stop fighting on a given lift. But at a few points in a lifter’s career, progress takes a lot of grit and a big personal push. Koptev’s big PR is a testament to what determination can do even when leg strength is a bit lacking.

Featured image: @sergey_koptev on Instagram

David Tao

David Tao

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.

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