Photo by Hookgrip
Here is the next interview in our series of interviews with Russian weightlifters.
We got to talk with 21 year old Adam Maligov. He is the 2013 Junior European champion and silver medalist of the 2014 Senior European Championships in the -85 kg category.
The interview was once again conducted by Alexey Goldbergs from wodloft.ru where you can find the Russian version. The translation is brought to you by the ATG Shirt. Thanks to everybody who bought one.
Update: Adam won the 2014 Russian Championships 94kg and qualified for a spot on the worlds team (94kg)
Adam, congratulations on your good performance at the European Championship!
171/202/373 and the silver medal at your first international senior competition is not too bad. Are you satisfied with your performance?
I am glad that I won the silver medal at my first European Championship, but I am not satisfied with my performance. But it was pretty good in general, I liked it.
There was a feeling that your Clean and Jerk could have been much better. In one of his interviews Alexander Venkov [Russian Head Coach] said that you pinched a nerve in your back while making your second attempt and your further participation in the competition was in question.
Yes, that’s right. My snatch went smoothly in general, but I injured my back a little bit while doing the Clean and Jerk.
How, by the way, is your back now?
There is a small strain, so I’m working with small weights at the moment. But overall it is good.
In other words, the injury is not serious?
No, absolutely not.
What was your initial plan in terms of kilograms for this championship?
As for the Snatch, our plan was 171-172 kg. As for the Jerk, we originally planned 207-208 kg, but it turned out the way it did.
But in any case, even those weights were not enough to fight for victory with Ivan Markov.
Yes, the gap was too big.
By the way, what are your best lifts in training? Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Front and Back Squat, Deadlift? Do you generally do Deadlifts or just Snatch and Clean Pulls?
Yes, I do Deadlifts, as well as Snatch and Clean Pulls. [in contrast to Alexey Lovchev who does only Pulls]
My Bests so far:
- Snatch – 170 Update: 185kg Snatch, 190kg Snatch off Blocks
- Clean and Jerk – 200 – Update: Adam hit a 215kg Clean & Jerk in training.
- Clean Pull – 220 x3
- Front Squats – 220 x2
- Back Squats – 250 x2 Update: 270kg Squat
- Rack Jerk – 230kg
So in other words, your PRs are done in competitions. You did 171 kg for the Snatch and 205 kg for the Clean and Jerk at the 2014 Russian Cup. Did you not lift those weights in training, or simply didn’t try them?
I just didn’t try them except for using blocks.
Here is his 180kg Snatch from Blocks:
I generally do presses after each workoutDo you do Presses?
Yes, I generally do presses after each workout. I do standing press [Strict, Military Press], sitting press using wide and narrow grip.
What is your best press?
120 kg for the standing Military Press.
There are those who are against doing certain exercises before competitions, and there are those who continue to do heavy Squats even a day or two before the competition. For example, before the last World Cup, Lu Xiaojun, the Olympic champion of 2012 in the 77kg category, Back Squatted 260/2 [Video here]. Do you do power training before competitions or just the classic lifts?
I feel comfortable when squatting.Of course I do.
At the European Championship I also back squatted 200 x3 for three or even four sets.
I feel comfortable when squatting. It helps me keep my legs in good shape. And when I do not squat, I have a feeling that my legs get thinner and that is bad. I start thinking, “And how am I going to stand up with those?”
What exercise do you like the most and the least?
My favorite exercise is the Snatch. And I don’t like Front Squats.
Have you ever done vertical jumps and if so, how high did you jump?
A while back, when I just started, we were jumping to the maximum height and I injured my legs. Since then, I haven’t jumped to the maximum. But we generally jump quite often.
Okay, let’s go back a little to the time when you just started your career in weightlifting. I read that when you first came to the weightlifting gym, I think it was in the fifth grade, you were not admitted at first. Why?
That’s true, my coach would not let me take up weightlifting when I came to the gym.
He said that I was too small for it. But a year later, the same coach came up to me and said that I could start and, of course, I immediately agreed. So, I began my journey into weightlifting. I was 12 years old.
Why did you decide to take up weightlifting?
I don’t know. My neighbors would go to the gym and one day I decided to go with them for the company. And I liked it very much.
Had you gone in for any sports before weightlifting?
I went in for wrestling for 2.5 months, but quickly realized I wasn’t meant for it. Well, I also played football with other boys in the yard. Other than that I didn’t do sports.
I also read that you had a long break?
Yes, we went swimming with the guys and one of them threw a large stone from the mountain.
The stone cracked and one of the fragments seriously injured my knee and tore the ligaments… It took long to heal. I was about 13 or 14. I thought that I would never train anymore.
But 4.5 years ago, my coach Aslambek Ediev said, “Let’s give it a try!” So I returned to weightlifting.
And during those 5-6 years, you didn’t do anything at all?
Nope, absolutely nothing.
Well, as it turned out over those 4.5 years you have gotten into very good shape. What was more difficult for you in weightlifting, Snatch or Clean and Jerk?
My Jerk has always been okayMy Jerk has always been okay. The hardest thing for me was to stand up. In other words, it’s easy for me to catch the barbell in the rack position, but then it’s pretty difficult for me to get up.
But if I do get up, I always finish Jerk. This attempt to lift 201 kg at the Europeans was the second one I missed.
What would you advise beginners in weightlifting to pay attention to first of all?
First of all, technique. Technique is the most important thing.
When I returned to weightlifting, I trained with a stick at first, then with a bar. I initially did not have any technique. And now there are still some flaws which we are trying to correct.
Dmitry Berestov said, “My first coach taught me not only how to lift the barbell, but he also taught to love weightlifting.” Can we say the same about you?
As Dmitry Berestov said, my coach also taught me to love the barbell. Not only does my coach teach me how to lift the bar, but also he teaches me how to live.
Then let’s talk a little about your coach. I read that your first and main coach Aslambek Ediev trains you while you’re home and your second coach Ibrahim Samadov travels with you to training camps.
Not exactly. Ibrahim has his own student, Magomed Abuev, with whom he travels to training camps.
And when Aslambek can not for some reason go with me to the training camp, Ibrahim looks after me and advises me what to do. And for that, many thanks to him. But since their views on technique and approach to weightlifting in general are very similar, it does not affect my training process.
When they write you a program, do you always follow it?
Yes, I try to do everything they write.
Well, suppose they write you a program for a day, but for some reason you can’t lift the weight they wrote. What do you do? You reduce the weight and do the prescribed number of repetitions and sets or leave the weight as it is and decrease the number of repetitions or sets?
Honestly, I’ve never been in this situation, because Aslambek always writes what I can lift on a particular day.
I never do 1-2 repetitions unless I go for the maximum weight. I usually do 3-4 repetitions. I think it’s better to go for the volume than to lift very big weights. When you work a lot with big weights, your technique begins to deteriorate.
in training I miss very, very rarely. I can miss 1-2 times in 3-4 months.But when you mainly do just 3-4 repetitions, you miss sometimes, don’t you? Or does that never happen to you?
When in training, I miss very, very rarely. I can miss 1-2 times in 3-4 months.
Khadzhimurat Akkaev said in one of his interviews that sports scientists, after studying the impact of different methods of training on his body, came to the conclusion that it would be better for him to do heavy one-repetition sets. Was your method of working with large volumes found in the course of some research or by practice?
I just like to work with the volume; I’m just cut for it.
Naturally, doing a lot of reps, you grow very tired. But then you come to your room, take a shower and feel a pleasant tiredness. And when you do 1-2 repetitions, it turns out that you just take weights and feel nothing. I don’t like it.
If not for weightlifting, what kind of sports would you choose?
I don’t know. Probably boxing because my dad was a boxer.
You have a brother, Timur Maligov, who performs in the -69kg category. Did you start training together?
There is a very small difference in our age, only 1 year. He started lifting shortly before I returned to weightlifting. He trained for about a year, but not regularly. And when I came back, he began training more seriously.
Today [the interview was recorded on June 1st] he went with other guys to Podolsk, where they are going to prepare for the European Junior Championships.
In other words, your return motivated him?
Yes, you could say that. He would always do what I did and thus took weightlifting up.
Judging from your photos, I can say that his height is exactly the same as yours. Well, maybe 1-2 cm less.
Yeah, his height is 173 cm. [Adam is 174 cm, btw can someone please set up a his wikipedia page]
But for such a height, 69 kg is quite a small weight. What is the reason? Does he eat too little?
No. He eats well. But he can’t gain any weight for some reason. He gained a maximum of 73 kg, but not more.
And is he planning to move to a higher weight category?
Yes, after coming back from the Jr. Europeans he’s going to try to go to 77 kg. But in general he certainly wants to go to the 85kg category. And he always says, ‘When I weigh 85 kg, I will lift more than you do!’
I know that you’re at the training camp in Sochi at the moment. For how long do you stay at training camps?
I spend 10-11 months per year in training campsUsually I spend 10-11 months per year in training camps in order not to lose shape.
With whom do you usually live at training camps?
Mainly with Chingiz Mogushkov.
What a surprise! Your weight categories are a little bit different.
Yes, Chingiz is about 100 kg heavier than I am now.
What’s your typical training day like when you are in a training camp?
We get up at 8 a.m.
Then we exercise till 9 a.m. We stretch, bend, work our abs, run around the stadium.
At 9 we have our breakfast. After breakfast, we rest for 2-3 hours and then go to the gym at 12.
At about 2 p.m. we finish training and go for lunch. After lunch, we rest again.
At 4 p.m. we go to the gym again where we train for 2-2.5 more hours, after which we go for dinner. After dinner, we walk a little and then go to sleep.
And how often do you have double workouts?
Every other day. On those days when we don’t have a workout in the evening we take a sauna.
How do you usually recover after a workout? Sauna, massage, walking, or maybe something else?
Sauna and massage are necessary!
Without them it won’t work at all. I also like to take a walk before bedtime. And good sleep, of course. I sleep from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. and then I’m fresh and full of energy.
What do you like to eat before going to bed?
Before going to bed I like to eat fruits.
Akkaev in his interview with Klokov said that he likes Taganrog more than Chekhov. Which do you prefer?
Maybe Akkaev likes it more there, and I like it very much both in Chekhov and Taganrog.
Indeed, we have serious competition, there are many strong guys. But we all here communicate well, we are friends with each other including Artem Okulov and Dmitry Khomyakov who also moved to the 85kg category. And as for Apti, we are both from the Chechen Republic. So we always have a good atmosphere.
They say that Apti is going to move to the category of 94 kg. Besides, he also had problems with his back and it is likely that he will miss the main event of this year. Artem is apparently healing his injuries as well. Adrian Zielinski has moved to 94 kg. In other words, it turns out that by adding a few kilograms to the Clean and Jerk you will have a real chance to compete for medals at the World Championships. How do you evaluate your chances for the upcoming season?
Like any athlete, I’m going to compete not for bronze or silver, but only for the victory.
But that will require that I lift at least 385 kg. So there is still a lot of work. I do not want to think too much into the future.
In August there will be the Russian Championships in Grozny for which we are preparing. There we will see how things will work for me. You can certainly talk a lot, but in the end everything will be decided on the platform.
Update: Here are Adam’s lifts from the 2014 Russian National Weightlifting Championships.
Will Aukhadov participate in Russian Championship?
As far as I’m concerned, he won’t. He’s now undergoing a recovery period, he slowly began to train.
Tell me, how do you psych yourself up, especially in competitions? Do you have any special ritual for this? Some use shouts, while others are the opposite and try to calm themselves. What is your approach?
I try to stay calm. That allows me to think through the movement. And when you start to psych up, you often make mistakes.
I noticed that you scream sometimes when standing up during a Clean.
Yes, it was my mistake when I lifted 201 kg. When I stood up, I shouted and that wasted all of my energy. Now I understand that I should not have done that.
Have you ever had a problem with getting into the weight category?
No. My usual weight during training is 88 kg. So I have no problems fitting into the category.
Are you planning to move to 94 kg?
My height would allow me to perform in that category. Not now, of course, but in the future.
But before moving to 94 kg I want to do my best in the 85kg category. I know that I can do more here.
So you still see room for improvement?
I feel I can add a lot to my Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
Have you heard of CrossFit?
Yes, of course.
According to some experts in the field of CrossFit, the optimal height for a man going in for CrossFit is 173-178 cm and the optimal weight is 83-88 kg. Just like yours. Have you got plans, once you finish your weightlifting career, to then switch to CrossFit or just somehow participate in CrossFit competitions the way Oksana Slivenko does?
Never really thought about it. Now I’m focusing only on the barbell.
What do you like in addition to weightlifting?
I like fishing very much.
Rapid Fire Questions
Well, and now we’ll have a short interview of 10 questions. I ask you a question with two options from which you choose only one. Ready?
Snatch or Clean and Jerk?
Clean and Jerk.
Rock or Rap?
Rap, I guess.
Photo or video?
Theater or movies?
Cars or motorcycles?
Mountains or the sea?
Winter or summer?
Breakfast or dinner?
Blondes or brunettes?
Ah! That’s a tough one. I guess brunettes.
Give or receive?
Excellent! Adam, thank you for your very interesting answers and good luck to you in the upcoming competitions!
Thank you! Good bye!
More Interviews from the Series: