Chinese Weightlifting Dominance | The Secrets Revealed

The topic of Chinese Weightlifting makes me think about all the total animals they have on the team. Everyone is an animal. I think about their superb technique. I also think about them being extremely strong. Every lifter on the team has extremely strong front squats, back squats, pulls, high pulls, but also are able to control their speed in a very precise manner. They have a unique way of executing their pulls. I’m also thinking a lot about the bodybuilding they complete as well.

Checking out the videos, I wanted to comment on their technique, physique, and ability to control their speed to lead to precise execution in the snatch and in the clean and jerk.

Lu Xiaojun Snatching 171 KG

I got to ride on the same bus with Lu this year going from Tokyo to the airport during the Olympics. The guy is like thirty-six years old!


A big lesson I got from watching the video came from paying attention to what he does with the knee movement. His knees clear back, come back under, and he remains flat-footed through the pull, sliding the feet into the catch, not jumping all over the place. The bodybuilding work helps with the longevity (and maybe some other stuff).

Lu Xiaojun Clean & Jerking 207 KG

Lu just went off at this moment. It is just crazy that he is setting a senior world record at such an advanced age. Just a total phenom! But look at the technique! His feet stay flat for a long period during the pull, the knees move well, and he holds a tremendous upright posture in the dip of the jerk. He also has crazy mobility.


Lu is jacked.

Li Wenwen Snatching 146 KG

She is phenomenal. Just about every Chinese weightlifter that represents the country on the world stage is phenomenal. Do they ever not have someone compete who isn’t a world champion? It helps that she moves incredibly well and puts the bar in a good position. She was still a junior when she hit this lift in the video I am watching.


All of the Chinese weightlifters clear their knees back. They do not push their knees out. They stay on a flat foot for a very long period,. They have really strong upper body finishes as well.

Li Wenwen Clean & Jerking 186 KG

She was a little forward on the clean. Smacked the hell out of the jerk, winning the senior world title and the junior world title. She went 6/6 in the meet, hit a world record, and made me predict that the women supers are going to be putting up monster numbers over the next couple of years.


Again, these principles of moving the knees back, holding the foot position, and holding hip flexion for a longer period of time all play a role in having great movement and great technique.

Li Dayin Snatching 175 KG

This video came from Uzbekistan. I also wanted to shout out to Squat Jerk Journalist for doing such a great job. In this video, I noticed Li Dayin is one of the few Chinese weightlifters who doesn’t push his knees back as much as others on the team. Still, his feet slide out to a wide catch position. I also noticed Li Dayin shifts to his one side. It is also 175 kilos, which is absolutely insane.


I had to eat some of my own words because Li Dayin, although his hip extends and then his knees extend, he does push his knees out a bit. I prefer the knees back. Regardless, Li Dayin’s feet slide out in the catch.


He also has really swole quads.

Deng Wei Snatching 116 KG

The video I watched of this snatch is when Deng Wei went back and forth with Toma and the woman from North Korea. Deng Wei has a rock-solid bottom position. She also has hyperextended elbows. Again, it is the strength work Chinese weightlifters do overhead, the bodybuilding work, and the way they squat. They also do a great job of how they handle heavy loads but also work with their speed work and hypertrophy work. It’s not a secret. On second thought, actually, some of the stuff they do is a secret.

chinese weightlifting

Deng Wei Clean & Jerking 145 KG 

In the video I watched, she doesn’t even have knee sleeves on!


She is really strong. She is also a little narrow in the split. Three white lights regardless. She won by ten kilos with a 261 kg total.


Again, a Chinese weightlifter with the knees back, knees under, and super quick with the feet in the clean. Then in the jerk, she performed a tight dip, big drive, and got that front foot forward for excellent movement.

Shi Zhiyong Snatching 166 KG 

Foregone conclusion, Shi Zhiyong smacked this lift.


When I was in Pattaya, watching the Chinese weightlifters warm-up I noticed a lot of takeaways. The Chinese team came in with big, tubular bands that they use to warm up their shoulders. They used the bands to do some bodybuilding work and for warming up the pecs as well. They even did squats with the bands. I also noticed every movement they executed was precise. I also noticed they clown around a little while still being deliberate in their practice.

Shi Zhiyong Power Clean & Jerking 190 KG 

I find it insane that Shi Zhiyong came out on the world stage and power clean & jerked 190 kilograms.


It is just insane to be power cleaning 190 kilos as a 73-kilo lifter. At the time, his power clean was only six kilos under the world record. The 73-kilo weight class is stacked. Lifters have to be consistent at 185+ kilograms to be a player.

Shi Zhiyong Clean & Jerking 197 KG 

Shi Zhiyong is SO FAST out of the bottom.


Shi Zhiyong has never lost a weightlifting competition. Deng Wei hasn’t lost since 2014. Lu might have lost two or three times? It is loco. It is like, “What the HECK?!?” A lot of it is technique; a lot of it is their bodybuilding (and maybe some other stuff).


Even when Shi Zhiyong does his power jerks, watch his feet slide. US lifters and coaches can learn a lot from how the Chinese slide their feet.

Liao Qiuyun Clean & Jerking 128 KG 

Liao Qiuyun is tiny; she is a 55-kilo lifter in the video I watched from 2019. I like her jerk technique a lot. She does a great job of dropping the back knee.


I also believe the Chinese early start in training, the provincial setup with the coaches, and a myriad of other factors contribute greatly to the success the Chinese weightlifting team experiences.

Tian Tao Power Clean & Power Jerking 200 KG And Front Squatting 280 KG 

The video I watched is from training. His knees clearing back is very clear and evident in the power clean. Lu just sits in front of Tian like it’s just another day in the office as the lift is performed. Imagine being in that training environment!


Then there is the absolutely massive front squat Tian performs. For perspective, I recently was in Garage Strength training a group of throwers. Many of them got up around 280 kilos back squatting. The throwers weigh around 140 kilos. Tian Tao is a 96-kilo lifter and he is front squatting that weight!

Tian Tao Clean & Jerking 231 KG 

This lift transpired at the test event in Tokyo. Like clockwork, his knees cleared back and the feet slid out. What really made my jaw drop was during the jerk, he stopped 231 kilos at 90°. That level of strength is unreal.

Recap

I don’t understand how strength coaches can watch compilations of weightlifting from the Chinese weightlifting team and be like, “I don’t want to use technical coordination lifts like the snatch, clean, and jerk for sports performance; I don’t want to have a 220 lbs guy be able to stop 500 lbs at 90° overhead.”


Now, if training for sports performance athletes will not get that strong. But it is the principle, the speed, the strength, the rate of coordination, the mobility that is necessary, the mindset, and the technical coordination required. That is exactly what the Chinese weightlifting team has. That is why they are so dominant and the best.


DANE MILLER

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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