From July 23 through August 6, a group of male and female weightlifters from 10 countries gathered for 2 weeks in Beijing, China to attend the Ma Strength Weightlifting Camp. With various training backgrounds, experience levels, and goals, all gathered through a common interest – a love of Olympic weightlifting.
The camp took place at the National Training Base at Beijing Sport University. Participants stayed on campus and were within a short walking distance to the training hall. The group trained with China’s BSU National Weightlifting Team in the facility deemed the “champion factory” as it has produced world and Olympic champions such as Zhang Guozheng, Zhang Xiangxiang, Zhang Xugang, Cao Lei, Chen Xiexia, and Liu Chunhong.
Most days involved training twice a day with a training session in the morning, a break for lunch and rest, and then another training session in the afternoon. Morning sessions focused on snatch/CJ and assistance movements while the afternoons focused on strength exercises, such as back or front squat, along with bodybuilding exercises, and weak point training.
Lifters immersed themselves in the Chinese weightlifting system by learning Chinese weightlifting technique from the Ma Strength team and coaches from the Chinese Army National Team. The Chinese system was further explored through attending several lectures from coaches involved at various levels in the Chinese classification system. Topics included 1) recruiting and training beginner lifters, 2) gender differences in training, 3) Chinese strength standards, and 4) the training of high level lifters. Additionally, attendees had their lifts analyzed using 3D motion technology by one of China’s top sports scientists and his team.
Special events of the camp included a surprise visit by Liao Hui, Zhong Guoxun, and their coach Yu Jie who agreed to be interviewed by attendees. They answered questions for about an hour and then posed for pictures afterwards (note: stay tuned to the Ma Strength youtube page for an edited version).
One of the highlights of the camp was attending a 2-day testing event at the Chinese National Training Center for the upcoming Asian Games and Youth Olympics. This was an extremely unique opportunity as this was the first time any group of foreigners has been allowed to witness such an event. While most lifters at the center were beginning their own intense training camp in central China, attendees witnessed men and women tying several standing world records and Liao Hui unofficially breaking the men’s 69kg clean and jerk world record.
A driving force underlying the Chinese weightlifting system is Chinese culture. Attendees spent their recovery time immersing themselves in Chinese culture by visiting several famous sites such as the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the 2008 Olympic Stadium, and Tiananmen Square. Attendees also had time to unwind with a night of karaoke, participating in a local tug-of-war and arm wrestling event, and spending a cozy evening at an authentic Chinese teahouse on the last night of the trip.
The group mostly ate on the Beijing campus but we also were able to sample cuisines from all regions of China. The group was also hosted by the president of the Do-Win Company who treated the entire camp out for an elaborate Peking duck lunch. Afterwards, he graciously let the group visit his store and provided a generous discount. The adventurous eaters of the group sampled more exotic delicacies such as sheep spine, chicken heads, duck tongue, and duck kidney.
The camp offered an intensive way to learn the Chinese system through training, lectures, watching world class lifting as well as experiencing the Chinese culture all while meeting people from all over the world that shared a common interest – a love of Olympic weightlifting.
We at Ma Strength thank the attendees for their participation and look forward next year’s camp! In the meantime, follow us on our Facebook page to stay up to date for upcoming pictures of the camp and future events! If you are interested in learning Chinese weightlifting methods in your area, please use our contact page to get the conversation started.