The Foundation | Yasha Thoughts


Ilya Ilyin is a 2-time Olympic Champion and 4-time World Champion. After profitable the 2012 London Olympics, Ilya took 15 months off from training to let himself relaxation and get well. At the top of this break, Ilya got here to the US to do a sequence of seminars with Dmitry Klokov, Vasiliy Polovnikov, Nikita Durnev, Zygmunt Smalcerz, and myself.

The workforce at Waxman’s health club

Picking him up from the airport, I anticipated to see a thick strength athlete. Instead, an average, relatively thin guy came out. He looked small. His hair wasn’t spiky. I didn’t recognize him.

The subsequent day throughout our first seminar collectively, our gang was demonstrating the lifts to the seminar attendees. Klokov and Polovnikov had been snatching round 190kg. I used to be snatching 140-145kg. Ilya form of appeared like he was re-learning the snatch motion with a mere 40kg on the bar.


After the primary seminar, I requested Ilya what his future plans had been – whether or not he wished to return to training and compete once more. Ilya informed me that he would start his training once more throughout our seminar tour, and proceed for the next 10 months main as much as the 2014 World Championships, which he hoped to win.

Without disrespect, I known as bullshit. He wished to go from what appeared like a mean man to being the strongest on the planet… in 11 months.

Klokov and Polovnikov chimed into the dialog. They stated that in addition they sometimes take a minimum of a couple of months off each couple of years. They return to training additionally very weak (er, you recognize…comparatively weak). After about 2-3 months of training, they get again to 90-95% of their greatest outcomes, as will Ilya.

On the second week of the seminar tour, Ilya’s snatch went as much as 70kg, and his clear and jerk went as much as 90kg. His lifts elevated by one other 20-30kg on the third week, and once more on the fourth. On the ultimate week of our tour, he and I had been lifting the identical weights, competing with one another each day, snatching 140-150kg and clear and jerking 170-180kg.

Ilya and me in a snatch-off on the final week of the tour

At this time Ilya had been training constantly for a couple of month. Meanwhile, I used to be on my eighth or ninth consecutive 12 months of by no means taking greater than per week off from training. His strength was constructing shortly.

10 months later, Ilya gained the World Championships, and set a new clean and jerk world record within the 105kg weight class. All Things Gym tracked his development over these 10 months here. Ilya elevated his clear and jerk by 71kgs. I elevated mine by 2kgs.


This was 2.5 years in the past. Since then, I’ve taken many non-consecutive months off from training, and have been capable of return to 90-95% of my greatest outcomes inside only a few months of getting again into it.


Our skill to elevate heavy weights develops over years of training. As quickly as we cease, our our bodies shortly adapt to a comparatively stress-less life-style and our muscle tissues lower in dimension and strength. However, the muse that now we have developed over years of training doesn’t go away.

This basis consists of:

  • Technique. When a motion is repeated many instances, we develop a motor program that permits us to carry out the motion with out consciously controlling particular person muscle tissues. Once a motor program is developed, it stays relatively permanently.
  • Muscle cell infrastructure. As we stress our muscle tissues, the muscle cells get greater, and the variety of nuclei improve to help the bigger demand for protein synthesis. When we cease training, the muscle cells lower in dimension and strength, however the number of nuclei remains the same. Once we return to training, having numerous nuclei helps the muscle cells regrow to their previous size faster than the primary time.
  • Confidence. Having lifted a heavy weight up to now provides us confidence in our skill to elevate it once more.

When we return to training, we have already got the muse we’ve beforehand developed. The funding required to rebuild to earlier heights is far lower than the primary time. Of course, as soon as earlier bests are reached, each further kilo would require extra work.  

Ilya Ilyin took a 12 months off from training following every of the 2 Olympics he has gained. And he was capable of return to the highest of the rostrum after every prolonged break.

And by the best way, he’s a vegetarian. But extra on that later.

Yasha Kahn

Weightlifter, coach and now: blogger. I’ve traveled world wide sharing my weightlifting information and experiences. I sit up for the subsequent journey.


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