Giant Killer: Evgeny Chigishev

Edit: This is another post by my friend, Brent. Enjoy.

2005, Doha, Qatar. It is the world weightlifting championships. The snatch session of the 105k+ men’s category is coming to an end. Of the 9 lifters competing in the A session, four of them have attempts left to obtain a result equal to or greater than 200k: Rezazadeh, the favorite, Viktor Scerbatihs, reliable as ever, Jaber Saeed Salem, an insanely strong athlete representing Qatar, and then there was Evgeny Chigishev.

Rezazadeh is just coming off a series of untouchable performances. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, he clean and jerked the current world record, 263.5k, and totaled 17.5k more than the next competitor (Scerbatihs) with 472.5k (this is just 2.5k off from the greatest total of all time, set by Leonid Taranenko in 1998 at 475k). And in the 2005 Asian Championships, he totaled an effortless 460k, taking 10k jumps in all three of his clean and jerks, culminating in what appeared to be a fairly routine 260k.

Rezazadeh’s biggest problem is that it seems as if no one can challenge him.

Chigishev opens at 200k on his first attempt without trouble. Rezazadeh follows with an effortless 201k, which is greeted by great applause from the Iranians in the audience. Salem, who defeated Rezazadeh in 2003 in the snatch, also takes 201k, as does Scerbatihs in seemingly robotic fashion shortly after. Salem ups the ante with his third and final attempt at 205k, but is unable to rack the weight overhead to stand. Rezazadeh takes the lead again when he is successful at 205k, and with the pressure mounting, Scerbatihs fails on his third and final attempt to match Rezazadeh’s lift.

Chigishev has two attempts left.

He calls for 209k, a 9k jump from his previous effort. It is a considerable jump, but the Iranians in the crowd do not give him quiet. They whistle and they chatter, but Chigishev finds the focus to tune them out and explode the weight overhead. He is successful, and suddenly Rezazadeh is challenged.

Rezazadeh’s third attempt is 210k. He can’t call for 209k, since he outweighs Chigishev by 40 kilos, and it would also be unwise to take a larger jump to establish a greater lead, since this is his third attempt snatch. He has to make this lift, and he has to hope that Chigishev does not have it in him to succeed with a greater weight.

Rezazadeh’s final lift is, characteristically, effortless, and his performance is again awarded with loud applause. He’s wrested victory away from the hands of a Russian who looks like he should be posing on a bodybuilding stage.

But Chigishev has one attempt left, and he wants to send a message. He calls for 211k. If he beats Rezazadeh, he does not want to beat him by ruling on bodyweight. Chigishev wants to beat Rezazadeh, decisively and definitively.

Of course, Rezazadeh’s biggest fans are in the crowd. When Chigishev comes out for his final attempt, which will decide who takes gold in the snatch, the audience refuses to give him quiet again, even when he motions for it.

David Rigert, coach of the Russian National team, shouts at him to just fucking go, and Chigishev positions himself over the bar. With the crowd whistling and shouting, he’ll have to find his own quiet.

The problem with going up against people like Rezazadeh is that the illusion of his invincibility is as daunting as his actual ability to perform. If a man appears to be untouchable, people who try to best him are almost always going to be affected because of that illusion. Who can beat a man who is on the edge of becoming the strongest athlete the sport has ever seen?

The venue is packed. They are all there for Rezazadeh. But Chigishev stands alone over 211k.

His pull is violent, explosive. The bar is overhead, Chigishev locks it out, holds it there as it tries to wrench to his left. His knees are shaking at the bottom of the squat, but impossibly, he begins to rise, and methodically works himself to the top.

Rezazadeh is no longer in the lead.

And Chigishev, a modest superheavy at 125.77k, becomes a giant killer.

37 thoughts on “Giant Killer: Evgeny Chigishev

  1. That Mendes kid is incredible. From what I’ve heard he also plays football, so we have to hope he doesn’t go pro and starts weightlifting “100%”.

  2. One of my favorite duels ever. I really wish Chigishev could have made the 251 instead of clarking it. Rezazedeh needs to learn that his brute strength only got him so far.

    BTW, Mendes quit football his last year in high school and has been 100% weightlifting since then, hence the ridiculous improvements (14-17 grueling workouts a week).

  3. This story is a little long, but that’s kinda been the theme this week so heregoes. I was squatting at the gym and for some reason my left leg was very sore and it would flare up everytime I would come out of the hole. This lead to me doing a ton of stretching in between sets just so it would loosen up a bit in order for me to complete my sets even though it still hurt while I was doing them. I was using Doug Young for my motivation. I eventually finished my last rep and as I racked the bar I heard someone behing me say “Nice to see someone going deep around hear.” I looked back and almost did a double take A: because I never thought I would get complimented on my squat depth at the gym I train at, and B: The voice was that of a woman who was barely 5ft tall and probly weighed just over 100lbs. I noticed she had a belt and was setting up for deadlifts. I began talking to her and found out she was a world champion powerlifter. She set a squat world record at 350 during the 1990’s. So not only was she a world champion powerlifter but she was fighting the forces of 90’s small at the height of their powers. Sadly she had to undergo a double lung transplant and due to all the surgeries she now has 3 seperate hernias. She still continues to lift tho it’s “wimp weight” as she described it. She then proceeded to pull 200lbs for 10. I then realized how big of a pussy I was for comparing my leg soreness to a Doug Young-like feat. This woman may have been 1/3 of my size but was infinitely more courageous. Just wanted to share that story as some 70’s big style inspiration.

  4. Just a correction: Taranenko’s all-time total mark is from 1988, not ’98.

    BTW, Chigishev is the man, although Scerbatihs is awesome, too. I mean, he’s a friggin’ member of his countries parliament! He’s like a God there!

  5. “In one of the World Strongman events shown on TV Mariusz when asked about diet said: “I eat everything. Lots of vegetables.”
    Pudzianowski commenting on his diet, “My energy comes from my diet. Breakfast is 10 eggs and 2-3 pounds of bacon. Between meals, I eat lots of candy. I need it for energy. Lunch, at 1 or 2 p.m., is a double meal of a Polish pork chop, sauerkraut and potatoes.
    An hour later, I work out, then take lots of supplements: magnesium, creatine, amino acids, all that stuff, and more chocolate.
    Dinner is whatever meat I can get: steaks, pork chops, bacon, plus more sauerkraut and potatoes. [After I work out] I have a protein shake and more chocolate.”
    In an interview at the beginning of his world strongman career he said that his supplements, training, massages, etc. cost him about 6000 PLN (ca. $2050 USD as of Dec 2009 exchange rate) per month.”

    You hear that? Candy. Awesome.

  6. Haha, yes, maybe so, but even a syringe can’t help someone write material like this:

    “The left hand brings death, but the right one even I am afraid of.” – Mariusz Pudzianowski

  7. From what I’ve heard, Pat is thinking about going to Nationals since he’s been saving up for 1 big meet this year since he is broke, and all he does is eat, sleep, and train (very much paraphrased from his coach).

  8. Mendes is a freak…. John Broz definitely has me curious about his programming… As it goes against everything i’ve learned about recovery and overtraining.

    I wish Ripp would interview/debate him for the next video on the SSS

  9. @Brian D

    Okay, thanks for putting my facts straight. Couldn’t find any good info about him with, although the guy is already almost a legend.

  10. From what I understand, Broz’s philosophy is much more complicated than: train twice a day, 7 days a week, maxes on all 3 lifts. Broz watches and controls every lift and all the volume.

    Daily maxes have variability, ranging from 70%-100% of your maxes, and that’s a big factor. People automatically assume you are hitting within 10kg of your maxes every day, weeks and months on end. No, you have bad days where you are hitting sometimes 20-30kg less than your max because you are tired. You can’t lift as heavy and can’t do as much volume and your tech breaks down. Your body makes you take it easier. I’m sure like any good coach, Broz stops Pat and the others at technical failure, and sometimes stokes the fire by cutting the workout short, allowing them to save it for a future workout.

    Also, no one can say anything about the training because John hasn’t laid out every workout or any workout Pat has done or any of his other lifters have done. But from what I understand, it is individualized, it takes into account fatigue and outside activities, and it is more than just snatch, CJ, and squats.

  11. Hey all.

    As a former “Curls for the girls” guy I have a few questions if you guys could answer them for me, I have been unable to Google answers for them.

    Firstly, as a ‘curls’ guy I under the advisement of friends started taking supplements (not sure if I can name them here but jack3d and powerFULL). I am not sure if by me taking these several months ago if that would disqualify me for three years from any USAPL or ‘tested’ meet (obviously I want to compete but I would not want to have one over someone else there, or enter a tested meet knowing I had taken something which was banned).

    Another friend of mine has been using Animalpak products (namely Mstak and Cuts (at separate times)) The Mstak comes with a disclaimer now saying it may be banned under certain federations, and the cuts has a diuretic.

    Is there a site that I can check to cross reference the products, or the ingredients, or does anyone know if these products are banned.

    As I said I’ve seen the light and began a starting strength style program a few months ago and I’m making good progress simply with hard work and lots of meat. At 6 foot tall 225lbs I feel I have a lot more in me with regards to training before I go to a meet, I have been lifting for just under one year and primarily that was curls, bench press and lots of rows / triceps extensions, I didn’t even know what a deep squat was until three months ago.

    I apologize for posting this right here but as it was the most recent post I guess I would have more feedback here.

  12. Real_Scots –

    Unless you are attempting a record or are the winner of your class, you probably won’t be tested in USAPL. They usually only test one or two people who don’t make it on the podium, and they don’t even test that many of those people. My last meet had somewhere around 20 guys in my flight, I think like 2 of them got tested. You could probably contact whoever is running the meet if you had more questions.

  13. Brian I saw in an interview that Broz has them do 6 lifts, front squat, back squat, snatch, power snatch, clean and jerk and power clean.

    He told one guy on the thread that he should be using a stick for the first 3-4 weeks and just doing the power movements 3 days a week until you can add a 4th day then a 5th and so on… it has me really intrigued

    Well Vegas isn’t that far from tucson and someone in my family always seems to be going there so I guess I should just make the trip and see for myself

  14. “… a Russian who looks like he should be posing on a bodybuilding stage.”


    And about Pudzianowski, “candy” can’t make you a singer and the runner-up for Dancing With The Stars. And I can’t wait to see him against Tim Sylvia.

  15. Yup, it’s all about gradually progressing into this training style and sticking to the basics. However, he’s told me that on Sundays people come in to do squats, pulls, jerks, lifts, etc. He has lifters who need to work on weaknesses work on them.

    I think John is trying to get this across: work hard at the classic lifts and squats (meat and potatoes) instead of the other things that may or may not help you at being a better lifter. “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?!”

  16. “Wrooong, do it again!”
    “You! Yes, you! STAAAND STILL, LADDY!”

    I found out today that I’m retarded, and, consequently, I was reminded that you can’t get far without a coach of some form.
    I dropped 7ish lbs. lately in preparation for treeplanting. I didn’t expect to get stronger while I was doing this, but I hoped to at least maintain. For a while, I dejectedly believed that I WAS getting weaker – my 3 by 5’s on the squat went from 330 to 314. Didn’t feel so hot.
    Then today, the local powerlifting hotshot nonchalantly informs me that my stance was about 4″ too wide, and that I was too duck-footed. It seems that, over time, my stance had crept out bit by bit without my really paying attention to it.
    So, I tightened it up, pointed my toes a little more forward, and VOILA – a formerly intimidating 314 went up like a breeze. Invigorated and just a little too pumped, I loaded 350 on the bar, a PR. It could have been foolish, but happily, that went up five times as well (albeit with a bit of a struggle on the last rep).

    So I was happy again.
    This was also at the end of a long session that included a FS PR (264), so I figure it’s worth another 10bs. fresh…

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