Interview with Vlad Rigert, son of the Best lifter of the 20th century DAVID RIGERT

Vlad Rigert with his friend Dmitry Klokov
Vlad Rigert with his friend Dmitry Klokov

It is such a great honor to have been able to interview Vlad Rigert. Vlad is the son of acclaimed and legendary weightlifter and coach David Rigert. Vlad is a weightlifter himself who has posted some pretty good numbers in the 105kg category. He trains at his father’s academy with Dmitry Lapikov, Andrei Demanov and Roman Konstantinov who are all great weightlifters. He is also a good friend of Dmitry Klokov. Vlad is a very nice person with lots of interesting things to say about coaching and training. I subtly edited his answer – with his approval- so that they read easier.

And without further ado…here is my interview with Vlad Rigert…

Here is Vlad in action lifting a very hard 221kg in the clean and jerk. That’s what we call determination.

  1. Being the son of legendary athlete and Coach David Rigert, did that inspire you to start weightlifting when you were young?
Vlad's father is David Rigert.
Vlad’s father is David Rigert.

My Father never insisted that I take weightlifting classes. I was free to choose the kind of sport I wanted to participate in. I first learned how to play Tennis and then I learned how to play the piano. Nevertheless, at 12 years old I finally decided to start training in weightlifting. At 12 years old, I was very thin and weighed a little more than 20kg. I had a strong ‘’curvature of the spine’’ (Editor note : most likely scoliosis or severe lordosis). Although doctors had me categorically forbidden to engage in sports, my father fully took responsibility for my health and so my training career began in 1996.Trainingvery quickly yielded results. In 3 years my height increased from 150 cm to182 cm, my ‘’curvature of the spine’’ was almost gone. At 15 years old, my snatch was 90kg and my clean and jerk was 110kg in 62kg category.

2. Talking about your father…How was your father seen in your city? Did he get recognized in public? Was he well respected?

In Taganrog, the name ‘’Rigert’’ is familiar to many. He is often recognized on the streets. Davyd Rigert is an honorary citizen of the city of Taganrog, Grozny, Shahti and many others. He is always very warmly received not only in Russian cities, but when he travels to other countries. He is highly respected not only for his sporting achievements, but also for his human qualities, such as honesty and straightforwardness. When people are talking about him, they say that he is  “a real man!”

 3. Did he tell you any anecdotes from his time as a weightlifter that you would like to share? 

David Rigert coaching Olympian Berestov
David Rigert coaching Olympian Berestov

He did not tell jokes but he told many stories. What can I say? – I do not know… father is a wonderful storyteller, his charisma and wit gives his stories character that I cannot convey. In his book , “Who wants to, he will do ” written in 1979, there are a lot of interesting, tragic or funny stories of his life.

 4. How was it to be coached by your father? What’s the most important thing that you learned from him?

Yes, my father trained me. He did not like other coaches. During training, I was not like a son , but like an athlete. He taught us not to blindly follow the instructions of the coaches, but primarily learn for yourself, understand what you’re doing , feel the bar, to ” communicate”  and love the bar so she answers to you the same way you treat her …He taught me to love the motherland , weightlifting , sports …

 5. How often did you train in weightlifting? What kind of training did you do when you were just starting?

We progressed in length and weights and by 14 years old I was doing 8 workouts per week.

 6. What about now… How often are you training? What kind of training do you do?

Now I am training about 5-6 times a week, sometimes less. I have a lot of work …

 7. What are your goals right now? Are you aiming to compete at the Europeans championships?

My main goal is to increase the interest in weightlifting and crossfit and personnal training. For the European championships I’m not ready, you first need to beat the opponents of my country and 105kg category has a very strong competitors. I have not trained enough to show good results.

 8. At the moment, what are your best lifts in the snatch, clean and jerk, squat and pulls?

My best results are a 190 kg snatch, 221kg clean and jerk, 280kg squat and 310kg deadlift.

Lapikov is still training!
Lapikov is still training!

 9. You are now training with Dmitry Lapikov, Andrei Demanov and Roman Konstantinov. How are they doing? 

Yes we train at the same base -” Rigert Academy”- in Taganrog. The good guys are getting in shape : Roman Konstantinov is preparing for the national championship this year, and Dmitri Lapikov and Andrei Demanov just recently performed at the Winter Cup of Russia. Dmitry took 3rd place doing 201kg in the snatch and 230 kg in the clean and jerk. It’s is not the best result, but he is still gaining shape and I’m sure he will soon show the KGs for which he is ready. Andrei took 2nd place in his new weight class lifting (105kg) doing 184kg in the snatch and 223 in the clean and jerk.

 10. You are also friend with Dimitri Klokov as we could see in one of his video where he visited you. How did you meet him? Do you plan to do seminars with him?

I have known Dima Klokov for a long time. I first met him in 1998 when he first came to the camp in Taganrog. Since then, we often communicate and our family are friends. We even have daughters of the same age.

Joint seminars are planned in the near future. We have many joint projects and I hope we will be able to implement them.

 11. In your opinion, what is the most important thing about Russian weightlifting technique?

Tradition and character

2003
2003

 12. How important is strength development for weightlifting (in the form of squats, presses and pulls) in Russia?

There are many different schools of thought on how to train athletes in Russian weightlifting, but all of them pay more attention to technique than to power indicators

 13. I saw many pictures of you doing different type of exercises. It looked like you also coach in Crossfit and fitness training. Is that right? How did you get involved in that?

I train not only weightlifters, but many athletes from other sports, such as wrestling, kickboxing, athletics, swimming, crossfit. I developed a variety of exercises that are suitable not only for the development of strength and speed , but also other features of the organism depending on the sport.

I started to be interested 2 years ago in Crossfit , after seeing videos on YouTube of CrossFit athletes perform at the Games. I was attracted to exercises with a barbell … My
interest fueled Dmitry Klokov after we recorded a hilarious video in Taganrog …

14. How do you like and see coaching?

Vlad coaching his athletes.
Vlad coaching his athletes.

Coaching is my vocation and perhaps my destiny … I really care for the training process, especially with children. It is especially nice when an athlete shows new results for you
and that you know what this is and how it is your credit. To be a coach – is to be in constant search for solutions to the ever-emerging challenges, because each athlete is unique, like a blank sheet on which it is necessary to write all over it every time and all over again.

 15. How do Russians athletes see nutrition? Is there a certain kind of diet that Russian athletes adhere too?

Diet for weightlifters in Russia is not that important, except for those who are watching their weight to stay in their category. The main requirement is that the food was tasty and natural

 16. What do you like to do when you are not training?

In my spare time I like to play and compose music on the piano.

 1554347_1386155274975331_1162049047_n17. Thanks for the interview. Do you have any final words?

Thanks for your questions. It was interesting to answer them. and as a final word, I would like to wish all the athletes, fans of  heavy lifting, CrossFit athletes, fitness
trainees to remember that love for training opens up new horizon in the comprehension of your goals. As my father David Rigert says “Who wants to, will do”

One comment

  • He sounds like a fantastic guy and would love to be trained by him. Top notch guy and it seems that he has a passion for training others (even though his own lifts are still absolute top class)

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