Hail to the Dinosaurs!
After sending out yesterday's post about the
Kazakhstani weightlifting team winning FOUR
gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games, I
did some more research and learned a bit
about their super secret Fortress of
Strength. I even found some photos of
So let me tell you what I found. But keep
this under your hat. Remember, it's top
The Kazakhastani team trains in what has
been described as "a remote sanitarium"
in the hills surrounding the mining town
of Tekeli, located in southeastern
Kazakhstan. The town was incorporated
in 1952 after various mineral discoveries,
and the current population is 27,000 plus
16 -- the 16 being 12 weightlifters and 4
The training center features a long room
with low ceilings. It has a wooden floor
that looks like the floor of a basketball
court. It's not very fancy. The walls are
an uninspiring white and beige, the entry-
way is unfinished,and unadorned light
bulbs hang down from black wires.
There appear to be eight or more wooden
lifting platforms. The platforms appear
to be 8 feet by 10 feet. They are made
of wood, with rubber matting on the
sides where the barbells land. I'm not
sure if they're commercial weightlifting
platforms or if they were made at the
facility. They look about the same as
what you'd find in any garage gym where
someone practices weightlifting. In fact,
they look pretty much like the platform
in my garage, except a bit bigger.
The platforms are laid out in two rows,
with a narrow space between the platforms.
Each platform has an Olympic barbell, and
between each platform is a small metal
stand for bumper plates.
I'm sure there are squat stands somewhere,
but I haven't seen a photo of them. I've
seen other photos of Kazakhastani lifters
with squat racks in the background, and
they're basic, free-standing racks. Not
power racks, but simple squat racks.
Pretty old school.
In between their sets, the lifters sit on
narrow wooden benches in back of the plat-
There are big windows in back of the wooden
benches, and you can see that the training
hall is up in the mountains. There are
plenty of shrubs and trees growing close
to the building. It's like training in the
middle of a green forest.
As far as diet and nutrition goes, the
lifters follow an ordinary diet -- but
eat huge amounts of food to fuel their
hard, heavy workouts!
The Kazakhastani diet is pretty simple.
Lots of meat, mainly lamb, horse meat
(yes, you read that right), and beef.
The Kazakhstani were a nomadic race,
and horse meat has always been part of
their diet. The athletes eat so much
of it that the government flew a huge
amount of horse meat sausages to London
so the athletes could eat their usual
fare. Kazakhastan's two time Olympic
gold medal winner, Illya Illyin, is on
record saying that horse meat is their
secret weapon and that horse meat and
chicken are the best foods for weight-
In addition to meat, the Kazakhastani
diet includes milk and yogurt. They
don't stop with cow's milk, either --
they use milk from sheep, goats, mares,
They eat basic whole grains, including
barley, wheat, melon, and rice, and
fruits and vegetables, which vary
depending on the season and the part
of the country you are in.
So that's the super secret Fortress of
Strength -- the super secret training
equipment -- and the super secret diet
that led to four Olympic gold medals in
You can see a photo of it here:
I'll close with a question.
If we're serious about doing something
to fight the epidemic of obesity, diabetes
and health problems facing the modern world,
and in particular, our children,
If the health benefits of weightlifting
are far better than those of any other
sport (and they are),
If weightlifting is one of the safest of
sports (and it is),
If if you can set up a world class training
center for weightlifting for no more than
the cost of some barbells, some squat stands,
some platforms and some chairs or benches for
the lifters to sit on,
Then why in the world aren't we starting
weightlifting clubs, intramural weightlifting
programs, and interscholastic weightlifting
competition in all of our schools from junior
high to the NCAA level?
Just a question. Had to ask it.
As always, thanks for reading, and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a
Yours in strength,
P.S. Go here to reserve your copy of my new
book, Dinosaur Dumbbell Training:
P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here
at Dinosaur Headquarters:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "If you're serious
about improving the strength and health of our
children, then you're serious about weightlifting
and weight training -- and you want to see them
in the schools." -- Brooks Kubik