Born: 24 May 1988 in Kyzylorda, Kazakh, USSR
Height: 1.75m / 5 ft 9 in
Weight: 105kg / 231lb
Ilya Aleksandrovich Ilyin is a Kazakh weightlifting virtuoso of Russian ethnicity who has won two Olympic championships and four world championships.
He has competed in the 85kg, 94kg and 105kg classes and currently holds the world and olympic record in both the clean and jerk (233kg) and overall total (418kg) in the 94kg class.
On November 15 2014, he clean and jerked 242kg setting a new world record in the 105kg class. He is Kazakhstan’s first two-time Olympic gold medalist (Beijing 2008, London 2012).
Misunderstandings with the national team’s authorities after Beijing 2008 lead Ilya to train on his own. He managed to get separation from the national team thanks to the direct support of the president of Kazakhstan. His own team is currently stronger than the national team.
Ilyin has two elder brothers, one of them used to compete in olympic weightlifting and was a junior national champion twice but later quit his career. He was the one who introduced Ilya to the sport when he was only six. After that, he was presented with a lot of options like martial arts and other sports but he chose weightlifting.
He got into formal training when he was 8 and first competed when he was 9. Lifted 30kg & 42kg. By the time he was 11 he already competed with seniors as a 52kg at the national qualifications for the olympic team.
His first international meet was Asian Games in Bali, Indonesia. He was 13 but competed in the U16 division. He made all his attempts and got 117kg and 165.5kg to set an Asian record. At his second Asian Games he lifted 147kg and 187kg, winning every title available at that competition.
Clean & Jerked 165.5kg (365lbs) at his first international meet at the age of 13. Apparently, this is still real life.
Ilya’s wife, Natalya, is a professional handball player who competes for a French professional team in Nice. Ilya met her at a training camp dormitory on his first year in the national team when he was 16.
She dreams about going to Rio 2016 as part of the handball national team.
Ilya Ilyin Best Lifts
- He is a hero for many people in his country.
- He has never been defeated at international competitions.
- First and only two time Olympic champion from Kazakhstan.
- He likes to read about philosophy, psychology, politics, management and finance.
- He likes to max out on Fridays.
- Trains 15 times a week during competition prep phase.
- His training system is a Kazakh / Bulgarian blend.
- Uses wave loading in his training for the classic lifts and squats.
- He dreams of doing a 250 Clean & Jerk at 105 kg bw but he thinks it may be impossible.
- His typical programs last 9-10 months and go from swimming, rowing and cross training with little barbell work to a gradual inclusion of the lifts to ultimately eliminating everything but the snatch, clean & jerk and squats.
- He took a 9 month rest of serious training after London.
- Inception – As many athletes and performers, just as he does on a physical level, he also prepares himself mentally to be ready for the victory. He visualizes the competitions months in advance in every detail, even the crowds and programs it into his mind. So when he goes on the platform to perform, it’s like he has already done it.
- He used to drink, smoke and party before Beijing but he has stopped since.
- Since London, he’s been gradually turning himself into a vegetarian and stated that he will win Rio as such. He says that he has a hard time digesting meat and concluded that his body doesn’t need it. Claiming it offers a low protein absorption rate and then transforms into toxins. He says he studied the optimal diet for each blood types and found his type (2) is vegetarian. He says he is experimenting and if it doesn’t work out he will go back to eating meat. He doesn’t like protein supplements because they aren’t “clean”.
- Like fellow weightlifter Dmitry Klokov, Ilya also takes a day per week / month to clean up drinking water and fasting. Also like Klokov, Ilya often skips breakfast and even trains feeling hungry. He thinks sleep is the highest priority.
- He likes music to be playing when he trains.