The upcoming European Championship 2021 motivated us to have a little conversation with Anton Pliesnoi. His achievements so far are impressive. The man can boast of having bronze medals from the World and EU Championships. Plus, Anton Pliesnoi has obtained gold medals from the World Cup and the U23 European Championships.
O.T. To begin this conversation, I would like to specify that you’re Ukrainian, aren’t you? At least, your admirers are aware that you have started your brilliant sports career over there. As I know, you used to be a part of the local junior team before moving to Georgia. How come you made the decision to leave your native land?
A.P. One day, I understood that Ukraine could not provide me with all the resources necessary to get ready for the Olympic Games. We have plenty of talented athletes, but another approach is required. My coach was just fine, but I still decided to move to another country where athletes can unleash their potential in full.
I relocated to Georgia three years ago. It provided me with an opportunity to go to the international starts being well-prepared. I and my coach were receiving offers from various countries. Georgia just appeals to me, so that is how the decision was made.
O.T. So, do you only have Georgi Asanidze as your primary coach?
A.P. He is my main coach, but not the only one. To improve my performance, he teams up with my initial trainer from Ukraine, Sergei Nikolaevich Romanov. We still cooperate.
O.T. Can you please describe the warm-up process of Anton Pliesnoi? Many of your followers are interested in that.
A.P. It does not take me more than ten minutes. I focus on the areas that will work on a specific day. Each time after the procedure, I take a massage gun. I apply it to every area for a bit more than 5 minutes. I would also recommend relieving the neck muscles and lower back. Most people today work sitting days long in the office, and they might have issues with these particular zones.
Lucky for me, I have not suffered from any traumas in the recent year. That is not only because of the correct approach to warming up; that is also thanks to the proper massage that I obtained from my therapist. He explained to me how to prevent different types of injuries, what to massage on my own, and what to do in case of damages.
O.T. After you moved to Georgia, what would you define as the major differences in the new approach to training?
A.P. The program did not change that much. It would be more proper to say that some parts of it were fixed and improved thanks to the new experts that surround me. There is a general program, but my new coach personalizes it for every participant based on their goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
O.T. Where was the foundational school located and who was your trainer by that time?
A.P. That school was situated in Ukraine, and I did not have a single coach then. My first experience was with Zhenya Bazhenov. Later on, I tried practicing with Eduard Nafanets.
They both shared great experiences with me and contributed to my becoming. Finally, I’ve got Sergei Romanov who became more than a personal coach for me. He’s still my close buddy. The combination of skills and coaching techniques made me who I am today, and I am thankful to every professional on my way.
O.T. Not so long ago, we interviewed some successful Uzbek athletes to learn more about coaching strategies. They shared that they focus on the exercise known as the snatch with no jump. How would it help? Why do you personally promote this method in your profile?
A.P. I tend to try something new on a regular basis. I have modified my approach to training a little this year. When a jump is included in a snatch, athletes miss the final point of the explosion stage. That is rather important.
The idea is to engage all muscles of our limbs. I recommend moving on the toes at the end of the 2nd pull phase. The jump will then take place by itself, no need to involve extra efforts in it. It occurs because of upward extension.
O.T. What is your average working weight for this drill?
A.P. It is roughly 80 % in case you do not target large weights. If you do, the share of 1RM in this exercise could achieve all 100%. I prefer aiming at big weights of course.
O.T. One more question about this exercise: do you step up the weights in ten kg steps?
A.P. I prefer adding twenty kg 90-110-139 within eighty percent. In case of a positive outcome, I lift one hundred and fifty kg; if it goes in the wrong way, I make it 140 kg. My new friends from Georgian are wise enough not to make us feel exhausted. They care about our health, so they never squeeze everything out of us. You should not feel like dying by the end of the warm-out and/or workout.
Vice versa, it’s about making an athlete cheerful and energized. Asanidze, however, is rather strict when it comes to assessing our performance. He does not have any good excuses for shaking or falling off the course and complaining. He expects his trainees to work technically and max out in order to be allowed to take larger weights.
Anton uses WBCM products during his training sessions:
O.T. What if one of the athletes hits a wall accidentally? Are there any effective ways to overcome this issue and move on?
A.P. My goal is to break new records. I believe that is part of any athlete’s life. For instance, the last time I was proud of myself was when I did a high hang snatch good enough, according to my coach’s words. I do my best to achieve new heights. You should feel a new weight and lift it in overhead. It really helps to overcome psychological barriers.
O.T. Have you heard your followers talking about your magical clean? How is it different from the typical snatch?
A.P. Clean is a short move. In contrast, the snatch is about making a longer movement. The main goal of a clean is to get up as fast as possible, and it’s necessary to select the right angle. In the case of the snatch, one should lift the barbell as high as possible.
O.T. What catches your eye and your mind while doing the clean?
A.P. My focus in this exercise is a bit above the knee. I have to keep an eye on the height of the explosion phase. Every human has different sizes of limbs, so this height depends. To define the right point, choose the most comfortable and beneficial position for jump up and relax your limbs. This advantageous position for jumping up will be your measurement. It’s not necessary to drag your hands to your groin.
O.T. Can you tell us a bit more about tech aspects that were modified after you moved to Georgia?
A.P. I cannot name any technical nuances that have changed a lot. In Ukraine, the coaches provide you with a proper technical base, and I only fixed some tiny mistakes in the Georgian team.
O.T. Can you recall a good lagged exercise (if any)?
A.P. To be sincere, I have some issues with the jerk. That is why I keep on looking for ways to get rid of this problem. Once, I used to take ten kg more in a clean than a jerk. What I tried to do is to find a comfortable pose and elbows height. No matter how good my position and selected height were, I still could not see any significant improvements.
An excessive backward movement of a pelvis was one of the main obstacles on a way to solving my problems with a jerk. It is okay when you deal with light weights, but it does not work for big ones as the dip simply turns to tilt. The barbell starts moving backward while you have no fulcrum below it. The great solution is empowering abdominal muscles. That is what I did.
I had to enhance my motor skill. In my case, I have started to visit therapists to get the necessary rehabilitation for my breathing reflex. Thanks to the tips of my expert, I realized that I should breathe in my stomach. Despite being good in the clean, I still keep an eye on what my primary competitors do not fall behind.
I try to keep all core muscles tense to succeed with a jerk too. My rivals, such as Tin Tao and Fares Ibrahim Hassouna, are really good at both, so I carefully follow their hints. After all, winning in the snatch is not enough for me. I would like to get clean and jerk and total medals as well.
O.T. What would Anton Pliesnoi say about weightlifting belts?
A.P. That is a rather individual thing. I have forgotten about this stuff about four years ago as I do not feel convenient with using one. It is a mistake to believe that this tool can hold and keep your back. The main function is to develop intra-abdominal pressure, which is good for particular cases and aims.
O.T. And finally, the question that bothers masses: what are your current max lifts?
Snatch – 182 kg
Clean & Jerk – 220 kg
Bench press – 160 kg
Overhead press – 127 kg
Clean pull – 300 kg
Snatch pull – 240 kg
Back squat – 285 kg
Front squat – 245 kg
Ihor Shymechko is a renowned Ukrainian weightlifter. He has represented his country in several Olympic Games, notably in 2008, 2012, and 2016. His impressive career includes winning the European championship in 2009 and earning a silver medal in 2011 in the +105 kg division. Shymechko also earned a Ph.D. from Lviv State University of Physical Culture.