He was a big Russian bear of a man, the greatest super heavyweight power lifter of all time who used equal measures of brawn and brain to set 80 world records and 81 Soviet records, and to win two Olympic gold medals. His name was Vasily Ivanovich Alekseyev.
Born in 1942 in the village of Pokroveo Shishkino, Russia. Alekseyev was the son of a lumberjack. At age 12, he began lifting logs for exercise and at 14 began wrestling the other lumberjacks for sport and winning.
At 19, already 6 feet tall and 198 pounds, he was introduced to weights and began lifting competitively. Nine years later, he burst into the limelight by setting four world records. He trained without a coach, devising his own strategy through trial and error. It made him a legend in lifting.
He was the first weightlifter to exceed 1,322 pounds for a three-lift total in the clean and jerk, snatch and clean and press. He was also the first to lift 500 pounds in the clean and jerk lift.
His Olympic debut at the Munich Games in 1972, Alekseyev won gold. He did so again at the Montreal Games in 1976.
“When I am ready to lift,” Alekeseyev once said ”I visualize the moment when my arms will lift straight into the air with the weight moving toward the sky.” Lifting on the job involves mind and body working together, too. Before you lift, think through the proper way to do it.
*Stretch gently beforehand to warm up.
*Lift or carry only what you can realistically handle.
*Lift with your legs not your back and never twist.
*Carry the load close to your body to reduce strain.
*Check with your safety supervisor for more tips.
Alekseyev reached many goals in his career bur one eluded him. 100 world records. He probably would have reached this goal too if the press, one of his best lifts, had not been eliminated from competition in 1972.
While your back may never need to endure a 500 pound power lift, it does work hard for you every day. Why not make it your goal to create a record of lifting safely? Being smart about back safety will keep your back healthy and pain free. Like Alekseyev, staying fit and lifting smart will ensure that you can stay active for years to come. Whether your event is golf, gardening or grandchildren, the way to win the gold is safety.
WHAT’S YOUR BACK DONE FOR YOU LATELY?
Keep It Healthy & Pain Free
*Copyright 2007 Harkins Safety (B212)