T Nation

Weightlifting in Beijing?


My uncle is moving to Beijing to be a teacher this August, and I’d like to go visit him.

I know China is great at weightlifting, and I think it’d be really cool to go check out some training facility where you could possibly get some tips from good coaches, or even just to lift at a gym you see in Youtube videos of weightlifting highlights, where guys like Lü Xiaojun or Klokov are lifting in - you know, the bare rooms with plain squat racks on platforms where the only other equipement you see is bumper plates? Where I live here in the States, there aren’t any gyms like that.

Anyway, I have no idea how things work in China, and if weightlifting is popular outside of those training for the Olympics, or if any decent facilities are open to outsiders, but if anyone happens to know anything, I’d love to hear it. I googled this but didn’t come up with much.

(And if anyone knows about any good gyms like the one I described above here in the States, let me know where you can find them. I travel sometimes and love going to different gyms.)


The Olympic competitors train separately from the general population in China, so I’d be really surprised if you could get into one of their gyms. Their athletes even go to specific universities for sports; the idea of traditional universities having big name sports teams competing with other universities just doesn’t fit their culture (you should have seen the look on my students’ faces when I told them the highest paid government employee in my home state was the ISU football coach), but they do have competitions between dormitories for basketball or ping pong and sports like that. Nanjing has one such university, so Beijing might, too, but it is unlikely you’ll find a coach who speaks English; I lived in China for nine years and only met one physical trainer whose English was good enough to coach me (in kick boxing, and there was a yoga teacher I dated awhile, but that’s another story). I did have a Tai Chi teacher, but his day job was a literature professor. If your uncle is teaching at a university, your best bet is to use their gym because they are the most likely to sell day passes. The private gyms I used in China only sold by the month or yearly memberships.

Sorry I didn’t have better news, but you might get lucky.