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Iron Athlete Norik Vardanian competing at the Pan American Games weightlifting competition

Preparing for Pan Ams: Q&A with Norik Vardanian

In three weeks Norik Vardanian will be competing at the Pan American Games alongside Iron Athlete Team Member Alex Lee. Many thanks to Norik for taking the time out of his busy training schedule to answer a few brief questions.

August tells me that right now you’re focusing on the Pan American Games. Can you talk a little about what that training looks like and what numbers you hope to hit on the platform? 

Right now I am training nine times a week with only Sundays off. I am about 3 weeks out now. As I get closer to Pan Ams, I will decrease the repetitions as I increase the intensity. I am hoping to post a better total than I did at the Arnold.

What was the transition like, beginning to work with Zygmunt Smalcerz? How would you say your training has changed ever since?

It has been great working with Zygmunt. The longer we train together the better our communication becomes. The main thing that has changed for my training is the amount of pulls that I do. Now, I pull every workout, as opposed to the three times a week I used to do. My back has never been so strong.
Last time we spoke, you told me that you did not compete for your first two years of weightlifting. Would you advise that for everyone? How do you know when an athlete is ready to enter his/her first meet?

No, I wouldn’t advise that for everyone. Every athlete is different. At the same time I don’t think it is necessary to have someone compete who has only trained for one month. An athlete is ready when his or her movement is somewhat consistent. Technique is the most important thing to focus on in the beginning, not how much you are going to PR in your first meet after lifting for 2 weeks.

Who would you say are some of your most important influences in weightlifting?

Definitely my parents. They are the ones who have supported me the most. If it wasn’t for them I would not have made it this far.

You’ve had such a wide range of experiences in training. I wonder if you think there are approaches to weightlifting (technique, culture, coaching, environment, etc) that Americans could learn from other countries.

I have been fortunate to learn from a lot of different places. I think what that range of experience has taught me above all is that there is more than one way to reach the top.

Thank you so much for your time!

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