Mirko Zanni is a famous Italian weightlifter. Last week he competed at the Europeans in Yerevan (Armenia) in the 73 kg weight class and took a BRONZE in total (155+180) and also GOLD in Snatch. We had a chance to talk with him the next day after his impressive performance.
Video by @weightliftingshop_com
Congrats with your performance! Are you satisfied with this result?
M.Z. Yes, I am satisfied, but not only with the results. I had a lot of fun being on the platform, I was relaxed and no stress. I am also happy that it is my all new competition PRs, cause in training I did 151 kg in Snatch, in Clean 185 and in C&J 180.
The first time you competed at an international competition was at the age of 15. At what age did you start weightlifting and how did you get into it?
M.Z. I started weightlifting 12 years ago (at the age of 13) in 2011, my dad brought me to the gym, but this was my complementary activity for my main training - volleyball. I played volleyball for 4 years and I loved it so much. But after my first local Olympic weightlifting competition a lot of people told me that I am good and that I am talented. This is how I decided to try weightlifting more seriously. After 1 year of training I competed for the first time internationally at Youth Europeans (by the way in this competition he finished last overall) and after this in two years I was lucky to be at the Youth Olympic Games and won BRONZE.
Do you play volleyball now?
M.Z. No, no, because of the risk of injury I can't afford this. I played beach volleyball 5-6 years ago and got a small injury, so now I don't do this.
Since you were a kid you competed in the light weight classes and now you are a middle class athlete. Do you feel now comfortable with more muscles?
M.Z. I started my weightlifting journey at 56 kg weight classes, in 2 years I moved to 62, then to 69 and now I am 73 kg. Now I feel myself good with this mass, but during the gaining process I felt myself slow in movement. So it took me some time to adapt to my new and bigger muscles.
Tell us about your coaches, who are they for you: teachers, friends, tyrants?
M.Z. I have 2 coaches and 1 Master coach - Boss. I started to train in Pordenone and for the first 6 years I trained with Luigi Grando and dino Marcuz Anche and after this I moved to Rome to the sports college where the National team is based and I started to work with Sebastiano Corbu.
At this competition I was coached by both Luigi & Sebastiano. That is why Sebastiano is more formal and strict and Luigi is a friend.
Who is responsible for your training program, only the coach or you plan it together?
M.Z. Only coaches, I do what they tell me as I am a soldier, I trust them and I am sure that trust is very important in this question.
On social media, we saw a lot of strange barbell exercises that you do for balance and so on. Is it for fun or to fix some issues?
M.Z. Yes, I became famous because of tall snatch balance and snatch on the balance platform.
M.Z. I believe these two exercises are very beneficial at the start of a lifting career, but I still practice them from time to time.
There is no sense to tell how important mental preparation is. What are your strong and weak parts in the Olympic weightlifting mental game?
M.Z. Now, I feel a lot more comfortable with myself, because in the past year the negative things about my mental strength were constant anxiety.
M.Z. My attitude was that my performance on the platform is like “I have to do something for the other people, not for myself, I was a bit afraid that if I lose it will hurt people who support me and they will feel bad” and all this kind of stuff. But my strong side is when I compete I am always focused on my dream.
M.Z. I am 100% present on the platform with my brain and heart! In this competition everything was cool: no anxiety, I was relaxed and aggressive at the same time and I was here at this moment.
Do you have any interesting or funny f..ckups that happened with you in the competition?
M.Z. Not really, can't remember anything specific, maybe when I was younger I could tell my coach before the first attempt: “I will not lift this weight, cause I don't feel my arms and legs”. By the way, in this competition I was last on the platform doing a 3-rd attempt in snatch and right after I was first for the C&J. So I almost didn't have any rest and after a very short 10 min warm up with only 6 sets (barbell, 70, 100, 120, 140, 155 kg) I went on the platform for 175 kg.
What are you, a dream kilos in snatch and clean and jerk? And what are your best squats?
M.Z. In the current weight class I think it can be in Snatch - 160 kg and in C&J - 190 kg. My best Front SQUAT is 225 kg and Back SQUAT - 240 kg for double.
Give us please 3 main pieces of advice in Olympic weightlifting from Mirko Zanni.
- When you lift - feel the moment and be present!
- Enjoy what you do, because the training process consists of too many things that you must repeat consistently day after day, so don't let it become a boring routine - do it with passion!
- Find a good coach! Because if you want to reach great results - it is the only way! A good coach is a person who will be simultaneously good in training your brain, mentality and technique!
Sergii is a professional weightlifter and National team member in the past. Competed in 94 kg w/c, won multiple medals on national competitions.
Nowadays Sergii is responsible for designing training programs, writing blog articles, doing live commentary of international weightlifting competitions, running different sport & fitness educational seminars, including Olympic weightlifting together with Oleksiy Torokhtiy all around the globe.