Alex, Niki & the Sport


Our head coach, ALEX VARBANOV has devoted over 35 years to the sport of Olympic Weightlifting and has built a strong reputation of a weightlifting professional. He has a Master’s degree from the National Sports Academy of Bulgaria and is a Honoured Master of Sports.

Alex Varbanov competed in the 75 kg bodyweight division:

  • World Champion – 1983, 1985, 1986
  • European Champion – 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987
  • Bronze Medalist from the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea – 1988

10 official World Records, two of them are still in the Guinness Book of Records:

  • 215.5kg Clean & Jerk
  • 382.5kg Total

Professional/coaching experience:

  • Head Weightlifting Coach (Junior Squad) – National Sport School – Bulgaria
  • Weightlifting Coach – Municipal Centre for Gifted Children
  • Assistant Coach – Bulgarian (Senior) National Weightlifting Team
  • Head Coach of the National Weightlifting Team, Chile
  • Head of the School Sports Department – Ministry of Youth and Sports, Shumen Region – Bulgaria
  • Olympic Weightlifting Coach – Varbanov School of Weightlifting at Academy Of Lions & CrossFit Colosseum

NIKI VARBANOV  is a son of his dad. At the age of 16, he's already three time Canadian Junior Champion in three different categories – 56, 62 and 69kg. He broke 8 Juvenile, 10 Youth, 9 Junior and 5 Senior Ontario Records.

Niki has been involved in this sport for more than 6 years, for the last 4 – at a high, competitive level. Niki is training 5-6 days a week, assisting his dad in coaching beginners and amateurs, as well as leading the practical sessions during the Varbanov School Seminars/Certifications.


Lifting weights is one of the oldest sport activities practiced from ancient times (Old Greece, Rome, and China). The late 1800’s are considered the beginning of modern weightlifting. Nowadays, it is one of the most competitive summer Olympic sports in the world.

The Olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) and their components are commonly used by elite athletes in other sports to train both – explosiveness and functional strength. A solid understanding of Olympic Weightlifting and training techniques can help any type of athletes to become faster, stronger and more agile.

The modern sport of weightlifting consists of two main competitive lifts: the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. The ultimate goal of every competitive weightlifter is simple – to lift as much weight as possible compared to his/her competitors in the same weight class.

Weightlifters compete in different bodyweight classes. Currently, eight male (56, 62, 69, 77, 85, 94, 105) and seven female divisions (48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75, 75+) exist.

The International Weightlifting Federation is the governing body of the sport of Weightlifting. It is founded in 1905, and its headquarters is based in Budapest, Hungary.


Snatch is the opening lift in any official weightlifting competition. It is a single movement lift performed by pulling the bar from the platform to overhead while fully extending both arms and either splitting or bending the legs.


Clean & Jerk is a two-movement exercise. In the first part (Clean), the bar is pulled from the platform to shoulders level where it “rests” before the second phase (Jerk) when the bar is raised overhead by pushing it straight upward with both arms and legs.