You would have seen our Caveman Athlete of the Month in the largest kettlebell training group on Facebook, you simply can’t miss him! He does some crazy stuff, seriously crazy stuff, the kind of stuff that will have most people going “Seriously? Why?”.
Michael is an explorer, an explorer of his capabilities, he likes to test the limits and see how much further he can take his abilities. To some, this might seem crazy, to others, it’s something to strive for, and no matter what side you’re on, try and see the beauty of what humans are capable of.
Let’s get a few things out of the way that you might be dying to get off your chest. Yes, there is a lot of stuff which is very dangerous, but so is doing high reps of handstand push-ups in a CrossFit session, and so is crossing a Spanish roundabout! The later I consider even more dangerous as it’s unpredictable and there’s no progression you can plan. Progression is what Michael follows, he trains regularly, he programs appropriately, and he takes calculated risks.
No matter what, there will always be some who think the risk ain’t worth the reward. Some believe that climbing a mountain ain’t worth the risk, some believe that exercising ain’t worth the risk, and we could go on till the point of, some believe getting out of their chair ain’t worth the risk.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Mark Twain
Without further ado, let’s look at some background and random thoughts of an amazing man who deserves way more credit than he’s currently getting…
Name: Michael Lisichkin
Weight: 71-74 kg
Born: Russia, Khabarovsk City
At the age of 16 moved to Israel
“I love my wife and daughter, and love to lift everything that can be lifted. I believe that it’s good to try to be kind to yourself and the people around you.”
Favorite tool: Kettlebell
Passion: Kettlebell power juggling and performing in extreme strength shows
Biggest respect: Old-time (19-20 century) athletes and strongmen
Diet: Vegetarian for 6 years
Favorite GS exercise: Snatch
Believe: Everything is in our mind
Strong believe: There is no such a thing as a dangerous exercise—the human body is capable to do so much if it’s trained to do so—you just have to know how to progress and do it wisely.
Dream: Doing parkour and performing in the circus
I started training bodybuilding at the age of 27, then moved to powerlifting and only then started to train with kettlebells from YouTube videos and after a year began to train online with well known GS coaches from Russia and Ukraine.
The main goal for me as an athlete right now is to find a balance and achieve my goals in the different kinds of activities that I like to do, like, kettlebell power juggling, kettlebell sport, Old School KB Strongman, Strongman, extreme show training and performing.
My work is a combination chief nurse in the geriatric department, owner/coach of Power Bells Kettlebell Club, online coaching, chief coach of Israeli GS team, and one of the founders of Israeli Federation of Kettlebell Lifting.
- 2011: 1st Place in European Championship in Kettlebell Lifting IUKL 2×24 kg long cycle up to 78 kg weight category
- 2015: 1st place in European Championship in Kettlebell Lifting IUKL 2×24 kg biathlon up to 78 kg weight category
- 5 times Israeli Champion in Kettlebell Lifting
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What was life like growing up in Russia?
I was born in the USSR 43 years ago when there was very little TV and no gadgets. We did have a lot of physical activities, nature, difficulties, and a lot of real communication with people. I remember a good childhood with very little bad times. I had a great childhood. At the age of 16, I moved to Israel on my own after I passed the exams to study in Israel in a student program. When I finished school after 3 years my mom and sister also repatriated to Israel. I moved to study in Israel because I’m Jewish and wanted to see how it is to live there.
Also, my mom was afraid that I had to go to the Soviet Army because back then it was the beginning of a war with Chechnya and the following year I was supposed to go to the army.
So, in the end, I did my military duty in Israel as border police for 3 years—at least I knew what I was fighting for.
At what age did you start to get into exercise?
At the age of 13, I started bodybuilding at home using Schwarzenegger system from a newspaper on my wall. I had a kettlebell and I did exercises with it instead of a dumbbell.
I engaged in a bit of taekwondo and wrestling but that all remained at the amateur level.
Then I injured my back with bad technique and big weights and didn’t do any sports until 28 years old. I then started bodybuilding again and a few years later moved to powerlifting. Kettlebells came into fashion and I was able to buy them in Israel to start training with kettlebells while watching YouTube videos and using other internet information. I trained for kettlebell fitness and juggling for a year and then started to train GS.
What inspires you to do cool creative things with kettlebells?
I watch videos online and also like to experiment by myself. For me, sports, first of all, is fun, a game, a kind of meditation. Therefore, very often it comes out spontaneously, especially since the kettlebell is the most universal training tool—it calls you to play. The number of options for performing various exercises is a lot. And if you talk about juggling, it’s almost limitless. Oksana Nikifor is the coolest lady in the world of kettlebell juggling. I myself began to juggle after I saw her videos. She has promoted kettlebells and juggling to the masses for many years, motivates people all over the world, has brought up many champions and she herself is the queen of kettlebell juggling.
What prompted you to do the helicopter with a chain and bells hanging off?
This exercise (I am doing only a small part of it so far) I saw in the video of the 80s Soviet circus with the virtuoso performance of power juggler Osipov Anatoly—he, by the way, is still working in the circus. This exercise works on the whole body, a lot of physical forces are involved, therefore it is very energy consuming, hard, extremely interesting and challenging.
Have you ever been injured by your stunts?
I broke two mirrors with kettlebells. As for injuries, just the usual injuries of people exercising a bit beyond normal. This year there were 2 injuries quite noticeable, but they did not stop me from training. At the finals of Israel Got Talent, 2 weeks before filming I forgot to remove my hands and a piece of a 30-kilo stone fell on my finger. The first 7 days I could not move 3 fingers, but after 2 weeks I was back performing on stage. The finger recovered fully only after 5-6 months. On another occasion during a training session before the show, I hammered a nail into the board with my hand and a nail pierced the board and went into my palm. Recovery in both cases I did myself without doctors.
As a vegetarian athlete, do you find it hard to maintain muscle mass and energy levels?
No. Today, my diet consists of 30% milk products and 70% of plant foods. In fact, I do not watch what I eat—I eat what’s at hand. I can eat once a day. Diet is very individual. Very rarely, I eat more than 60-70 grams of protein per day and I weigh 70-74 kg.
Tell us more about your performance on Israel’s Got Talent
The show was a good lesson for me, working in public with my performance it’s not enough to be great, you have to be super excellent. And to achieve that requires work and dedication. I received a ” Yes” from all judges. Uri Geller even asked for my autograph on the frying pan, look 🙂
Everyone was shocked, although I didn’t show anything special, anyone can do what I did.
Movement is life.
Betrayal is the biggest sin.
Be honest to yourself.
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