This interview is much different than anything we have done in the past. Rather than have it simply be a Q & A, this interview tells a story - Alex's story. Not only is this shedding light on his life, but it is an uplifting and humbling experience for not only me, but for all of us.
I was born April 22, 1976, in the little town called Likino - Dulevo, Located in the Moscow region. Where I still live now. This town is a workers place 80 km from Moscow City. My mother is 53-years old and she has a level of disability #3, which she received from the Government because of her hard job at a China factory. My father is 52-years old and all his life worked as a professional driver.
I went to a small school and was not a good student. My grades were poor and the principal of the school was calling my parents to his office all the time. Each summer I was sent to a Pioneer Camp (boy scouts camp) and I loved it there. I was spending all summer vacations there.
When at home, I was helping my mother to grow fruits and vegetables in her small garden. My father was not much of a family man and did not help us much. He liked to drink a lot. We did not have enough money and wore our clothing until it was breaking in pieces or too small to wear.
I am not complaining about my childhood. I liked it actually. I was growing as a happy child but also as a street kid. I participated in a lot of street fights and that is why my head was broken eight times of different things.
I was stubborn but liked sports very much and played for the school hockey team and on a summer team I played as a goalie for the soccer team. My picture was hanging on the Wall of Fame. Then I was dreaming of becoming a professional truck driver. Then it was an exciting job that could give me the possibility to travel to other foreign countries and see other nations. But my dream never came through!
Right on the next day after my 14th birthday tragedy happened. After that I became a disabled person (lost both hands). Left arm was cut off up to elbow and right arm cut off completely up to the shoulder. I was electrocuted by a Power Tower of 5000 Volts. I touched the wire with my bare hand when I was climbing the tower.
I was young and stupid and played with my friends in dangerous places. One of the favorite places for us was this Power Tower where we always climbed as monkeys and hang ourselves from the wires. The difference was that this Tower never was active. And that horrible day the factory decided to use it as back up power and turned the electricity on.
I was the unlucky kid who climbed the Tower that day. Everyone else was observing me as fire sparks were coming out from the top of my head. I woke up at the hospital. Later on because of burns of high degree and two operations, doctors decided to cut my arms off. As you see it was such a gift for my birthday.
In my workouts I use special things that have been created by me. There are leather belts and iron hooks which I use to hang the plates on. There's a leather ring for machines which is used to connect to the cables. If you have my pictures you can see all of it plus I have video in my BodySpace at Bodybuilding.com.
I did not have any coaches to teach me, that is why I had to come up with something useful for my body condition. So I did not really know what was going to happen and how my body would react to this physical pressure. From that time on I was trying to include as many muscle groups as possible. Always experimenting and looking for something new.
I use as many variety exercises as possible. So far it does work and my body did respond in the right way I wished. I came up with my own methods of training. I worked out 3-days per week. Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m., right after my job. Saturday is the most difficult day for me because I do my legs from 12 till 2 pm.
Ideally for myself I consider this schedule when I train 3 days on and 1 off. But it is impossible because of my job.
I do my abs everyday; one or two sets for maximum reps. Numbers of exercises for each body part are 3 and I do not do less than 12 reps each set. It takes me about an hour with warm-ups.
During my off days I run for 20 minutes or swim for about 40 minutes. I'm really trying to watch what I eat. I keep my proteins and carbs counted. Rice, beats, sometimes pasta, muesli, meat, fish, birds, and so on. I also use diet-gainers, proteins, amino acids, and so on.
Back in Russia, there was not a nice attitude towards people like me. Persons without ability to do anything by themselves are put into the situation where they really check their spirit. And that's a huge task anybody could take. The real task is to try continuing to live a normal life, full speed ahead.
Lucky for me it did work in my case. It is very important when attention of other people who are around you does not change toward you because of what happened. It is important to be recognized as a whole person and not so much as a disabled one. So I decided to finish my school the best I could.
In 1995 I passed exams to a State University to be a social worker and finished it in the year 2000. Five years I lived at the University campus, because it was too far to get home. That experience gave me strength to believe in myself and that I can do anything in this life, but all that was not complete satisfaction. I needed my body to change and bodybuilding was the sport to do it.
I started working out since I was 16 years of age. Two years after my accident. I chose bodybuilding because of physical problems that appeared right after my surgeries. My legs were completely numb and it was impossible to work.
Click Image To Enlarge.
I chose bodybuilding because of the physical
problems that appeared after my surgeries.
For the first time in my life I had to start training to work again. Instead of a lean muscle boy, I turned in to a fat guy with a huge psychological complex about my body and the way I looked. Playing soccer, swimming, skating, and even riding a bike I learned once again.
Here are some of the reasons why I start all of my training and what motivates me today:
- I love sports very much.
- I gained bad weight - fat, and my health began to shake.
- After awhile my health got better and my friends began to notice a big difference in me.
- I like to look good and be an example to my friends. I should say be a stimulator for them. I have met many people and right after they met me all their problems looked a lot smaller to them and my life gives them an example to never give up no matter what.
- I would like to reach some recognition in bodybuilding and this drives me back to the gym over and over again. To motivate people makes me feel good.
- I want to compete.
- By my example to draw to a sport as many people like me as possible and help them in any way I can.
Letter From Alex
Dear Friends And Visitors Of Bodybuilding.com:
I would like to tell you about my progress in life. I need to tell you right away that my last visit at the gym was in August. And I tell you why with very good reason - From August until September I was placed into the Moscow Center of Science and Sport Medicine.
I was healing my back (scoliosis) and fixing a few ribs. Because of this, I had discomfort and pain in my chest all the time. I really fixed myself and this so called vacation helped me to understand myself much better. It looks like I got rid of some health problems.
Scoliosis is a condition that involves complex lateral and rotational curvature and deformity of the spine. It is typically classified as congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult according to when onset occurred) or as having developed as a secondary symptom of another condition, such as cerebral palsy or spinal muscular atrophy.
Doctors who took care off me at the center recommended taking time off from heavy training. As they say it would minimize pressure to the problem body parts. But it all happened for the best! Today I am actively training as a swimmer. Can you believe that?
If anybody ever told me that I will become a swimmer I would laugh hard. When I was at that center I was introduced to people from Paralympics Movement, who saw my physique and especially my legs and insisted I try my strength in Paralympic sports. They all said that I had a great physique from pumping iron and now it could be easy for me to put my body to the test.
become a swimmer I would laugh hard."
All my life I dreamed of becoming a great athlete, I could not ever say no to that possibility. So, to make a long story short I am training right now, seriously, and some results are not bad. November 17, I participated in my first official championship in Moscow and took 4th place.
I swam 50 meter free-style. I am proud of my result because I achieved that only after a month of training. There's another championship coming up in February, where I'll try to get qualified to participate at the National Championship of Russia. If this happens, then I will be able to go to Paralympics Games. Can you believe that?
- Weight Training For Sprint Swimmers! - By Jason Lezak
- Flexibility For Swimming! - By Patrick Hagerman
- Triathlon Swimming Techniques. - By Peak Performance
- Other Swimming Articles...
So as you see, I wanted to tell you about that because bodybuilding was the thing that built the way for me into a new life. And who knows maybe I can achieve really good results in swimming.
But again this all can happen only because of my dedication to an iron sport. I am full of hope right now and looking forward to new tasks.
Alexsey Obidennov Videos
Interview With Russian Bodybuilder Alexsey Obidennov!
(Interview Is In Russian.)
More Video Here.