Get Olympics-ready with Hidilyn Diaz’s quarantine workout

Beatrice Go
Get Olympics-ready with Hidilyn Diaz’s quarantine workout
Check out how Hidilyn Diaz continues her Olympic preparations under quarantine in Malaysia

MANILA, Philippines – With one more Olympic qualifier to go, Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is determined to stay in shape, even while lockdowns are being enforced across the globe. 

Rappler talks to the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist’s strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo to show us how Diaz keeps her fitness level up in Malaysia despite the uncertainty of the qualifiers for the quadrennial meet. 

“With a sport that requires you to train in a gym that has a platform and weights, it gets rather difficult to stay motivated. But with our goals still on our minds, we continue to train and work towards our goals,” explained Naranjo as the Malaysia lockdown enters its fifth phase on April 29 to May 12.  

“We are fortunate that we found a facility that allowed us to rent a men’s 20 kg bar and plates. But with our Airbnb on the 9th floor, we have to be conscious of dropping the weights.” 

Videos courtesy of Julius Naranjo/ Team HD


Given the restrictions of the lockdown, Diaz gets her heart pumping by running 1.6km in the parking lot of her Airbnb. She also makes sure to stretch her legs after the run. 

In preparation for her training, Diaz does weightlifting-specific stretching and mobility exercises like couch stretches (2 sets of 60 seconds each leg) and foam rolling.


Back Squat (6 sets of 3)

“Since we don’t have a squat rack and we are using a men’s bar, we need to assist Hidilyn to get the bar on her back to do the squat,” said Naranjo. 

If squat racks are not available, Diaz had to use bamboo sticks and water jugs to do the back squat. 



Front-Foot Elevated Split Squats (4 sets of 10 for each leg)

“In most cases, athletes would use a dumbbell or have a bar on their back. But for this training session, we decided to make it more of a movement-based training,” said Naranjo.

“To make it more sports-specific, we focused on keeping her front shin vertical, keeping her torso upright – making it similar to a split-jerk – and initiating the movement by bringing their back knee to the floor.”

The conditioning coach said that it is possible to do it on an elevated surface or change things up from a regular air squat to a weighted squat.


Pendlay Row (4 sets of 10 reps)

Also known as the barbell bent-over row, this is good upper back training and also a way to stabilize your lower body.

“It’s important to keep your head in a neutral position and to keep our back straight,” reminds Naranjo.

“In that bent-over position, pull the bar towards your sternum and try to keep your elbows close to your body as you pull it towards your sternum.”

Other modifications include the use of resistance bands, kettlebells, or dumbbells if you don’t have a bar.


Weighted Plank Holds (4 sets of 30-60 seconds)

Unlike the usual planks, Diaz makes use of weights such as water jugs, kettlebells, or dumbbells. 

“It’s important to squeeze your core and your glutes. Try not to have your butt too high and have it lined up to your shoulders in the plank position,” said Naranjo on maintaining a proper plank form.


“After your training, don’t forget to stretch!” – 

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.