Edited on: October 31, 2017
If you are a weightlifter, such as myself, finding a good gym in Saigon can be challenging. Until the summer, 2014, I actually struggled to find a gym that will allow me to do the classical Olympic weightlifting exercises; Clean & Jerk and Snatch. Most gyms just do not like the idea of a lifter “dropping” the weights after each lift. Hence, you are going to have very limited access in Saigon, let alone Vietnam, in finding a good gym for the Olympic Lifts.
Below are some of the gyms in Saigon that will allow you to some Olympic Weightlifting at their gyms
1. CrossFit Thao Dien
Run by a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Physio, weightlifters will be able to do the Olympic Lifts at this location in Thao Dien. CrossFit Thao Dien is an affiliated CrossFit box. Joanna is an experienced CrossFit trainer from Poland. She used to be the CrossFit trainer at the Saigon Sports Club.
For more information or class schedules, visit the CrossFit Thao Dien website.
2. UFC Gym
UFC Gym has a lifting platform as you can see from the left picture. You can even see the famous Arnaud TheGame Lepont, manager and trainer at UFC Gym, using the platform executing some Power Cleans. UFC uses hard rubber plates so they will not be ideal for heavier weights but for those just looking to do some technique work, then UFC Gym will be fine.
I promised Arnaud to visit occasionally and help him with his Snatches. He already gave me a tour of the facilities. I love the ice bath. By its name, the UFC Gym caters to MMA but offers other HIIT style classes as well.
The UFC Gym is located in Thao Dien at the Thao Dien Pearl. It will take you about 15-20 minutes to get there by taxi or motorbike from District 1.
Definitely make arrangements with Arnaud if you want to use the lifting platform.
3. Phu Tho Stadium
Strangely, I actually have no worked out at this location where the Vietnamese national weightlifting team works out under Coach Hoa. I plan to visit this gym next week. I have been told that there are classes offered in the evenings as well.
This weightlifting facility is located at Phu Tho Stadium near Dem Sen Park in District 12. It is about a 20-30 minute ride by taxi. It is a bit out of the way for most people unless you live in the Tan Phu District area.
Below I added the video from Facebook of the facility. As you can see, there are several lifting platforms and bumper plates that you would expect from a national weightlifting gym.
I hope to work out there a couple times a week starting in September. If I move closer to Tan Phu District, I may just workout there more often. I will keep you informed.
If you speak Vietnamese, you can contact Coach Hao at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000275685717
4. Star Fitness
Star Fitness used to be considered the place to workout for the serious lifters. Several bodybuilders and some powerlifters may still work out there. The equipment is quite good and the bars acceptable. Unfortunately there are no lifting platforms at Star Fitness. You will be asked to put some mats down, in layers, if you do any Olympic Lifts here. as with UFC Gym, you will only be able to do light weight here since you are “not allowed to drop the weights”.
With the squat rack, you can still do some Presses and Jerk exercises. When CrossFit becomes popular in Vietnam in the next 3-5 years, do not be surprised to see Star Fitness expanding and adding lifting platforms to their gyms.
See http://www.starfitnesssaigon.com/ for more information. The gym is located in the Binh Thanh District about 10 minutes from District 1 by taxi.
FYI, my friend Robin, the owner of the popular Indian restaurant, Baba’s Kitchen, works out at Star Fitness
Honorable Mention: Old School Gym
Saigon Sports Club
Starting in early 2018, weightlifters will not be allowed to use the new CrossFit equipment. The actual date has not been announced by another member and I have already been informed. We will be moving to either CrossFit Thao Dien or Old School Gym.
Probably the first choice for any weightlifter to do the Olympic Lifts in Saigon. The Saigon Sports Club is located in District 7 about 15-20 minutes from District 1 by taxi or motorbike. The gym has a large outside facility for CrossFit. In fact they are the only current affiliate in Saigon at this time (See Saigon CrossFit Q7 website for more information). You can easily do all of your Olympic Lift exercises here. SSC uses the hard kg plates common with many CrossFit boxes these days. The staff is quite friendly. SSC is also a MMA gym and if you get the full month’s membership, about $100 USD, you can take some classes.
Drawbacks are that you will have to workout out in the tropical air but there are fans. You will need to stay hydrated and I recommended getting some good “no sweat” gripping lotion. Also, the bars will not be as maintained as you would expect from a weightlifting gym. They are still doable.
One thing to note, you will have to workout around the CrossFit classes. This is the first CrossFit gym to ask me to leave the CrossFit area when a class started. Hence, I tend to workout around 9 am everyday.
See http://saigonsc.vn/ for more information or just contact me and we can meet up at SSC. I am currently working out at SSC for the next several months.