Russian Workout Secrets
Because of the training methods used the former U.S.S.R during a time when the Russians won countless international strength titles, most strength coaches from all over the world now use these principals. When you train like the strength athletes trained from 1960 through to 1991 from the Eastern Bloc countries you'll build strength and muscle fast!
When the Iron Curtain collapsed many Soviet strength training scientists migrated west. These Russian methods were actually very simple yet they continue to be brutally effective. We are not going to simply list a workout program that you can follow but we are going to explain the key principals that can be applied to any movement. You should start with simple compound lifts.
Firstly you need to plan ahead by calculating exercise variability together with your intensity and the volume used. The first rule of thumb implemented by the Russians is to always select a weight that is between 70% to 85% of your 1RM. The second rule is to always use a different variety of movement and change your volume you use, but to never vary your intensity in concert with the volume you use. The third rule is to train even if you don't feel like it.
Between each rep on every exercise you should pause for a 3 count, before you lift another rep. This pause will help you to keep a very tight form, with no bouncing of the bar on your chest on a movement like bench press for example. Your body is not used to holding an isometric contraction for any prolonged period, so you'll see fast growth.
This method is called the Russian "ladder" method, an excellent way to recruit more muscle fibers without risking burnout; it should only be trained twice a week, which means you're resting 2 full days between your workouts. The workout should never last more than an hour.
Firstly estimate the weight you'll use for a set of 10RM (i.e. the heaviest weight that you can lift for 10 reps) for a movement like bench press, or the front squat, and a bent-over or seated rowing movement. The first set you only perform one rep, you then rest 3 to 5 minutes. The next set you perform 2 reps, short rest then do 3 reps. You need to repeat twice more (i.e. three ladders).
Please note that you'll be using exactly the same load for every set, so you'll be doing all 3 ladders for just one exercise before you move onto the next movement/exercise. When you're in the "down" position doing bench-press and the squat, you need to pause for 3 seconds, while holding your breath, then lift.
You then do exactly the same for rowing in that second "down" position when your back is fully contracting. You should add 5lbs to each exercise when you're able to rest a minute between sets. You then continue training only twice a week until you're no longer able to add more weight. When you get to that point you then reduce your pauses to just one second.
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