Friday, March 15, 2013

Ultimate Strength and Power, Part Eight


Russian Style Two-Way Split Training

     After spending some time on all of the workouts that have preceded this part—or if you’ve spend considerable time using a lot of workouts on this blog—you should be ready for the workouts that I’m about to recommend.  These programs aren’t for everyone out there, but they can be quite effective at pushing your strength to a new level if you’ve already acquired impressive strength gains from normal two-way splits or full-body workouts like the PVT program.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think you can perform PVT for as long as you wish.  Most people, however, like a little more variety in their training.  I think variety is fine, as long as you stick with a certain program for a lengthy period of time in order to ascertain whether it is working or not.
     The workouts here are ones that you must stick with and give a chance.  Why?  Because there is a good amount of volume involved, and it takes you a little while to adjust to the added workload.  How much volume am I talking about?  Although you will be splitting your workouts in two, you will be training your bench press four times per week (at every workout), and your squat and deadlift twice a week.  When you first attempt this volume, you will be slightly weaker—for a week or two.  After a couple of weeks, once your body has adapted to the program, then you’ll probably be surprised at the new level of strength you are able to reach.
     Remember, you must have spent a long amount of time training on full-body workouts and other two-way splits and have reached an advanced level of strength before attempting these programs.
     I call these programs Russian-style split workouts because they are very similar to the routines the used by Russian powerlifters (and powerlifters in other Slavic countries).  It is not uncommon for Russian strength coaches to have relative beginners bench pressing four times per week and squatting and deadlifting at least twice.  While I think that’s a little extreme for recreational lifters, I think this is a very good way for advanced lifters to train—especially competitive powerlifters or highly advanced bodybuilders.
     Here, I’m going to present a four week program.  After I lay out four weeks of training, you should have a pretty good understanding of how the program works.
     As for what days to lift on, follow the same guidelines that were set up for the two-way splits in Part Five.  I personally like to have the lifters I work with take the weekends off so their lower backs can recover a little better, but any of the splits will work once you adapt to it.

The Program

Week One

Day One

·      Squats—5 sets of 5 reps, 3 sets of 3 reps.  The 5 sets of 5 should be progressively heavier.  The last 5 should be tough, but make sure you get it.  Add weight so that you perform 3 sets of 3 reps with the same weight.
·      Bench Presses—5 sets of 5 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets.  The last one should be all-out.  Use a medium-wide to wide grip.
·      Squats—3 sets of 8 reps.  Pick a weight that makes you work hard but not one that makes you reach failure on any sets.  If desired, use bands or chains on this movement.  Work each rep explosively.
·      Incline Dumbbell Presses—3 sets of 10 reps.  Use a weight that’s tough, but don’t take any sets to failure.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.  Pick a fairly tough abdominal exercise, whether it’s steep incline sit-ups, weighted sit-ups, or hanging leg raises.

Day Two

·      Deadlifts—5 sets of 5 reps.  Perform 5 progressively heavier sets of 5.  After each rep, release the bar for a moment, stand up, and repeat for another rep.  This allows you to build greater starting strength, which is needed greatly at the advanced level.
·      Close-grip Bench Presses—8 sets of 8, 5, 5, 5, 8, 10, 10, and 12 repetitions.  Start off with a light set of 8 reps.  The next 3 sets of 5 should be progressively heavier.  Drop down in weight on each subsequent set after that.  Use weights that take you two to three reps shy of failure.
·      Deadlifts Off Blocks—5 sets of 5 reps.  Use the same weight on all 5 sets.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.  Same as Day One.

Day Three

·      Squats—5 sets of 5 reps.  Use the same weights you used for the 5 sets of 5 on Day One, omitting the sets of 3 repetitions.  This will still work your squat muscles—improving synaptic facilitation—but will cut down on your workload.
·      Negative Overload Bench Presses—5 sets of 3 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3 reps.  The last set should be about 80% of what was used for your final set of 5 reps on Day One.  Take approximately 10 seconds to lower each repetition.
·      Seated Good Mornings—3 sets of 8 reps.  Use an arch or rounded back, depending on the health of your lower back.  These are straight sets all performed with the same weight.  Stop each set shy of failure.
·      Lying Triceps Extensions—3 sets of 10 reps.  Use either a straight bar or an e-z curl bar on these.  Take each set a couple reps shy of failure.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Four

·      Sumo Deadlifts—5 sets of 5 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets until you reach a weight that’s approximately 80% of the weight used for regular deadlifts on Day Two.
·      Dips—5 sets of 5 reps.  All of these sets should be performed using the same weight.
·      Rack Deadlifts—5 sets of 2 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets.  The last set shouldn’t work you too hard.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Week Two

Day One

·      Bottom-position Squats—8 sets of 3 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets.  Whatever you use for your 5th set, stick with that weight on the 6th through 8th set.
·      Bench Presses (w/ additional bands or chains)—8 sets of 3 reps.  Use the same technique you used for the bottom-position squats.
·      Bottom-position Squats—4 sets of 5 reps.  All of these sets should be performed with the same weight.  Make sure you rest for a count of a couple of seconds at the bottom of each repetition.
·      Dumbbell Floor Presses—3 sets of 10 reps.  Lie on the floor and perform these as you would standard dumbbell benches.  This will help the top half of your bench press immensely.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Two

·      Deadlifts—8 sets of 3 reps.  Use the same set/rep format as the squats and benches on Day One.
·      Incline Close-grip Bench Presses—8 sets of 3 reps.  Use an incline bench with about a 45 degree angle.  Same set/rep format as the deadlifts.
·      Snatch-grip Deadlits—4 sets of 4 reps.  Perform these with the same grip you would use if you were doing a snatch.  In other words, a wide-grip with your pinky finger on the power rings.  Some like to use an even wider grip.
·      Bench Dips—3 sets of 20 reps.  Work these hard, but still take every set several reps shy of failure.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Three

·      Olympic-style Pause Squats—8 sets of 3 reps.  Same set/rep format as the other core exercises for this week.  For form, make sure you utilize a high-bar placement and a close-stance.  Squat down as deep as possible, pausing for two or three seconds before “exploding” back to lockout.
·      Wide-grip Bench Presses—4 sets of 4 reps.  Use a grip that’s outside of the power rings.  This will work your chest very hard.  Perform all 4 sets of 4 reps with the same weight.  Approximately 75-80% of your maximum would work well.  Explode on each rep.
·      Rounded-back Good Mornings—3 sets of 8 reps.  Use a fairly light weight on these.  Concentrate on getting some blood flow to your lower back area.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Four

·      Deadlifts (pausing at the knees)—8 sets of 3 reps.  Same set/rep format as deadlifts on Day Two.  Pause for a count of one or two seconds each time you reach knee level.
·      Close-grip Bench Presses (w/bands or chains)—8 sets of 3 reps.  Here, perform straight sets, using the same weight throughout all 8 sets.  Pause on your chest, and explode as fast as possible.
·      Rack Deadlifts—8 sets of 3 reps.  Same set/rep format as the bench presses above, using the same weight on all sets.  Explode from the pins to lockout, but use a very slow negative on the way down.  Release the bar briefly between each rep.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Week Three

Day One

·      Squats—5 sets of 8 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 8 repetitions.  The last set should be all-out.
·      Bench Presses—4 sets of 10 reps.  Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets.  The last set should be all-out.
·      Squats—8 sets of 2 reps.  These should be done for speed, working on your overspeed eccentrics.  Use only about 50% of your one-rep maximum.  If you would like, add bands or chains.  Here, make sure that you descend as fast as possible.  Break the pause for no more than a heartbeat, and explode back to lockout.
·      Bench Presses—9 sets of 3 reps.  Use overspeed eccentrics on these, as well, adding bands or chains as needed.  Use no more than 60% of your max.  In addition, use three different grip widths—close, medium-close, and medium.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Two

·      Deadlifts—4 sets of 6 reps.  Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets.  The last set should be tough, but not all-out like the squats and benches on Day One.
·      Close-grip Bench Presses—3 sets of 10 reps.  These should be straight sets, performed with the same weight.  No set should be too taxing.
·      Speed Deadlifts (off blocks)—6 sets of singles.  Use only about 50% of your maximum.  Make sure you pull as fast as possible off the floor.  Bands can be added if wanted.
·      Close-grip Chins—4 sets of 10 reps.  These should all be performed with the same weight.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Three

·      Box Squats—8 sets of 2 reps.  These should be done for speed.  If you used bands on Day One, then lay off of them today, and vice-versa.  Make sure you sit back on the box, relax your hip muscles, then explode back to lockout.
·      Reverse-grip Bench Presses—4 sets of 8 reps.  Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets.  This exercise will give your chest a break, while working your front delts and triceps hard.
·      Front Squats—3 sets of 8 reps.  Use the same weight on all 3 sets.  No set should be too taxing.
·      Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions—2 sets of 25 reps.  Take each set a few reps shy of failure.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Four

·      Sumo Deadlifts—4 sets of 6 reps.  Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets.  Take each set a couple reps shy of failure.
·      Dumbbell Bench Presses—4 sets of 8 reps.  Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets.
·      Stiff-legged Deadlifts—3 sets of 6 reps.  These are straight sets.  Use a weight where you come a couple reps shy of failure, even on the last set.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Week Four

Day One

·      Squats—5 to 8 singles.  Work up over 5 to 8 progressively heavier singles until you hit a maximum weight (or something very close to it).  The amount of sets depends on how heavy you are going and how many warm-ups you generally like to take.  Some lifters get by with less, while so like a good bit more.
·      Bench Presses—5 to 8 singles.  Use the same technique as the Squats.
·      Supramaximal Negative Squats—2 to 3 singles.  Your first single should be with a weight that’s 100-110% more than your maximum.  Add weight on the next 1 or 2 sets.  Use the table provided in Chapter Six for the time under tension for each single.
·      Supramaximal Negative Bench Presses—2 to 3 singles.  Same format as the negative squats.
·      Abs—3 sets of 6-8 reps.  For this day, use weights on whatever exercise you choose, so it will be a heavy movement.

Day Two

·      Deadlifts—5 to 8 singles.  Work up to a near maximum weight.  Obviously, the amount of weight you use will be hindered by all of the heavy squatting from Day One.  That’s okay.  Remember, you’re trying to build strength, not test it.
·      Close-grip Board Presses—5 sets of 3 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3s until you hit a near maximum weight.  If you would like, add bands or chains.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Day Three

·      Bottom-position Squats—5 to 8 singles.  Work up to a weight that’s around 80-90% of the weight used on Day One’s squats.
·      Bottom-position Bench Presses—5 to 8 singles.  Use the same method as the bottom-position squats.
·      Good Morning Squats—5 sets of 3 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3 repetitions.  The last set should be hard but not all-out.
·      Lying Triceps Extensions—5 sets of 5 reps.  Perform 5 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps.  The last set should be all-out.
·      Abs—3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Day Four

·      Deadlifts Off Blocks—5 to 8 singles.  Work up to a tough weight, one that’s around 80% of what you used on regular deadlifts on Day Two.
·      Close-grip Incline Bench Presses—5 sets of 2 reps.  Work up over 5 progressively heavier doubles.
·      Bench Dips (w/ additional weight)—3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
·      Abs—3 sets of 30-50 reps.

Closing Thoughts

     There you have it: an example four-week program that has a lot to offer the advanced lifter.  Once you are finished with all four weeks, then you have a few options as what to do next.  First, notice the way the program is set up.  In the first week, you have a relatively medium intensity, medium-volume program in which you mainly use 5 sets of 5 reps on your core exercises.  In the second week, you have a little more intensity using sets of 3 reps instead of sets of 5.  The third week sees a rise in volume through higher repetitions and a drop in the number of sets, which really helps to set you up for the fourth week, which easily has the most intensity, but also the lowest volume.  So, the next four weeks, you could simply stick with basically the same program, trying to increase the amount of weight you use on the exercises, or decrease the rest time in between sets.  Or, you could use the same program, but switch up the exercises you use.  Your options are open, just make sure you make some sort of variation in order to keep gains coming.
     Remember, you are probably going to need longer than four weeks to ascertain whether the program is working.  After eight weeks on this type of training, however, your body will have had long enough to adapt to it, and you will know if your body can handle the volume.

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