Pavel: 80/20 Powerlifting and How to Add 110+ Pounds to Your Lifts

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Mullet power: John Inzer deadlifts 780 lbs. at 165 lbs. bodyweight. (Photo: Powerlifting USA)

Pavel Tsatsouline, former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, has made a name for himself in the world of strength.

He wrote the below article, outlining the simple routine of Russian Master of Sports, Alexander Faleev, for Built magazine, which folded before publication. Pavel contacted me to publish the piece here, and I am pleased to offer it to you as an exclusive.

Though I often suggest training to failure for maximal size gains (see “Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. in 4 Weeks”), the pre-failure approach detailed here is excellent for maximal strength development, and the repetitions can be further reduced for relative strength (per-lb. bodyweight) development.

Enter Pavel…

Total read time: 12 minutes.
Read time for routine only: 7 minutes.

Pavel:

I have read a book that has made an impression: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

The 4-Hour Workweek is not a dubious get-rich-quick scheme but a guide to ultimate productivity through ruthless elimination of non-essentials. “Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness,” states the author. “This is hard to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity. Few people choose to (or are able to) measure the results of their actions and thus measure their contribution in time.”

It is no surprise that Russia has borne a number of Ferriss-type strength and muscle building programs, mercilessly eliminating the non-essentials and delivering extraordinary gains. One is Alexander Faleev’s system that has gained many followers among Russian muscle heads in the last four years.

Comrade Faleev dabbled with powerlifting for seven or eight years, then took a few years off. He poured over years of his training logs looking for what worked and came back to the barbell with a vengeance. In just six months, he reached the coveted Master of Sports level in powerlifting.

Faleev has summed up his approach as “Nothing extra!” In one sentence, it is about doing only four things: the squat, the bench, the deadlift, and competing regularly. That’s it.

The system the Russian had developed for his strength and size breakthrough could have come out of The 4-Hour Workweek. Among Tim Ferriss’ tools for getting the most out of life is Pareto’s law. The essence of the law is that 80% of all results come from 20% of the efforts. Applied to muscle and strength, it means, if most gains will come from the three powerlifts, why waste your time and energy on curls and close-grip benches?

Before I will move on to the nuts and bolts of the training regimen I will address your objections. I can read your mind: “But I am not a powerlifter, and I don’t want to look like one!”

The sport of powerlifting (PL) has an unfair image of refrigerator-sized men whose faces turn red from blood pressure when they bend over to tie their shoes — or rather try to bend over and get stopped by an enormous “uni-ab”. To say that all PLers look like that is akin to stating that all runners are thin and wiry.

Look at photos of powerlifters in lighter weight classes. They are as hard as a rock, and many are ripped — without curls and cable crossovers. Take Texan John Inzer who held the world record in the deadlift for years, 780 pounds at 165 pounds of bodyweight or Ukrainian Oleksandr Kutcher, who recently beat that record with 793 pounds. These guys look more like gymnasts than refrigerators.


Tim: Oleksandr Kutcher pulls a light 694 lbs. and then needs chamomile tea.

Faleev’s 80/20 Routine

5 x 5 Progression:

For beginners, Faleev offers a straightforward progressive overload workout with 5 sets of 8 reps. Eventually you are supposed to advance to 5 x 5. In my opinion, you should go straight to 5 x 5. Sets of five are the meat and potatoes of strength training.

Start with a conservative weight. If you manage five reps in all five sets, next time add 10 pounds and start over. Not 5 pounds, and definitely not 2, but 10. For reasons that are outside of the scope of this article, Malibu Ken and Barbie jumps with tiny plates are a waste of time.

Most likely you will not bag all the fives on your first workout with the new weight. Perhaps you will get 5, 5, 5, 4, 3. No problem, stay with the poundage until you get all 5×5. Your second workout might be 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, and your third of fourth should get you to 5 x 5. Slap on another pair of “nickels” (5-lb. plates) and work your way up to 5 x 5 again. According to Faleev, the above progression will add 110-175 pounds to your max in each of the three powerlifts in one year, provided you are fairly new to the game.

Deadlift 1x per week; Squat and Bench 2x per week

You will be deadlifting once a week and squatting and benching twice a week, once heavy and once light for the latter two. Your light days are for honing technique, not for burning out your muscles with high reps. Do 5 sets of 4 reps (5 x 4) with weights that are 80% of the heavy day’s. For instance, if you did 5 x 5 with 200 on your heavy day, stay with 160 for 5 x 4 on your light day. That’s it! The key to the program’s success is in doing less.

The Russian recommends the following schedule:

Monday –heavy squat (SQ)
Tuesday –heavy benchpress (BP)
Wednesday –heavy deadlift (DL)
Thursday – light SQ
Friday –light BP
Saturday –off
Sunday –off

If training five days is not an option, four will do:

Monday –heavy SQ
Tuesday –heavy BP
Wednesday –heavy DL
Thursday –off
Friday – light SQ, light BP
Saturday –off
Sunday –off

Not ideal, but if you have to cram your training into three days:

Monday – heavy SQ
Tuesday –off
Wednesday –heavy BP, light SQ
Thursday – off
Friday – heavy DL, light BP
Saturday – off
Sunday – off

Failure and Rest Intervals

Never train to failure! Don’t attempt a rep unless you are 100% sure you will make it. Ideally, keep one extra rep in the bank. “Save your strength for the next set,” insists Faleev.

Don’t get greedy.

Practice one lift per workout, stretch, and get out. Faleev stresses that you must wrap up each strength workout with static stretches. “The benefits of stretching are enormous. Stretching can increase your strength by 10%. It is a lot.” The man explains that “when you lift a weight your muscles contract. And after the workout the muscles remain contracted for some time. The following restoration of the muscles’ length is what recovery is. Until the muscle has restored its length, it has not recovered. Hence he who does not stretch his muscles slows down the recuperation process and retards his gains.” Besides, tension and relaxation are the two sides of the same coin, “if the muscle forgets how to lengthen, it will contract more poorly. And that is stagnation of strength.”

Don’t rush your sets.

Do a couple warm-up sets if you must, then feel free to take 5 min. and even more between your work sets. Top power dogs take longer; 30 min. is not unheard of. Power loves rest and does not tolerate rushing. You may feel that you are completely recovered in 2 min. but take a full 5 anyway. According to Faleev, an hour is a good number to shoot for in your workout length.

Balanced Development: Biceps and Other Decorations

One common objection is: “But I will not get a balanced development if do only three exercises! What about my biceps and my…?!”

Faleev sticks to his guns: “For a sharp increase in muscle mass and [strength] results you must do only three exercises: the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift… when you deadlift a 550-pound barbell think what kind of a huge load is born by your biceps, shoulders, traps, and even neck… When you squat with a 550-pound barbell, think about the high pressure the athlete’s abdomen must withstand. An athlete lifting such weights cannot have weak abs by definition –the midsection is strengthened in the process of training the squat. If you bench 330, the muscles of your arms, chest, and the front delts will be so developed, than any bodybuilder will be envious. One must add an interesting detail–in the bench press it is very important to learn to use the lats when starting the bar off the chest. Perhaps someone will think of this as a paradox but the bench press develops the back as well, especially the lats.” Faleev states than the above numbers, a 550-pound squat and deadlift and a 330-pound bench, are “more than achievable” if you focus on these exercises and practice them for years.

And if you have not felt your abs when squatting, it only means you have not squatted heavy enough. “Bodybuilding is a strength sport. Don’t forget it,” admonishes Faleev.

The only legit reason for additional exercises is correction of a dysfunction or imbalance that puts your health at risk. An example would be a pronounced discrepancy in the hamstrings’ flexibility, your knees caving in when you land after a jump, or the failure to activate your butt muscles or “gluteal amnesia”. But diagnosis and correction of such problems is not something you can do on your own or even under the guidance or a personal trainer; you need a specially trained health professional. I suggest that you find one through Gray Cook’s website. Cook is the country’s premier sports physical therapist; in the last Super Bowl both teams were his clients. Get a tune-up from a professional on his team so you can safely focus on the basics and not do stupid things like extra leg curls “to balance out my quads”.

But back to our basics.

Faleev stresses that additional exercises are worse than worthless –- they are harmful because they drain valuable energy that your body could have directed towards spectacular gains in the big three. “…get rid of the excesses and just do what is necessary… When you give up the secondary exercises, you will feel that you are not training enough. You will be leaving the gym totally fresh. This is it, the energy for an increase in the load in the basic lifts. This reserve is what will enable you to ‘shoot out of the gate’!”

The above point cannot be emphasized enough; curls, calf raises, and other miscellaneous non-sense may not feel hard but they drain your adaptive energy!

The Fourth Element: Competition and Parkinson’s Law

Focus on the lifts that matter is half of Faleev’s power and muscle equation. Regularly competing in sanctioned power meets is the other half. Faleev observes that with a powerlifting meet date looming on the calendar, many an athlete have accomplished more in six months than others have in many years.

In The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss echoes him when he makes use of the Parkinson’s law to get results faster.

According to this law, a task will take as much time as you will allot for it. In other words, you will shine under the pressure of an ambitious deadline. Applied to iron, it means compete, and often! You will be forced to focus on what matters — your squat, your bench, your deadlift –– rather than fool around with what former Coach Powerlifting Team USA Mark Reifkind calls “random acts of variety”. Subscribe to Powerlifting USA magazine on Amazon. Find a meet near you three months away, and go for it! Look for “raw” meets that require that you compete without special squat suits, bench shirts, etc. AAU is one of the federations that hosts raw meets.

As the meet approaches, cut back from 5 x 5 to 4 x 4, 3 x 3, and finally, a couple of weeks before the competition, 2 x 2. Up the poundages accordingly. After the meet, take a week off, then start over with 5 x 5.

Faleev stresses that maxing in the gym is dangerous. Maxing out tests your strength but does not build it. A max workout in the gym amounts to missing a productive 5 x 5 day that you will never get back.


Tim: 5 x 5 isn’t just for beginners: Johnnie Jackson, one of the few champions in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, demonstrates the deadlift. I suggest not slamming the plates. Touch the plates to the floor as if a baby were sleeping in the room.

Faleev offers a formula that will help you estimate your max from your 5 x 5: multiply that weight by 1.2. This is not exact science, but it is much better than those ridiculous charts that claim to calculate your 1 rep max (1RM) from your 10RM.

Just decide what you want: The process of enjoying the pump, the burn, and the variety of exercises? Or muscles and power?

Faleev’s secret of success is so simple, it is easy to ignore: practice nothing but the powerlifts and compete regularly. Period. The Russian muscle man walks into the gym, trains one lift, spends a few minutes stretching, and hits the showers. Done!

Since he dropped all the assistance exercises his progress has been nothing but spectacular. Ironically, his gym buddies who sweat for hours wasting time on meaningless exercises consider him a slacker. He does not care, the wily Russkie has the last laugh with his strength and his mass.

# # #

About the author:

Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, currently a subject matter expert to the US Secret Service, the US Marine Corps, and the US Navy SEALs. Pavel’s bestselling book Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets has been published in the US and Russia.

In real-time: Follow Tim and his experimentation with Pavel’s methods here.

Posted on: December 18, 2008.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my new book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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898 comments on “Pavel: 80/20 Powerlifting and How to Add 110+ Pounds to Your Lifts

  1. From Maxim:
    “First, how would you recommend to adopt this routine in the case of 1 or 2 training sessions per week? And would it cause a large decrease in efficiency or not? Second. What’s the point of “light” exercises? From everything I heard before you should usually give the muscle the maximum possible load, but after that give maximum possible conditions to rest and recover, including time and the absence of the stress between the training sessions. So are they really required and so effective? If yes, then why? And how “light” should these light exercises should be, how do I calculate the weights? And do I do them if my muscles are still sick from the last training? And the final, third question. Is it ok and is it a good idea to add chin-ups before DL (my priority is wide back), add press-ups on bars after BP (for better load of chest and triceps) and add biceps curls after SQ (to give some stress to arms as well). I know that supposedly basic exercises will give enough load to your arms as well, but still I’m afraid it’s not enough and once a week or even once 1.5 week it wouldn’t be a bad idea to train my biceps as well.

    Maxim, one workout a week will not work. Two will squeak by: SQ heavy, BP heavy on on one day, SQ light, BP light, DL heavy on another day.

    Light training days are important for many reasons. All successful strength plans have unloading days built into them one way or another. An explanation would be too long; please refer to my book “Power to the People!” or the “Periodization Demystified” chapter in my book “Beyond Bodybuilding” (www.beyondbpdybuilding.com). Don’t add or subtract any exercises; Faleev’s is a system, not just a collection of exercises, sets, and reps.

    Like

  2. Pareto suggests lifting really heavy things for a couple of hours Sunday morning with some friends, to me; squats, deads, presses, chins… maybe benches and power curls if there are pretty girls around. More fun and less time than several to many shorter workouts per week.

    Like

  3. 5×5 works fellas.

    When I began lifting I was almost 19 and followed very typical body builder routines. Chest/Shoulders/Tris, Back/Bis, Legs. Chest/Bis, Back/Tris, Legs, Shoulders….all those. I did get bigger AND stronger (as all beginners do), but I hit a wall pretty quickly. Too much volume, too many sets till failure, too much intensity (weight load). I just didn’t have the neural capacity to keep this type of training up. I would experience fantastic pumps, but no *real* size gains.

    My body exploded when I adopted 5×5 methods, however. I rarely got a super huge pump, but most leading experts would argue that a pump is useless anyways! What I DID accomplish with this training was more pounds on the scale and a leaner, stronger body. A routine is only as good as the time it takes your body to adapt to it. Using progressive overload with 5×5 methods makes it difficult to adapt, especially if you’re changing your rep schema like the article suggests! You’re also allowing for maximum muscle fibre recruitment through maximal lifting, as well as upward fluctuations in Test! (although, i think this effect is overrated. test levels peak during the heavy lift, and then drop lower soon after)

    Training until failure is only useful under the following conditions: you’re training very infrequently (HIT), you’re purposely overtraining (for perhaps a week or 2), or you are anabolically enhanced. I would also add that training until failure on small muscle, isolated muscle groups can be alright. In order to handle regular training-till-failure routines, you need to develop the neuromuscular capability to do so.

    Good read, but that’s to be expect when it’s Pavel! No discussion of weightlifting is complete without citing him!

    Like

  4. More great work by Pavel.
    I’ve been training many of Canada’s top athletes, and ordinary folks, using Pavel’s Kettlebell (RKC) and “PTP” methods. The results have been, and continue to be, fantastic…the best I’ve ever seen.

    Cole Summers
    Team Canada Strength Coach

    Like

  5. Tim, I had heard a lot about you but only just found your site and its great. Tonight I read both the Pavel post along with the one from last year about your experience with HIT training which produced such outstanding results.

    While the approaches have some similarities, they are clearly much different appproaches – HIT has fewer sets to failure with a larger number of exercises, Pavel insists on 5 sets for a small number of exercises. Interestingly, neither one suggests the clean, which many fitness writers think is the best overall exercise.

    Let us know your thoughts on the appropriate use of each technique and your experience with each.

    Thanks,

    Tim

    Like

  6. I like how the article takes into consideration the holistic adaptation of the body. Shorter training sessions leave energy in the tank that can be used to adapt so that there is a progressive overload in the next workout.

    I trained with Power to the People protocol, dead lifts and benches for 2 sets of 5, in 2002 and 2003 and can attest that I made easy gains and felt fantastic after the workouts – more energized instead of drained.

    It is good that this type of training is gaining wider exposure.

    Like

  7. Great article.
    Thanks Tim and Pavel. Pavel really impressed that you taking time to respond to everyone.

    To the people that are worried about not getting their cardio in (for fat burning I’m assuming), or spending a loooong time at the gym, and are not concerned with becoming powerlifters.
    I spend less than 30 minutes in the gym each day 4/5 days a week. I do no cardio- but the workouts that I’m doing have me a sweaty mess in less than 10 minutes and keep me at less than 10% body fat.

    The solution that my workout partner and I currently use is density training(Vince Gironda was big proponent of this type of training). Density is how much you weight you lift within a tightly regulated period. Knowing how much weight x how many reps within your limited time, means you can easily track how much work you are able to do in each workout.

    Set a limited time and do as many sets as you can of a set amount of reps keeping close track of how long you rest.
    For example: 5 minutes of incline press – take rests of between 10-20 seconds and do no more than 5 reps. The weight needs to be heavy enough that you won’t be able to do 5 reps in your last set. Don’t go to heavy though- or you won’t be able to maximise your reps in the set time.

    If you want to go heavier- take a longer time- say 9 minutes with sets of 2 or 3 and rest 40 seconds.
    Go at it with intensity- at the end of my brief workout I’m cooked. One body part per 5 days a week. At my current level of intensity I couldn’t do another body part on the same day at the same level of intensity.

    All of this gives a brief, very hard workout which maximises output of growth hormone, testosterone, and really speeds up your metabolism.

    On this program I have gained sized and rehabbed a shoulder injury (not lifting related) because I was able to use weights that would have been too light for conventional lifting routines, but became heavy enough over the set period that I couldn’t complete full sets towards the end.

    Before I start I’ll do a brief warmup of joint mobility calf and ab work, and I’ll stretch afterward then I’m done. Short and very sweet.

    Like

  8. Closing out the first week of trying this, I’m sure I am not the only person feeling that slight pang of guilt when leaving the gym.
    I’d gotten used to doing alternating lifts in pairs with 60 seconds rest between, so waiting 5-10+ minutes between sets is quite a foreign concept. At least I’ll go through a lot of books and magazines this way. Thanks TIm and Pavel for sharing!

    Like

  9. A couple things need to be explained for this program to make sense to folks not familiar with these concepts.

    The reason this program advocates focusing on only exercise per session is because the body is limited in the amount of adaptation that can be achieved from the stimulus of the training session or series of sessions. If, for example, you train to develop strength, speed, endurance, and coordination with lots of different exercises in one session, the body’s adaptation response will be limited. But if you train to develop only one motor ability through one motor pattern, the body will recognize the specific training stimulus and adapt accordingly. Hence gains are more pronounced in focused programs.

    5 x 5 is not the end-all-be-all of repetition series in my opinion, but it works because it tend to be close to the point at which total mechanical work and total load are optimized. Put another way, 5 x 5 will (often) allow you to lift the heaviest weight the most amount of times. This will increase strength, and is a very effective way to elicit hormonal and metabolic effects that build muscle and burn fat.

    To Pavel: I loved Naked Warrior and I perform and recommend your exercises all the time! You’re an inspiration!

    Like

  10. Thanks to Tim and Pavel for this article and its interpretation! I’ve been looking for something that will compliment my somewhat sedentary (and time crunched) lifestyle – this seems like it should work out well since I could stand to gain a few pounds of muscle as well as lose a few pounds of fat. Since I’m new to these types of lifts, what is the most efficient way to discover my starting weights for the lifts?

    Thanks!

    Like

  11. So please correct me if I’m wrong but…

    If a workout based on a progressive overload system of 5 x 5 is great for strength would I be correct in thinking that a progressive overload workout plan based on 5 x 10 would be better for building size?

    Like

  12. Size is a result of sufficient fatigue and consequent adaptation or super compensation.

    Set schemes like 3×3 and 5×5 work great for strength but not for mass. So, no 5×10 is not good for size. It will shift your focus away from the important things, which are:

    Focus on the muscle. Slow down the lift so that you lift with the muscle and not with momentum. Lift a little bit lighter than when lifting for strength.

    Do approximately 6-9 sets of 8-12 reps per muscle group weekly.

    Focus on progressive overload – doing a little bit more each time you train.

    Like

  13. I agree to what Pavel has to say. I can see how somebody with a clean diet can follow this workout and obtain a nice body with great strength to bodyweight ratio. What is not covered is any type of conditioning or cardiovascular training that should be done to prevent heart diseases. These workouts prescribed last an hour with at least 50 minutes of it being rest. Thats a total of 50 minutes of exercise a week and not what I would consider an active lifestyle. There must be some type of conditioning for the heart to compliment this workout. Such as, sprinting or interval training with agility drills.

    Like

  14. Pavel,
    Should we increase the weight each set (building to a “target” weight for the final set) or maintain the same weight for all 5 sets?

    Thanks,
    Eric

    Like

  15. You know how you can tell this was a really good blog post?

    When other fitness “gurus” start swiping.

    Check out Alywn Cosgroves latest article (Hacking Your Strength Training) over at T-nation and tell me he didn’t write that article after reading this one.

    Like

  16. Pavel,

    If doing multiple sets, should stretching be done between sets or only at the end of the weight training routine? Ive heard that stretching before heavy training weakens the muscle.

    Like

  17. Hi Yavor,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply….

    Sorry, it may have been the way I phrased my initial question but I’m still a little confused from your answer…

    As you say focus on 6-9 sets of 8-12 reps per body part per week with an emphasis on progressive overload for size.

    So doing 5 sets of 10 for each body part once a week and focusing on Progresive Overload ie. every workout doing more (even if only by one more rep) until 5 sets of 10 are completed and then increase the weight for next time.

    This would not be good for getting big?

    Like

  18. What I like to do is just focus on key lifts, like outlined in this post. Pick the exercises, something like deadlifts, squats, and bench. Then when I am in the gym I log them on http://overtrainer.com/ . Next time I am in the gym I check what I did last time and go from there, its simple, effective and quick.

    Like

  19. hi Pavel,
    What if you have a chronically bad back which makes squats and deadlifts not possible? What 2 exercises would you substitute? Leg presses and pullups?
    thanks.

    Like

  20. Stephen:

    “Hi Yavor,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply….

    Sorry, it may have been the way I phrased my initial question but I’m still a little confused from your answer…

    As you say focus on 6-9 sets of 8-12 reps per body part per week with an emphasis on progressive overload for size.

    So doing 5 sets of 10 for each body part once a week and focusing on Progresive Overload ie. every workout doing more (even if only by one more rep) until 5 sets of 10 are completed and then increase the weight for next time.

    This would not be good for getting big?”

    Not really, muscular hypertrophy is not significantly stimulated in sets past the first or second. This is why HIT (High Intensity Training) and HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training) both use use only 1-2 sets exercise. There is GVT (German Volume Training), which uses primarily 10×10. Things like this do work for size gains, but are not size specific, but rather Strength-Endurance specific.

    Like

  21. Thanks for all of the great information. Very inspiring. I am training for my first Sprint Triathlon and was going to use the 5×5 regimen for my strength training. Is that appropriate or should I consider a kettlebell program instead (which one)? Thanks in advance.

    Brian

    Like

  22. @Stephen

    the thing is, to work for hypertrophy, it’s not good to focus on a number, but on fatiguing the muscle.

    So it’s not about completing those 5 sets of 10. It’s about blasting the muscle. When the weight feels too easy, it’s time to add more weight – that’s when progressive overload comes.

    So, 5×10 works. But it’s the wrong thing to focus your mind on.

    Like

  23. Dear Pavel,

    I train in muay thai (thai boxing), and olympic wrestling. I want to increase my strength and explosiveness in wrestling.

    Should I do this type of workout, or is there a better one for a wrestler?
    Would this affect me negatively for muay thai competition?

    Much thanks,
    Vladimir D

    Like

  24. Tim and Pavel both seem to derive much of their physical presence and strength from their mind, yes, their mind. Pavel may have the edge just from his incredibly flowing mullet however. Good story.

    Like

  25. Vlad D,

    This program is very specific to powerlifting, where conditioning has almost no impact on performance. At better program might be one found in Power To The People (plenty of room at add conditioning) or Enter the Kettlebell.

    Like

  26. Yavor wrote

    “Set schemes like 3×3 and 5×5 work great for strength but not for mass. ”

    I can guarantee you that most naturals will gain more muscle mass from such protocols as opposed to typical “bodybuilding” rep schemes.

    Most people f* up and ovetrain when attempting the traditional methods of mass gaining. Trust me.

    A sound protocol like 5 x 5 = less chance of screwing up, better long term progress.

    That’s my experience as a personal trainer with numerous, very happy clients.

    Like

  27. From Vlad D:

    “I train in muay thai (thai boxing), and olympic wrestling. I want to increase my strength and explosiveness in wrestling. Should I do this type of workout, or is there a better one for a wrestler? Would this affect me negatively for muay thai competition?”

    Vladimir, the Faleev schedule is too demanding to be done with a second and especially a third sport. You need a lower volume regimen such as “Power to the People!” (the standard version, not the “bear”).

    Like

  28. From Brian:
    “I am training for my first Sprint Triathlon and was going to use the 5×5 regimen for my strength training. Is that appropriate or should I consider a kettlebell program instead (which one)?”

    Brian, kettlebells would be much better

    Like

  29. From Brian:
    “I am training for my first Sprint Triathlon and was going to use the 5×5 regimen for my strength training. Is that appropriate or should I consider a kettlebell program instead (which one)?”

    Brian, kettlebells would be much better.

    Like

  30. From Larry:

    “What if you have a chronically bad back which makes squats and deadlifts not possible? What 2 exercises would you substitute? Leg presses and pullups?”

    Larry, I suggest that you see a doctor and then get the book “Ultimate Fitness and Performance” by Prof. Stuart McGill, #1 spine biomechanist in the world, from his site http://www.backfitpro.com. Meanwhile leg preses and pullups will have to do. Power and healt to you!

    Like

  31. From: Davro Papps:

    “If doing multiple sets, should stretching be done between sets or only at the end of the weight training routine? Ive heard that stretching before heavy training weakens the muscle.”

    Davro, only if you do special “loaded stretches”. Otherwise stretch afterwards.

    Like

  32. From Eric:

    “Should we increase the weight each set (building to a “target” weight for the final set) or maintain the same weight for all 5 sets?”

    Eric, in this program you stay with the same weight for all 5 work sets. If you must, you may do warmup sets beforehand.

    Like

  33. From Dallas:

    “I agree to what Pavel has to say. I can see how somebody with a clean diet can follow this workout and obtain a nice body with great strength to bodyweight ratio. What is not covered is any type of conditioning or cardiovascular training that should be done to prevent heart diseases. These workouts prescribed last an hour with at least 50 minutes of it being rest. Thats a total of 50 minutes of exercise a week and not what I would consider an active lifestyle. There must be some type of conditioning for the heart to compliment this workout. Such as, sprinting or interval training with agility drills.”

    Dallas, of course, cardio is something you need to do in addition. Just don’t overdo it when strength is your priority.

    Like

  34. From Stephen:

    “So please correct me if I’m wrong but… If a workout based on a progressive overload system of 5 x 5 is great for strength would I be correct in thinking that a progressive overload workout plan based on 5 x 10 would be better for building size?”

    Stephen, 10×5 perhaps but not 5×10.

    According to the energetic theory of muscle hypertrophy, a muscle cell possesses a limited amount of energy, or ATP, at any given moment. It is spent two ways: protein synthesis and mechanical work. Normally, a muscle is in an anabolic/catabolic balance. It resembles a pool with the “in” and “out” pipes of the same size. Whatever proteins are degraded by your lame daily activities get replaced. In contrast, when a muscle is forced to contract against great resistance AND perform a large amount of work, it uses most of its available ATP supply. Consequently, less energy can be spent on protein re-synthesis. The catabolic processes start prevailing and the muscle mass is reduced. In the aftermath of this destruction the muscle cell gets a chance to channel its energy to anabolism. It just goes nuts and synthesizes more protein than you had before the workout! Just in case, for the rainy day.

    It becomes apparent that weights that are too light do not open the “pipes” to “drain the pool” wide enough, weights that are too heavy do not open them long enough, and excessive rest periods allow the “pool” to get “refilled” thus negating all the “drainage” done.

    That fancy explanation could be summed up simply: get a pump with big weights and you will grow.

    Like

  35. From Starting Off:

    “Since I’m new to these types of lifts, what is the most efficient way to discover my starting weights for the lifts?”

    Starting Off, pick up a very light weight and do 5 reps. Rest. Add 10 pounds and repeat. Keep repeating until you have to work to get 5 (but don’t have to kill yourself). That is your weight for the next workout.

    Like

  36. Pavel,

    You stated that the bench would respond to lower volume than the overhead press. I have been using this routine with the side press – does this also require more volume? In the past, I have usually pressed five times per week, although I did make progess pressing twice a week on a Verkhoshansky routine.

    Like

  37. Pavel,

    Thanks for the feedback. I just order the ETK starter kit and look forward to its arrival. One more quick question. Can you suggest a kettlebell program that utilizes Faleev’s Nothing Extra (80/20) principles? Thanks again.

    Like

  38. From Brian:

    “I just order the ETK starter kit and look forward to its arrival. One more quick question. Can you suggest a kettlebell program that utilizes Faleev’s Nothing Extra (80/20) principles?”

    Brian, ETK focuses on a very limited number of exercises so it complies with Pareto’s law. As for Parkinson’s law, you could enter the http://www.tacticalstrengthchallenge.com competition, at least the snatch portion of it.

    Like

  39. @Martin

    I agree with you – if they know what they are doing.

    Dude, you are pretty strong, so you can guide your clients and push them as much as they need to be pushed. Which is a lot if they are to succeed gaining a good body with strength training.

    To look big with 5×5 you should get to like 300-400-500 lbs in the 3 power lifts.

    Most newbies starting 5×5 underestimate this. On the other hand, gyms are full of decently sized men that don’t have a clue about strength training.

    They have been blitzing their muscles with split training.

    So yeah – 5×5 is great if you know where you need to get with it – which is to get pretty damn strong.

    Also, it is harder to push yourself on deadlifts, squats and benches than it is on the split training exercises.

    Like

  40. Pavel, you recommend not combining the 5×5 workouts with training for another sport. Why? What are the dangers/risks of doing this?

    I’m a distance runner and completed my first 2 week of the 5×5 program. Everything went smoothly. I’d run for 4-5 miles then immediately perform one of the 3 lifts.

    Like

  41. From Tom Haddon:

    “You stated that the bench would respond to lower volume than the overhead press. I have been using this routine with the side press – does this also require more volume? In the past, I have usually pressed five times per week, although I did make progess pressing twice a week on a Verkhoshansky routine.”

    Tom, volume is a weekly matter so doing a couple of sets 5 days a week adds up.

    If you make gains on a low volume plan by all means keep doing it. Whatever the reasons, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Like

  42. From mikew:

    “Pavel, you recommend not combining the 5×5 workouts with training for another sport. Why? What are the dangers/risks of doing this? I’m a distance runner and completed my first 2 week of the 5×5 program. Everything went smoothly. I’d run for 4-5 miles then immediately perform one of the 3 lifts.”

    Mike, the schedule will become very demanding once the weights climb. Your body has limited adaptation resources and you need to focus them on your primary sport. “Power to the People!” is a good strength program for shorter distance runners. http://www.bearpowered.com tells you how LA coach Barry Ross brought 17-year old Allison Felix to the fastest 200m in the world with PTP, a shorter and less demanding plan than 5×5 with squats.

    Like

  43. Pavel,

    I have been doing Starting strength for about 6 months. I was going to try this program. My last deadlift for starting strength was 1x5x315. what do you think would be a good weight to start for 5×5. to me, 5×5 accross seems like a lot of volume for a deadlift.

    Thanks

    Like

  44. Pavel,
    Thanks for the great advice on starting weights! The article and comments don’t really say how fast the movements should be. I usually try not to go too fast, but move at a reasonable pace. 5 reps take 30-40 seconds or so at that rate. What do you suggest?

    Thanks!

    Like

  45. From Mike W:

    “I have been doing Starting strength for about 6 months. I was going to try this program. My last deadlift for starting strength was 1×5×315. what do you think would be a good weight to start for 5×5. to me, 5×5 accross seems like a lot of volume for a deadlift.”

    Mike, start with 275. It is a lot of volume -until you adapt to it.

    Like

  46. From Starting Off:

    “The article and comments don’t really say how fast the movements should be. I usually try not to go too fast, but move at a reasonable pace. 5 reps take 30-40 seconds or so at that rate. What do you suggest?”

    Starting Off, rep speed is subject of ongoing debate in the powerlifting community. Some insist that you must explode, others prefer the training rep pace which matches that of a max lift -unrushed but not exaggeratedly slow. Both camps have science and records to back their points of view. If you want to dig deep and make up your own mind, read my http://www.powertothepeoplemonthly.com, a newsletter for serious powerlifters. If you just want to lift, choose the second option -a steady, unrushed, but not super slow pace.

    Like

  47. Thanks for great article,I was searching for pavels article and came across this website.Now i would have to read the 4 hour workweek sounds like a great book.

    Pavel,
    Would this sort of program work for somebody trying to loose weight without loosing the muscle mass.Anyway i have started on the following routine and added 20 Minutes on treadmill after the workouts.

    Monday –heavy squat (SQ)
    Tuesday –heavy benchpress (BP)
    Wednesday –heavy deadlift (DL)
    Thursday – light SQ
    Friday –light BP
    Saturday –off
    Sunday –off

    Like

  48. From Bobby S:

    “Would this sort of program work for somebody trying to loose weight without loosing the muscle mass.”

    Bobby, for the time being you will be better off with a less demanding muscle building schedule (e.g. 3×5) and a demanding conditioning plan (e.g. kettlebells, sprints, etc.).

    Like

  49. This program would work for beginners and for beginners ONLY. I would say this program will plateu your bench at 1.2-1.4xBW forever. Ukranian powerlifters like Kutcher DO NOT train like that even the slightest. Here is a typical “Bench day” of a WPC Ukranian lifter (I’m trained by one, and he personally knows many lifters : Yevhen Pavlov – equipped BP 285kg at 140kg bodyweight @ WPC Worlds Miami 2008 – he trains WITH him, and many others) :

    1. Bench Press (po sheme) light,med,heavy weeks for example 90% 3×3, 85% 4×4, etc.
    2. Bench Press Assistance (alternate floor press, band press, static-explosive contrast, speed bench every week)
    3. Incline Press
    4. Shoulder Presses

    You absolutely CAN’T progress in powerlifts past beginner level without ALTERNATING INTENSITIES and certainly assistance work!
    Currently Ukranian lifters use either this high-volume low-frequency protocols like I’ve listed OR classical Sheiko-inspired med-intensity high-frequency protocols.

    Like

  50. Pavel,

    Thanks very much for the reply.

    I have managed to set up a very basic floor press apparatus (barbell across two sturdy supports), so I intend to try this movement in future. I haven’t ‘benched’ in years, but am keen to stick to the program as closely as you describe it.

    My other lifts are zercher DL and zercher SQ. I use these because I train at home and do not have the money or space for a rack. In addition, I find that lifting 90kg for 5×5 ZDL is more demanding than regular DL of the same weight and I am forced to train on wooden floors, so piling on weight endlessly is not always an option for me. Do you think that these are acceptable substitues for the three lifts in the program?

    Thank you.

    Like

  51. Pavel,

    One last question!

    I have read that Jack Reape recommends a three weeks forward, one week back approach. I have used this for my last two or three cycles and quite liked it. Would you recommend similar for this routine? For example, oush for three weeks; on week four, drop to 66% volume and 66% intensity; build up again from week five?

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Like

  52. From Tom Haddon:

    “I have read that Jack Reape recommends a three weeks forward, one week back approach. I have used this for my last two or three cycles and quite liked it. Would you recommend similar for this routine? For example, oush for three weeks; on week four, drop to 66% volume and 66% intensity; build up again from week five?”

    Tom, usually I am opposed to any changes in a tested training plan until the person has been on it for months and has some data to analyze. Your change is simple enough and tested; go for it.

    Like

  53. Pavel and Tim,

    Great post, Tim.

    This question is for either of you. I do a 2 hour martial arts training session 2 times a week. It’s pretty intense and exhausting. Would a PL style 5×5 workout interfere with my training there or would doing the aerobic combat work interfere with getting the most out of the strength training? Keep up the good work.

    Like

  54. To Pavel Tsatsouline,

    I saw that you really enjoyed the Warrior diet, but I had never heard of it. I went and got the book and I loved the concept… I started doing it and I feel great! Ori Hofmekler’s ideas really make sense and by God, I feel so much better during the day, and I have already lost a decent amount of weight (for the first few days at least). The point that he makes that I like the most is that all other diets are based upon restriction (all the time). His is only based upon restriction during the day… I feel great after I eat a complete meal in the evening, and I can actually think during the day (I am a college student). As I have only been on the diet for a few days I can only imagine what the day-to-day will be like when I really get used to it. Thank you for mentioning it!!

    To Tim Ferriss,

    Ori Hofmekler makes a very interesting point in the book, the Warrior Diet. The more recent trend is to eat 3 to 6 smaller meals a day (rather than his one large meal), and he says (and it is logically obvious) that eating this way takes up a lot of time each day. You might do your own evaluation and add it to “The 4-Hour Body” section on this blog. JAT.

    Brandon

    Like

  55. From Fortis:

    “This program would work for beginners and for beginners ONLY. I would say this program will plateu your bench at 1.2-1.4xBW forever. Ukranian powerlifters like Kutcher DO NOT train like that even the slightest. Here is a typical “Bench day” of a WPC Ukranian lifter (I’m trained by one, and he personally knows many lifters : Yevhen Pavlov – equipped BP 285kg at 140kg bodyweight @ WPC Worlds Miami 2008 – he trains WITH him, and many others) :

    1. Bench Press (po sheme) light,med,heavy weeks for example 90% 3×3, 85% 4×4, etc.
    2. Bench Press Assistance (alternate floor press, band press, static-explosive contrast, speed bench every week)
    3. Incline Press
    4. Shoulder Presses

    You absolutely CAN’T progress in powerlifts past beginner level without ALTERNATING INTENSITIES and certainly assistance work!
    Currently Ukranian lifters use either this high-volume low-frequency protocols like I’ve listed OR classical Sheiko-inspired med-intensity high-frequency protocols.”

    Fortis, you are correct, an more experienced lifter has to cycle. Faleev has his own scheme: several weeks of 5×5, several of 4×4, several of 6-4-2-1 but this is just one of many options.

    Ukrainians have many training systems. Leonid Kotendzha for instance, the coach who has trained Vitaly Papazov to break Kaz’s 23 year IPF total record, had the latter do 800-900 lifts in each of the three competition lifts in the 60-77.5% intensity zone during the preparatory period often doing 5×5 with 75% 1RM in both the SQ and the BP on the same day.

    Band presses and such are not something a beginner to intermediate lifter should worry about.

    Like

  56. From Tom Haddon:

    “My other lifts are zercher DL and zercher SQ. I use these because I train at home and do not have the money or space for a rack. In addition, I find that lifting 90kg for 5×5 ZDL is more demanding than regular DL of the same weight and I am forced to train on wooden floors, so piling on weight endlessly is not always an option for me. Do you think that these are acceptable substitues for the three lifts in the program?”

    Tom, I love Zerchers but I would do either ZDLs or ZSQs, not both.

    Like

  57. From Andrew Neely:

    “I do a 2 hour martial arts training session 2 times a week. It’s pretty intense and exhausting. Would a PL style 5×5 workout interfere with my training there or would doing the aerobic combat work interfere with getting the most out of the strength training?”

    Andrew, if you attempt to follow the 5×5 plan and train MA hard you will just compromise both. Either find a less demanding strength training schedule (see my above answers) or take it easy with MA.

    Like

  58. Pavel: I just bought Power to the people book and Video. My goal is to gain strenght but loose fat at the same time. I attend a well equiped GYM but no so sure about doing deadlifts and Squats by my self, since theres no good trainer at the gym. Should I go forward following the video lessons. I havent found any PL trainer in Mexico and theres no PL Competitions either. (I`m sure this is a problem in many countries). Another thing wich confuses me is that the routine in Tim post talks about 3 escercises and your book talks mainly about two. I really need a 80/20 routine for building strenght while loosing fat. What do you recommend, Thanks in advance for your feeedback and excellent support.

    Like

  59. @Fortis:

    You said: “You absolutely CAN’T progress in powerlifts past beginner level without ALTERNATING INTENSITIES”

    You do realize that this program has both heavy and light days, right?

    In fact, another term for switching back and forth between heavy and light days is ALTERNATING INTENSITIES.

    Weird, huh?

    😉

    Like

  60. From Vamerben:

    “Pavel: I just bought Power to the people book and Video. My goal is to gain strenght but loose fat at the same time. I attend a well equiped GYM but no so sure about doing deadlifts and Squats by my self, since theres no good trainer at the gym. Should I go forward following the video lessons. I havent found any PL trainer in Mexico and theres no PL Competitions either. (I`m sure this is a problem in many countries). Another thing wich confuses me is that the routine in Tim post talks about 3 escercises and your book talks mainly about two. I really need a 80/20 routine for building strenght while loosing fat. What do you recommend, Thanks in advance for your feeedback and excellent support.”

    Vamerben, neither Faleev’s plan nor mine focuses on fat loss. You may do moderate cardio in addition but it still will not be the focus.

    If you still chose to pursue PTP right now, consider hiring a coach to review your form online. Mark Reifkind is a former coach PL Team USA. rifstonian@yahoo.com

    Like

  61. Pavel,
    Thanks again for the great article and your great responses to all the questions here. What is your opinion on making larger than 10 lb increases in weight if the workout from one week to the next gets easier, even with the increase in weight?

    Like

  62. Pavel,

    You said not to use both ZDL and ZSQ in this program. Is this because they use the same bar position and thereby work the upper body muscles in a similar fashion?

    I would like to use ZSQ, as I feel my squat is weak in comparison to my deadlift. Would I be losing some of the effect on the posterior chain, or does the ZSQ adequately work lower back, hamstrings etc?

    Would you recommend ZDL or ZSQ as the best bang for the buck?

    Presumably, choosing one over the other would mean dropping to four days a week of heavy and light floor press and ZSQ.

    Like

  63. From Tom Haddon:

    “Would a barbell power snatch with no knee dip be an acceptable alternative”

    Tom, because the snatch is a quicker lift it requires totally different loading parameters. Try snatch grip DLs, they are a lot harder and call for less weight than regular DLs.

    Like

  64. Pavel,
    I’m finding my grip slipping when doing deadlifts (so far I’ve been able to hang on). Do you have any suggestions for supplemental grip training to help with this?

    Thanks!

    Like

  65. I have recently started weightlifting again after many years of no exercise. I am following Pavel’s PTTP plan. I do like the one arm dumb-bell press, on a decline bench. I am getting up to heavy weight by doing the following – palms inward. When I exercise the right arm, I use the left arm to help get the weight into position. I push straight up with the right arm, and use the left to help stabilize the weight. By using both arms to get the weight into position, and using one hand to stabilize the weight, I can lift much heavier weight than I could if I picked up two dumb-bells at the same time. The decline is safer with a dumb-bell than a barbell, it hits the lats and triceps well. I started with the decline for situps, which I have dropped to focus on deadlift and dumb-bell press. For the decline press, it works the lats and the triceps well, and like the situp, the decllne position uses gravity to force your body into correct form.

    Like

  66. Hola Pavel, greetings from Colombia

    I`m impressed with your system and your support answearing all the questions. i have started your recomendationsand I like it a lot. I have some Lordosis, nothing that requires an operation, but I just wanted to know if I shuld stick to deadlifts and squats or if theres any other recomendation. Many friends asked me about this system and ask if you plan to have a Spanish version of the book and DVDs soon. gracias y felicidades!

    Like

  67. From Bob Smith:

    “When during Faleev’s weekly cycle would be an appropriate time to integrate light kettlebell training?”

    Bob, a light quick lift workout for conditioning and a couple of get-ups could be done twice a week after the heavy lifts, ideally a couple of hours later.

    Like

  68. From Pat:

    “I`m impressed with your system and your support answearing all the questions. i have started your recomendationsand I like it a lot. I have some Lordosis, nothing that requires an operation, but I just wanted to know if I shuld stick to deadlifts and squats or if theres any other recomendation. Many friends asked me about this system and ask if you plan to have a Spanish version of the book and DVDs soon. gracias y felicidades!”

    Pat, thank you for your kind words! The decision is up to a doctor who is experienced in lifting. No plans for Spanish editions for the moment.

    Like

  69. From Starting Off:

    “I’m finding my grip slipping when doing deadlifts (so far I’ve been able to hang on). Do you have any suggestions for supplemental grip training to help with this?”

    Use chalk. A good exercise for DL grip is loading up a bar set up in a power rack above your knees, picking it up with one arm, like a suitcase, and holding. After your regular DLs or on a different day.

    Like

  70. Pavel,

    Thank you again for your response.

    This quesiton relates to the stretching. I have Relax Into Stretch; are there any movement in it that you recommend to follow up each squat, bench and deadlift day?

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Like

  71. From om Haddon:

    “This quesiton relates to the stretching. I have Relax Into Stretch; are there any movement in it that you recommend to follow up each squat, bench and deadlift day?”

    Haddon, you need stretches for the hams, quads, and hip flexors. You may stretch your back but not with forward flexion stretches like the toe touch.

    Like

  72. Hi Pavel:

    I recently completed the first week of this program and will follow it in pursuit of new maxes in the the big three in six months–on July 12th, 30 weeks from starting date. I have never planned a PR attempt this far out, or stuck strictly to a program for six months… So I would like your advice on how many weeks I should spend in each set/rep bracket 30 weeks out. Also, I modified the 4-day-week to “SQUAT-BENCH-OFF-DEADLIFT-OFF-LIGHT SQUAT/BENCH” because my past experience with 3 straight days of heavy lifting isn’t good.. Thanks for your support!

    Like

  73. From Jason M.:
    “I recently completed the first week of this program and will follow it in pursuit of new maxes in the the big three in six months–on July 12th, 30 weeks from starting date. I have never planned a PR attempt this far out, or stuck strictly to a program for six months… So I would like your advice on how many weeks I should spend in each set/rep bracket 30 weeks out.”

    Jason, first stay with 5×5 for as long as you make gains in the BP (it will peter out first). Then add weight and do 3×3 the week after, 2×2 the week after that, and then max. After that run a more planned cycle. Power to you!

    Like

  74. Hi Pavel,

    Thanks for your article – I really enjoyed it. And your book – PTTP – also brilliant.

    Can you tell me what the correct technique for bench press is? You mention using your lats – could you elaborate?

    I know Faleev’s approach is a system based on the three exercises. But as a beginner who is looking for an 80/20 approach to strength/toning is the squat really necessary? Would the deadlift and bench press be sufficient?

    Thanks vm

    Like

  75. Thanks again to Pavel and Tim!

    I’ve been following the program (had to use the 4 day schedule a couple times to fit it in) for 3.5 weeks, and I have to say I’m impressed! Each week I’ve added 10 lbs to each lift, and some weeks the heavier weight seems lighter than the week before! I’m slightly overweight and have gained a solid 6 lbs, but it feels and looks like I’ve lost fat, so I’m very happy with my results so far. I’ve probably gained 10+lbs of muscle at least, and lost the difference in fat.

    S.O.

    Like

  76. Pavel,

    I’m entering a building phase to increase strength (and mass), endurance and flexibility. I plan to use Favlev’s program for myself during that period, and add endurance exercises at the end of each work out.

    My girlfriend though, wants my help to loose some weight and I wonder if my plan would work well for her. Her goals are to loose X pounds and get a leaner, but not muscular, body.

    Is there otherwise a plan that would work well for both of us?

    Thank you for your time.

    Like

  77. Hey Pavel, this seems like a solid routine. But I am worried a little bit about muscular/strength imbalance. There is no rowing movement and it seem like the rear deltoids are ignored.

    Like

  78. Very cool to see an article here from Pavel!
    Tim, I am excited to hear more about you and KBs. Whoo ha.
    Special thanks to Pavel for taking time to answer everyones questions here.
    rock on
    Mike T Nelson, RKC, PhD(c)

    Like

  79. From David:

    “Can you tell me what the correct technique for bench press is? You mention using your lats – could you elaborate?I know Faleev’s approach is a system based on the three exercises. But as a beginner who is looking for an 80/20 approach to strength/toning is the squat really necessary? Would the deadlift and bench press be sufficient?”

    David, I describe the proper BP technique in great detail in my book ‘Beyond Bodybuilding’, http://www.dragondoor.com/b31.html.

    If the program calls for the squat, you need to squat. PTP is a DL based program; Faleev’s needs both. It is not a good idea to change proven training plans until you have the experience.

    Like

  80. From Starting Off:

    “I’ve been following the program (had to use the 4 day schedule a couple times to fit it in) for 3.5 weeks, and I have to say I’m impressed! Each week I’ve added 10 lbs to each lift, and some weeks the heavier weight seems lighter than the week before! I’m slightly overweight and have gained a solid 6 lbs, but it feels and looks like I’ve lost fat, so I’m very happy with my results so far. I’ve probably gained 10+lbs of muscle at least, and lost the difference in fat.”

    Comrades, this is what happens when you follow the instructions and don’t fool around! Keep it up, Starting Off!

    Like

  81. From Christoffer:

    “My girlfriend though, wants my help to loose some weight and I wonder if my plan would work well for her. Her goals are to loose X pounds and get a leaner, but not muscular, body.Is there otherwise a plan that would work well for both of us?”

    Christoffer, kettlebell training would be most appropriate for both of you. http://www.russiankettlebells.com has starter kits for men and women.

    Like

  82. From John L:

    “But I am worried a little bit about muscular/strength imbalance. There is no rowing movement and it seem like the rear deltoids are ignored.”

    John, the bench press, when done properly, usess the rear deltoids very strongly (you ‘tear the bar apart’ with them). The DL gets them too. Adding exercises to this tested plan is one of the worst mistakes you could make. Humor me—test your rows today, then follow the Faleev plan for six months and retest your row. Your rowing strength will have increased significantly and the mass on the back of your shoulders with it.

    Comrades, it bears repeating—do not try to ‘improve’ a professionally designed routine. You have nothing to gain and everything to loose.

    Like

  83. Thanks Pavel, and thanks again for your great and generous answers to all the questions here! I’ll be sure to stick with the program and report back on my progress to help encourage everyone here. Today was my first lift (DL) ever over my own body weight for the full 5×5 progression – 40 lbs heavier than my starting weight, and what a workout! 10 more lbs next week!

    S.O.

    Like

  84. Hi Pavel,

    The stronglifts program alternates between Workout A and Workout B below. Workouts are three days a week alternating between A and B. The site quotes your work so I assumed you knew of it. What do you think of this versus Faleev’s program Thanks again

    Workout A Workout B
    Squat 5×5 Squat 5×5
    Bench Press 5×5 Overhead Press 5×5
    Inverted Rows 3xF Deadlift 1×5
    Push-ups 3xF Pull-ups/Chin-ups 3xF
    Reverse Crunch 3×12 Prone Bridges 3x30sec

    Like

  85. I am using this program and have been since the first of the year, a little less than one month. I am competing in a bench press contest around August or September, and my one rep max has increased 20 lbs. since starting. Hopefully, I am off to a good start and will be hitting a approximately 200 lb. bench by that time. I am taking NO2, creatine, and weight gain protein powder too as I want to gain a few pounds to be in the 132 lb. class. I have always liked a more minimalistic philosophy and would welcome any and all emails at doctordanny337@yahoo.com, especially from Mr. Ferris, Tsatsouline, or any others that have suggestions.

    Like

  86. From Brian:

    “The stronglifts program alternates between Workout A and Workout B below. Workouts are three days a week alternating between A and B. The site quotes your work so I assumed you knew of it. What do you think of this versus Faleev’s program Thanks again

    Workout A Workout B
    Squat 5×5 Squat 5×5
    Bench Press 5×5 Overhead Press 5×5
    Inverted Rows 3xF Deadlift 1×5
    Push-ups 3xF Pull-ups/Chin-ups 3xF
    Reverse Crunch 3×12 Prone Bridges 3×30sec”

    Brian, looks like a good schedule. Make sure there is some form of cycling.

    Like