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

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.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

905 Replies to “Pavel: 80/20 Powerlifting and How to Add 110+ Pounds to Your Lifts”

  1. From Derrick:

    “How about 3×3 on the heavy days and 3×2 light days?”

    Derrick, you will get either a peaking program for the last few weks before a meet or one for building or maintaining strength without building muscle. Very few people grow on three triples. Fives can’t be beat.

  2. Pavel,

    You have inspired me to better myself, and your advice has come through 100%! Which book of yours would be the best for direction on stretching after these three big lifts? (I will definitely buy what you suggest – I want to support you after all the free and valuable help I’ve gotten) I tried using a standard stretch for the butt, but the indian style type stretch made my knee hurt pretty bad;any suggestions?

    Thanks 🙂

    Starting Off

  3. From Starting Off:

    “You have inspired me to better myself, and your advice has come through 100%! Which book of yours would be the best for direction on stretching after these three big lifts? (I will definitely buy what you suggest – I want to support you after all the free and valuable help I’ve gotten) I tried using a standard stretch for the butt, but the indian style type stretch made my knee hurt pretty bad;any suggestions?”

    Starting Off, thank you for your kind words! My ‘Strength Stretching’ DVD has been endorsed by many powerlifting champions and coaches:

    http://www.dragondoor.com/dv024.html

  4. Hey Mr. Pavel,

    I enjoyed reading this. I asked Tim about what to do to bulk up since I’m a runner/decathlete/triathlete. What would be the effects of a lot of cardio to this type of workout? Leaning up or counterintuitive and pointless to do cardio?

    I’ll be getting back into running about 40-50miles a week with lifting.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks so much in advance!!!

    Chris

  5. From Chris Wyatt:

    “What would be the effects of a lot of cardio to this type of workout? Leaning up or counterintuitive and pointless to do cardio? I’ll be getting back into running about 40-50miles a week with lifting.”

    Chris, you would be getting minimal results in running and lifting. If you are a runner you need a different strength regimen. And don’t plan on getting bigger, unless you switch to sprinting.

  6. As a testament to Pavel’s earlier comment on squats working the abs: I hadn’t noticed any work on my abs until this week. On my 5th week heavy squat (going up 10 lbs each week) I hit the point at which I got a really good ab workout just from doing the squats – I had to use my abs to stabilize the weight and it was a heck of a workout.

    S.O.

  7. From Starting Off:

    “As a testament to Pavel’s earlier comment on squats working the abs: I hadn’t noticed any work on my abs until this week. On my 5th week heavy squat (going up 10 lbs each week) I hit the point at which I got a really good ab workout just from doing the squats – I had to use my abs to stabilize the weight and it was a heck of a workout.”

    Starting Off, a good call to stick to the plan! Comrades, pay attention!

  8. Pavel,

    I was surprised to see the 5×5 routine here instead of the pure strength PTP workout. Anyway, if I follow this routine, am I allowed to do cardio? If so, how much and how often?

    Great post btw.

    Thanks!

  9. Hi everyone,

    Before all, thanks to Pavel and Tim for this article, really interessing, i’m currently putting it in practice, 5 days a week, as recommanded. I’ll let you know my progress (Don’t know yet if I should report every two weeks, or less)

    Some information from where I start :

    I haven’t done any serious training for 19 months, so I guess we could say I’m starting from nothing, I’m 19, 1.64 cm, 60.2 kg, 7.5 kg of body fat ( 12.5/100)

    Currently, my workload are:

    56 kg on squat

    20 kg on deadlift

    25kg on bench press

    don’t laugh thanks^^

    I have a question for Pavel: About abs, can we do the same kind of exercice for abs? for exemple taking some weight and doing 5*5 series of basics abs exercice?

    Or is it dangerous for the back?

    Thank you in advance for your answer

  10. From Manche:

    “Pavel,

    I was surprised to see the 5×5 routine here instead of the pure strength PTP workout. Anyway, if I follow this routine, am I allowed to do cardio? If so, how much and how often?

    Great post btw.

    Thanks!”

    Manche,

    In the comments above, Pavel suggests doing the ‘program minimum’ from his book and video, both titled, “Enter The Kettlebell,” as a compliment to this lifting schedule. A workout based on this program lasts 15 minutes twice a week and 22 minutes twice a week for four total workouts per week. I highly recommend the book and video as well as the combination of the two systems he reccomends.

    S.O.

  11. From Manche:

    “I was surprised to see the 5×5 routine here instead of the pure strength PTP workout. Anyway, if I follow this routine, am I allowed to do cardio? If so, how much and how often?”

    Manche, the idea is not just to build strength but mass as well.

    Cardio is fine, just take it easy. Marty Gallagher’s hiking recommendations are most appropriate in my opinion. If you go hard on cardio you will compromise your muscle gains.

  12. From Thomas:

    “About abs, can we do the same kind of exercice for abs? for exemple taking some weight and doing 5*5 series of basics abs exercice?”

    Thomas, generally, yes (I recommend low rep ab training in my book ‘Bullet-Proof Abs’), but not on Faleev’s plan. Stick to it as written.

    You definitely need to up the poundages. It is good to be conservative but one can go too far.

  13. Pavel,

    I’ve been progressing well for the last 6 weeks, adding 10 lbs each week to each of the lifts. I’ve had noticable fat loss and muscle gain, which is exciting! My squat is 50lbs lower than my dead (squat:185lbs dead:235lbs), and I was wondering if that was a problem, since I always see people with squats and deads so close to each other. Is there any reason to try and keep the two similar or to be concerned about the imbalance?

    Thanks!

    S.O.

  14. From Starting Off:

    “I’ve been progressing well for the last 6 weeks, adding 10 lbs each week to each of the lifts. I’ve had noticable fat loss and muscle gain, which is exciting! My squat is 50lbs lower than my dead (squat:185lbs dead:235lbs), and I was wondering if that was a problem, since I always see people with squats and deads so close to each other. Is there any reason to try and keep the two similar or to be concerned about the imbalance?”

    Starting Off, it is normal. In powerlifting special suits (imagine wearing several pairs of jeans that are three sizes too small for you on top of each other) add a lot of pounds to the SQ but not to the DL. Raw lifters (those who do not wear assisting gear) usually pull more than they SQ.

    Good work, keep it up!

  15. Pavel, ok little update about how much I take, and a question.

    When i’m referring to the weight I don’t take into account the weight of the bar, just the weight that I add… but from the last two days I take your advise into account even if it was theoricaly “resting days”.

    So if we add the weight of the bar here is my new record:

    Press: 48 kg (105 pounds)

    Deadlift: 38 kg ( 83.6 pounds)

    Squat:67.5 kg (148.5 pounds)

    The difference between DL and SQ come I guess from the fact that for SQ I use “guidance” machine, not free weight…

    About this I have a big question: for the press I tried to see how much could I reach with free weight and with guidance machine… the difference is, heavy, with the free weight I my limit is 48, but with the guidance I can go up to 58, probably more (I tried it at the end of the session…)

    So what would you recommand? use the free weight or the guidance machine? I understand that with the free weight we use muscle to stabilize the bar, but I wonder if its worthy… (or if its better to that the guidance with higher weight…)

    Thank you in advance for your answer…

  16. Thomas,

    Bars in my gym typically weigh 45lbs (20kg), so if you’re not adding the weight of the bar that would account for the difference. I would suggest using free weights to gain more useful strength, but use the machine if you don’t have a spotter and aren’t comfortable with the weight. The machines typically have negligible weight and are balanced, so you don’t add for the bar, but you should always factor the bar in to your total for free weights.

    S.O.

  17. My question to Tim or Pavel,

    I have difficulty squatting-due to past injuries my back curls which is unsafe. What excersise shold I do instead of squats? OHP etc?

    I look forward to your reply.

  18. Dear Pavel/Tim,

    This article is so good, last summer I participated in strength training but since then done conditioning training.I want to give this a go for the reason that it provided maximum progress, and focuses on the key strength training exercises.

    Q. I am unable to squat (with proper technique i.e. curling back). What exercise should I do, or how could I change the program? As I know dead lifts provide some leg muscle development. But squat is the best(which annoys me).

    Q. I would opt for the three days as it will provide more time for me to focus on other aspects of my life, how would you incorporate the above exercise into my workout. Mon, Wed, Fri?

    Thank you and I look forward to your reply.

  19. From Dominic Ayres:

    “I have difficulty squatting-due to past injuries my back curls which is unsafe. What excersise shold I do instead of squats? OHP etc?”

    Dominic, almost anyone can learn to squat safely. My ‘Strength Stretching’ DVD will help you: http://www.dragondoor.com/dv024.html. Or you could hire a powerlifter or an expert trainer for a few lessons. Let me know where you are based and I might be able to recommend one.

  20. From Dominic Ayres:

    “Q. I would opt for the three days as it will provide more time for me to focus on other aspects of my life, how would you incorporate the above exercise into my workout Mon, Wed, Fri?”

    Dominic:

    Monday – heavy SQ

    Tuesday –off

    Wednesday –heavy BP, light SQ

    Thursday – off

    Friday – heavy DL, light BP

    Saturday – off

    Sunday – off

  21. Pavel:

    I know “HOW” to squat. I used to do Stronglifts 5×5, and my brother and friend taught me how to squat with correct technique and I used a lot of strentching such as Squat stretch etc. Mobility DVD.

    But I was born with Bilateral Talipes Equinovarus-in which the heel is drawn up and the sole turned inwards which means my heels cannot touch the floor when I squat down.

    Q: Can I get away with Deadlifting and OHP and BP as a workout.

    But thank you for your replies. Going to start this workout tomorrow so excited as have not done strength training in months.

  22. Sorry to keep asking questions about this post but I really want to ensure that I am effective tomorrow:

    Question: If I am only in the gym for an hour max as you only do two exercises at most what stretches are best for the following lifts?

    Deadlift?

    Bench?

    OHP?

    Squat?

    What specific stretches prepare you best for these lifts Pavel?

  23. From dominic:

    “I know “HOW” to squat. I used to do Stronglifts 5×5, and my brother and friend taught me how to squat with correct technique and I used a lot of strentching such as Squat stretch etc. Mobility DVD. But I was born with Bilateral Talipes Equinovarus-in which the heel is drawn up and the sole turned inwards which means my heels cannot touch the floor when I squat down.Q: Can I get away with Deadlifting and OHP and BP as a workout.”

    dominic, could you squat with your shins vertical, as they do at Westside?

  24. From dominic:

    “What specific stretches prepare you best for these lifts Pavel?”

    dominic, please see my ‘Strength Stretching’ DVD.

    Go ahead and start the program without squats until we work out what to do about your SQs.

  25. Pavel,

    You recommended your ‘Strength Stretching’ DVD to me as well, and I have to say I’m impressed. My squat seemed much easier with only minor changes (I had already researched form and had it close, but perfected it with your video). My other two lifts improved as well – It’s definitely a must-see for anyone planning on following this plan!

    S.O.

  26. From Starting Off:

    “Pavel, You recommended your ‘Strength Stretching’ DVD to me as well, and I have to say I’m impressed. My squat seemed much easier with only minor changes (I had already researched form and had it close, but perfected it with your video). My other two lifts improved as well – It’s definitely a must-see for anyone planning on following this plan!”

    Thank you for your kind words, Starting Off!

  27. Hi Tim,

    I just finished the book and I LOVE it.

    I am a going to be 37 years old next month. I am a jack-of-all-trades in regard to marketing, business development and PR. I am on my my last and final horrible owner…I can’t take.

    Can anyone share with me more about finding a muse. I have been seriously brainstorming for about a month now and I just don’t know where to start to break away from working for other people.

    I am ready to go but I can’t seem to find my direction…help!

    K

  28. Pavel,

    I’m progressing well, and I have decided to work towards a personal goal (benching my own weight, will attain in 5-8 weeks hopefully), then I want to maintain the strength gains while focusing on losing fat w/ cardio/kettlebells (I need to lose around 20 lbs, even considering the muscle gains – I’m 5’11”, 213lbs and only lifting 5×5 b:155 sq:195 dl:245 = chubby…). Any suggestions on how to mix the two for fat loss while maintaining strength in the pl’s? I understand a good diet is key, too, I’m pretty strict now on veggies, fresh fruits and lean protiens.

    Thanks!

    S.O.

  29. From Starting Off:

    “I’m progressing well, and I have decided to work towards a personal goal (benching my own weight, will attain in 5-8 weeks hopefully), then I want to maintain the strength gains while focusing on losing fat w/ cardio/kettlebells (I need to lose around 20 lbs, even considering the muscle gains – I’m 5?11?, 213lbs and only lifting 5×5 b:155 sq:195 dl:245 = chubby…). Any suggestions on how to mix the two for fat loss while maintaining strength in the pl’s? I understand a good diet is key, too, I’m pretty strict now on veggies, fresh fruits and lean protiens.”

    Starting Off, don’t change your training until you reach at least 1.5 times bodyweight BP, 2bw SQ and 2.5bw DL (for you that means 300, 400, and 500). You may add some KB swings for fat loss soon. Indeed, nutrition is important, find a reputable expert to listen to.

  30. Pavel,

    Thanks again for you advice! I’ll stick to the plan as is and get the lifts higher before changing anything. It’s definitely enjoyable enough, and the gains I’ve seen already are encouraging enough to take it farther :).

    S.O.

  31. I have no clue what’s happening, but I followed the routine for the first time last week and managed 5×5. I don’t know if it was all in ‘perfect form’. However, this week, when I added 10 pounds, I couldn’t squat correctly or bench even two reps. Did I get weaker? Also, when do you advise people should not attempt a rep? I might have gone to failure last time. I could’ve knocked another few reps after the workout was done though. Does that count?

  32. Pavel,

    Big fan here. I have a few of your books and am always looking to improve my lifts. I have been lifting for about 8 years but until recently have never been in a good enough financial position to hire a trainer. Do you know of a good one in the Baltimore area that you could recommend? Thanks again –

    Pat

  33. From Kale:

    “I have no clue what’s happening, but I followed the routine for the first time last week and managed 5×5. I don’t know if it was all in ‘perfect form’. However, this week, when I added 10 pounds, I couldn’t squat correctly or bench even two reps. Did I get weaker? Also, when do you advise people should not attempt a rep? I might have gone to failure last time. I could’ve knocked another few reps after the workout was done though. Does that count?”

    Kale, you picked too big of a weight. Back way off and start over. At the end of each set you should be able to do one more rep if you tried your hardest.

  34. From Pat in Baltimore:

    “Big fan here. I have a few of your books and am always looking to improve my lifts. I have been lifting for about 8 years but until recently have never been in a good enough financial position to hire a trainer. Do you know of a good one in the Baltimore area that you could recommend? Thanks again”

    Pat, here is your trainer. Skilled with powerlifting and kettlebells:

    Dan Cenidoza

    Baltimore, MD

    Phone: 443-562-7964

    Email: bemoretraining@gmail.com

    External Web Site: http://www.bemoretraining.com

  35. hello pavel and everybody,

    first thank for answering all our question.

    Second here are a set of new question

    1)for the press: A big friend of mine, advice me to lift up my foot from the ground when I’m benching, (because it seems that I have one arm stronger than the other and I relied on the grounds to balance this inequality..) so what do you think about it?

    2) For the DL, everybody seems use to most weight on it (compare to SQ or BP), but for me its the opposite I tried to perform it as in the video of Johnnie Jackson, but while doing so the coach told me to start much lower than him and to rely more on the leg, in order to protect my back…, so is it bullshit? should I perform it like here:

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/BBDeadlift.html

    thanks

    Thomas

  36. Everyone,

    I just want to say how thankful we should all be to Pavel for him taking the time to answer everyone’s questions!

    Seriously, I’ve listened to Pavel’s advice for YEARS and gotten incredible results without ever talking to him personally like this.

    This is a huge opportunity for those of you who listen to him and act on his advice. And for people asking him if they can mess with the program — just follow it like he says — all us top guys trust Pavel’s advice!

    Later

    Caleb

  37. From Thomas:

    “1)for the press: A big friend of mine, advice me to lift up my foot from the ground when I’m benching, (because it seems that I have one arm stronger than the other and I relied on the grounds to balance this inequality..) so what do you think about it?”

    Thomas, don’t lift your feet, they need to drive hard into the platform. Add a set or two of 5 of one-arm DB bench presses after your barbell benches.

    “2) For the DL, everybody seems use to most weight on it (compare to SQ or BP), but for me its the opposite I tried to perform it as in the video of Johnnie Jackson, but while doing so the coach told me to start much lower than him and to rely more on the leg, in order to protect my back…, so is it bullshit? should I perform it like here:

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/BBDeadlift.html

    Gray Cook explains why you should not squat your DLs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P02K_-OxwMs

    There are many ways to DL, good and bad. Hiring a powerlifter for a couple of sessions would help. Let me know where you live and I might be able to find you one.

  38. thanks again pavel,

    Thomas, don’t lift your feet, they need to drive hard into the platform. Add a set or two of 5 of one-arm DB bench presses after your barbell benches.

    you mean a DB bench only on my weaker arm right?

    Gray cook’s video is pretty interesting, I will do my DL tommorow, and see the result.

    and I’m living in HongKong at the moment

  39. Hmmmm this was 1 of my New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve yet to Tackle* Then again I bought Baron Baptiste’s YOGA book not last Summer but the one before + I haven’t read it yet nor attempted a Downward Dog* I guess if I’m gonna Climb back into the UFC Steel Octagon with Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell I better get Started with 5X5!! ;))

  40. Tim,

    I teach my readers the benefits of using strength as a way to gain definition…both men as well as women. I use Pavel’s methods to help people get the hip “Hollywood Look”…I’ve been following Pavel for the past 10 years and have a lot of respect for this innovator.

    Awesome post buddy!

    Rusty

  41. thank you pavel, with the good way of making DL, I went from 38 to 60 kg, amazing how just changing the way you lift up change the amount of weigth you take

    Good DL feels good, but I’m wondering, why only one DL per week?

    thanks again

  42. Going on 8 weeks and doing great! So far I’ve increased all of my lifts by 80 lbs by increasing 10 lbs each week (when 5×5 was acheived)! Following the plan to the letter is definitely a must! I’ve been following the five day schedule, by the way, with a couple weeks modified to the four day schedule due to time constraints.

    Thanks again!

    S.O.

  43. From Thomas:

    “thank you pavel, with the good way of making DL, I went from 38 to 60 kg, amazing how just changing the way you lift up change the amount of weigth you take. Good DL feels good, but I’m wondering, why only one DL per week?”

    Thomas, aim to build up to 2-2.5 times your bodyweight eventually (more if you decide to powerlift).

    The deadlift takes a lot out of you and many coaches believe once a week hits the spot.

  44. From Starting Off:

    “Going on 8 weeks and doing great! So far I’ve increased all of my lifts by 80 lbs by increasing 10 lbs each week (when 5×5 was acheived)! Following the plan to the letter is definitely a must! I’ve been following the five day schedule, by the way, with a couple weeks modified to the four day schedule due to time constraints.”

    Great work, Starting Off! A lesson to all, comrades. If instead of constantly changing your mind and your routines you found one tested simple program you would be getting somwhere.

  45. Pavel,

    I found this article recently and was impressed by what you wrote. I investigated more about you(don’t worry, I wasn’t stalking you) and it lead me to order Beyond Bodybuilding and PTP. I LOVED them. I feel it’s an honor to have you personally answer our questions. Thanks.

    Before I ask my questions I would like to give you some info about myself to help you acurately answer my question.

    I compete in submission wrestling and I am a newbie RAW powerlifter(my first meet is in june). I weigh 208 lbs, 5’10 tall and 10% bodyfat. I can Bench 305 lbs, squat 365 lbs and deadlift 455.

    My question is, how can I pack on weight to be a bigger heavyweight(I am a small one now) while improving my “BIG 3” lifts without over training with grappling? I figured I would use PTP and cycle it with th BEAR for bulking, however I am confused as how to include the squat in the PTP training. Also, if I could include the squat in my PTP training and cycle it with kettlebells, would it work? Can you build mass with kettlebells?

    Thanks in advance for taking time to anwer my question.

  46. P.S.

    I also wanted to know what the best way to do more pull ups? I can do 20 strict ones. I want to do 30. Should I do latters every other day or do 5 pullups when ever I pass my pullup bar in the house?

    Also the numbers on my 3 powerlifts might look weak for my size, but I am new to the big 3 and these numbers were based off of strict powerlifting form. I am strong, I just need to translate it to the big 3. I think my bench and DL are my strengths, so I was wandering if a push pull meet would suit me best and then I could just stick to DL and bench using your origional PTP program?

    Are these too many goals to have at once? I just want to be a well rounded athlete and compete in the two sports I most enjoy, submission wrestling and powerlifting.

    Sorry for so many questions, but you are the authority on strength in my book and I know you will be able to at least give me some insight on how I can begin my journy in the strength world.

  47. Pavel, what is the best method of stretching? that has been the only thing I’m not too sure if I’m doing properly

    Also, any recommendation for squatting unassisted, it can be quite daunting to up your poundage and not be sure if you’ll make it (I’m not wanting to train Zercher squat)

    1. @Kevin,

      I have mixed opinions of Crossfit. I was exposed to CF first when training in BJJ and went through perhaps a dozen sessions in different facilities over several years. I think there is value in sustaining strength at higher heart rates, but I think the mixing and matching done so often in CF can be dangerous — i.e. going from ergometer to muscle ups to heavy back squats. Reps are also performed much too fast, and racing other trainees to do the most reps in a given time period breeds bad form.

      It can get you in fantastic shape… if it doesn’t injure you. I know dozens of well-trained athletes who have abandoned CF after multiple injuries.

      I’d rather just choose a methodology that is highly unlikely to injure me. If you’re getting twice the results from CF than anything else but get a significant injury (shoulder in particular) every 6 months, it is a training program that will do more harm than good, IMHO. I don’t see any problem with separating strength training from endurance training and then getting sport-specific conditioning by practicing your sport.

      Hope that helps,

      Tim

  48. viking slav, thank you for your kind words!

    Submission wrestling and PL are incompatible. You may practice some DLs and BPs but for lower than 5×5 volume. Otherwise you will gain weight and get stiff.

    “Grease the groove” to improve your pullups. The method is in my book ‘The Naked Warrior’ (http://www.dragondoor.com/b28.html). You may also find articles about it on the web.

  49. From Alexander:

    “Pavel, what is the best method of stretching? that has been the only thing I’m not too sure if I’m doing properly

    Also, any recommendation for squatting unassisted, it can be quite daunting to up your poundage and not be sure if you’ll make it (I’m not wanting to train Zercher squat)”

    Alexander, why do you stretch? Your goals affect the choice of the method.

    Squat in a power rack with the pins ready to catch you.

  50. Pavel,

    If I would like to do your bear program from PTP, will that make me stronger or just bigger? I want both strength and size. Is the 5×5 more suitable for these goals?

    I also want to do your ETK programs for cardio. Is it ok to do kettlebell for size, or is it just something I can cycle with my strength/bulking programs to keep heart-healthy?

    The reason I ask about size with kettlebells is because I saw a pro powerlifter talk about training with you and kettlebells online, and he said it added mass to his shoulders and traps. That’s cool because kettlebells are so fun! They give you explosiveness, endurance, strength, and flexiblity. Most people say kettlebells are only for getting skinny.

  51. From big dave

    “If I would like to do your bear program from PTP, will that make me stronger or just bigger? I want both strength and size. Is the 5×5 more suitable for these goals?”

    Dave, start with 5×5, later move up to the Bear.

    “I also want to do your ETK programs for cardio. Is it ok to do kettlebell for size, or is it just something I can cycle with my strength/bulking programs to keep heart-healthy?”

    Kettlebells are very effective for adding size but you need to pick the appropriate training method. We are about to release my new book ‘Return of the Kettlebell’ which is about strength and muscle building with KBs.

    “The reason I ask about size with kettlebells is because I saw a pro powerlifter talk about training with you and kettlebells online, and he said it added mass to his shoulders and traps. That’s cool because kettlebells are so fun! They give you explosiveness, endurance, strength, and flexiblity.”

    Correct, if you know how to train. Donnie Thompson, RKC, who holds the highest powerlifting total (the sum of the squat, bench, and dealdift) has added 26 pounds of muscle and 100 pounds to his bench with KB. Marc Bartley, RKC, the total world record holder in the 275 pound class, has added 44 pounds to his bench with KBs.

    “Most people say kettlebells are only for getting skinny.”

    They work for that too. There are many ways to use kettlebells.

  52. Pavel,

    That is excellent news about the new book “Return of the Kettlebell”!!!

    I can’t wait to get it. When does it come out? If it will not be out for a while, can I order information on how to train like this from you so I can get started now and buy some kettlebells? Just let me know how.

  53. Pavel,

    Can I do this program for two weeks then do kettlebells for two weeks and alternate like that as long as there is cycling done in both? I like the barbell and the kettlebells.

  54. Pavel,

    I am familiar with many 5×5 programs and I have been on one much like this for a while(I enjoy soviet programs). I noticed you told Big Dave to do 5×5 then move to the BEAR. Why, is the bear more advanced? I have your PTP book and I have never tried the BEAR, but I would like to. Since I have done 5×5, what can I expect from the BEAR?

  55. From big dave:

    “That is excellent news about the new book “Return of the Kettlebell”!!!

    I can’t wait to get it. When does it come out? If it will not be out for a while, can I order information on how to train like this from you so I can get started now and buy some kettlebells? Just let me know how.”

    Dave, “Return of the Kettlebell” will be out in March or April. It is not for beginners but for those who have completed the Rite of Passage from “Enter the Kettlebell!”

  56. From Mark:

    “Can I do this program for two weeks then do kettlebells for two weeks and alternate like that as long as there is cycling done in both? I like the barbell and the kettlebells.”

    Mark, eventually—perhaps. The cycling will have to be different. For now stick with one or the other.

  57. From Spencer:

    “I am familiar with many 5×5 programs and I have been on one much like this for a while(I enjoy soviet programs). I noticed you told Big Dave to do 5×5 then move to the BEAR. Why, is the bear more advanced? I have your PTP book and I have never tried the BEAR, but I would like to. Since I have done 5×5, what can I expect from the BEAR?”

    Spencer, the Bear has more volume and 5×5 is a logical stepping stone.

  58. Pavel,

    In your book Power to the People you state that when on the BEAR program that “because of increased work load you may have to reduce training frequency… but not too much.” How many days do I train durring the BEAR? Do I do the press and DL same day or not? It does not specify that in your book.

    I can’t wait to buy your new book Return of the Kettlebell! When I was training with your ETK program I was able to loose 20 lbs of fat and gain 10 lbs of muscle, thanks!

    By the way this 80/20 powerlifting was a great article! But I wouldn’t expect any less from you, congratulations!

  59. Pavel,

    On this program would I be able to lose fat while building muscle mass, or would a 3X5 program with additional kettlebells be a more appropriate way to do that?

  60. From Scott:

    “In your book Power to the People you state that when on the BEAR program that “because of increased work load you may have to reduce training frequency… but not too much.” How many days do I train durring the BEAR? Do I do the press and DL same day or not? It does not specify that in your book.”

    Scott, try benching twice a week and deadlifting once.

    “I can’t wait to buy your new book Return of the Kettlebell! When I was training with your ETK program I was able to loose 20 lbs of fat and gain 10 lbs of muscle, thanks!”

    Thank you for your kind words! Please review the book on http://www.dragondoor.com/b33.html.

    “By the way this 80/20 powerlifting was a great article! But I wouldn’t expect any less from you, congratulations!”

    Thank you!

  61. From Samuel:

    “On this program would I be able to lose fat while building muscle mass, or would a 3X5 program with additional kettlebells be a more appropriate way to do that?”

    Samuel, you might lose some fat but it is not the focus on the program. Try this: stay on the 5×5 plan for 12 weeks, then focus on fat loss for 12 weeks, then go back to 5×5.

  62. Pavel,

    In your book Power to the People you state that when on the bear program that “because of increased work load you may have to reduce training frequency… but not too much.” How many days do I train durring the bear? Do I do the press and DL same day or not? It does not specify that in your book.

  63. Hi Tim and Pavel,

    I took a look at this article when it was first posted. I had been on a gym ‘hiatus’ for far too long due to a knee injury and then just plain slackness. I’ve always been quick to gain and lose weight going from 155 to195 lbs. and back to 155 in just over a year (running, weightlifting, traveling)

    I had only gotten back into a typical routine a couple of months before I read this article and decided to try it out. Now, obviously, quick gains are to be had in the short term for anyone sticking to a routine (in my experience) but I have seen the best gains in strength and physique that I have ever seen while using this plan.

    I will be posting on my own site about my experience after my 6 month mark is reached. I initially planned on trying to get my 1 RM to 225 lbs. from 115 lbs. in a year but since I am already gaining so quickly on this – I expect I’ll reach that within 6 months. My Dead Lift, which I had never really given the time of day, has gone from 185 lbs to 250 lbs. and my squat from 165 lbs. to 250 lbs. This is all in 7 weeks. Now, I don’t know if these are great gains or not, I’m not employing a trainer and I’m not taking any supplements excepting a protein shake after my workout. I generally try to stick to Tim’s lifestyle diet, and have done for the most part for the past year.

    For the duration of this exercise regimen I have stayed around 190 lbs. and have only seen great gains in strength and looks; and am just stoked to get to it everyday.

    Thanks to both of you for the article and the great insights into strength training, lifestyle and for pushing yourself to be better everyday.

  64. Pavel,

    Since your ptp program is lower daily volume, can i do it in the morning and then do kettlebells in the afternoon?

    I no longer practice another sport so I don’t think I will be over-training. do you?

    I use to box and got great results with ptp, I know I couldn’t do ptp and kettlebells when boxing, but now can i do dettlebells and ptp together , seperate times of the day?

    Thanks for answering our questions. By the way, I am American-born RUSSIAN! Power to you!

  65. From Dmitri Mendeleev:

    “Since your ‘Power to to the People!’ program is lower daily volume, can i do it in the morning and then do kettlebells in the afternoon? I no longer practice another sport so I don’t think I will be over-training. do you? I use to box and got great results with ptp, I know I couldn’t do ptp and kettlebells when boxing, but now can i do dettlebells and ptp together , seperate times of the day?”

    Dmitri, simply add two sets of DLs to your KB practice twice a week and do another 2-3 days of KBs only. Power to you!

  66. Pavel,

    Thanks for the info on how to do the bear program. Will the bear make me stronger as well as bigger, or is it primarily a hypertrophy program?

  67. From scott:

    “Thanks for the info on how to do the bear program. Will the bear make me stronger as well as bigger, or is it primarily a hypertrophy program?”

    Scott, both. It is a logical progression after 5×5.

  68. I have been making great progress with this program, though I got sick and that slowed things down.

    I am going to do as Faleev suggests and compete soon. The x 1.2 way to get the one rep max is accurate for me, though I use 1.25.

    But I am wondering how to figure out what weight to use when moving from 5×5 to 4×4 to 3×3 and also exactly how long I might best do each. Can somebody help with a formula, suggestion, either, or both? I am a novice and would appreciate the kindness.

  69. From Dr. Danny:

    “I have been making great progress with this program, though I got sick and that slowed things down.

    I am going to do as Faleev suggests and compete soon. The x 1.2 way to get the one rep max is accurate for me, though I use 1.25.

    But I am wondering how to figure out what weight to use when moving from 5×5 to 4×4 to 3×3 and also exactly how long I might best do each. Can somebody help with a formula, suggestion, either, or both? I am a novice and would appreciate the kindness.”

    Dr. Danny, let me know your 5×5 PR and your 1RM and the date of the meet and I will map it out for you.

  70. Hi pavel?

    any friends in hongkong to show me the proper way to squat/bench/DL.

    (of course I look at some video, and ask bodybuilder here, but it would be better to be corrected in live)

    anyway

    here are my result:

    squat. 72.5kg

    deadlift 75 kg

    press (switched to the guided one in order to build muscle before coming back to the free weight, and because people here don’t understand what a spotter is…) 62.5kg

    I saw that you (pavel) made a dvd about streching for those different exercice, is it possible to buy it and to download it on a website (don’t really want to pay double price to send it to HK^^)?

    thank you

  71. From Thomas

    “any friends in hongkong to show me the proper way to squat/bench/DL.

    (of course I look at some video, and ask bodybuilder here, but it would be better to be corrected in live)

    here are my result:

    squat. 72.5kg

    deadlift 75 kg

    press (switched to the guided one in order to build muscle before coming back to the free weight, and because people here don’t understand what a spotter is…) 62.5kg

    I saw that you (pavel) made a dvd about streching for those different exercice, is it possible to buy it and to download it on a website (don’t really want to pay double price to send it to HK^^)?”

    Thomas, sorry, I don’t know anyone in Hong Kong.

    Don’y use a machine for the bench press. Press alone inside a power rack.

    I am not a techie and I am not sure whether ‘Strength Stretching’ is available for downloading. Please ask Dennis Armstrong, support@dragondoor.com.

  72. Mr. Tsatsouline:

    You messaged me and asked that I let you know my 5×5 PR and my 1RM and the date of the meet and I will map it out for you.

    My 5×5 pr is as follows:

    Squat: 95 (will go up ten maybe on my light day today and proceed)

    Bench: 115 (will go up ten maybe on my light day Friday)

    Deadlift: 170 sumo

    One rep max would be x 1.25 so:

    Squat 118.75

    Bench 143.75

    Deadlift 212.5

    This adds up to a total that isn’t far from 500, which I am pretty pleased with considering I weigh around 125 now and have been using this program since January with time off for being sick a little.

    The president of the federation that I am soon to be affiliated with lives within driving distance, so I will be listening to his advice also. Bench shirts, etc. are legal, so that might be a factor, though I have been training raw and am not sure how.

    The meet is on May 3rd.

    My email address is doctordanny337@yahoo.com should you wish to take this offblog. I I appreciate the kindness, and I do want to let you know that I think of you as a class act now even more than ever.

  73. Dr. Danny, starting from next week do this on your heavy days:

    SQ BP DL

    5×5:

    1 90 105 165

    2 95 110 175

    3 100 115 185

    4 105 120 195

    5 115 125 205

    3×3:

    6 125 135 215

    2×2

    7 135 145 225

    Don’t forget to eat a loy.

    Do NOT use supporting gear. Get strong first, then decide whether it is worth it. Using bench shirts, squat suits, etc. too early in one’s strength career prevents you from learning how to get tight under the bar and leads to other problems.

    White lights!

  74. Hi Pavel,

    Thank you for giving us this program and taking the time to answer questions.

    I know that techniques like supramaximal holds can increase strength. Would there be room for such techniques in this program? Also, could one make further gains by integrating twice a day training? Thank you!

  75. From Brian:

    “I know that techniques like supramaximal holds can increase strength. Would there be room for such techniques in this program? Also, could one make further gains by integrating twice a day training? Thank you!”

    Brian, there is no room for twice a day training on this plan. You could do some overloads, e.g. walking out a 120% SQ, when you are peaking with 3×3 or 2×2.

    Don’t overcomplicate.

  76. Pavel,

    I can’t say thanks enough for your great article and generous attention you’ve been giving to this blog for MONTHS! I’ve already enjoyed a few of your products as well, and recommend them to anyone and everyone. I’ve been on the program for almost three months now, and have added around 100 lbs to each of my lifts as well as gaining significant muscle mass and definition (note that I’m somewhat of a beginner to strength training, but not sports, cardio training, or good ol’ hard work). I’m very happy with the results, and I haven’t even maxxed out yet!

    A couple questions have been on my mind lately:

    1: How long is too long to wait between sets?

    The article states, “Top power dogs take longer; 30 min. is not unheard of.” I have noticed that sometimes I need more than 5 minutes to feel ready to go on to the next set. if 30 minutes is not unheard of, as stated in the article, what is the maximum wait time allowed before it becomes too long and interferes with the training plan? (i.e. waiting 18 hours would be way too long, but what about one or two hours? What about 4 or 5 hours, breaking up the sets between lunchtime and after work?).

    2: Lifts are getting noticably more draining and less enjoyable – is this normal or does it mean something?

    The lifts are getting harder and less comfortable as I advance in weight. The last two deadlifts were hard to get the nerve up to actually lift – I felt like I didn’t have the energy or will to do it even though I got all 5 sets both times (I know it sounds stupid, but when this ‘feeling’ becomes stronger than the will to continue the program it could be a problem). I’m not suffereing from any specific pain or ache (actually other than expected muscle fatigue I’ve felt great), but the lifts have just become less enjoyable and feel more like ‘work.’ I’m not trying to complain, but I feel that this may be my body’s way of telling me something important – which is the reason I’m bringing it up. Any thoughts? – Below are my 5×5 numbers since they may pertain to this issue. Also, in case it may bear on a solution: For 1.5 weeks I’ve been doing the ‘Enter the Kettlebell’ program minimum in addition to lifting, but the issue in question has been gradually increasing for the last 4-5 weeks or so.

    Beginning Numbers (Week of December 25, 2008):

    Bodyweight/Height: 200 lbs/5’11”

    Squat: 125 lbs

    Bench: 95 lbs

    DL: 165

    Current Numbers (Just got all 5 sets in each lift, Week of March 12, 2009):

    Bodyweight/Height: 214 lbs/5’11”

    Squat: 235

    Bench: 175

    DL: 285

    Thanks again for all of your help!!

    Sincerely,

    S.O.

  77. From Starting Off:

    “1: How long is too long to wait between sets?”

    As long as you want. My “Grease the Groove” plan from ‘The Naked Warrior’ calls for sets throughout the day. For practical reasons 5-10min.

    “2: Lifts are getting noticably more draining and less enjoyable – is this normal or does it mean something?”

    It means you are getting stronger and digging deeper. When you barely make your sets, go back to lighter weights (‘recycle’) and build up again.

    Hold the course, Starting Off, you are doing very well.

  78. Pavel,

    Thanks again for your advice and support! Doing some reading on my own lead me to believe I should take a week off from lifting, but recycling sounds like a better way to recover and work past the tough spots. I may also space my 5 sets throughout the day since my gym is across the street from my office (I’m lucky :)). Should recycling be done with all lifts at the same time or just the lift that’s getting overwhelming? Would a good drop be 20 lbs?

    Thanks, Pavel!!!

    S.O.

  79. Starting Off, a week off would not hurt. On next cycle back off to 185 in the SQ, 145 in the BP, and 225 in the DL. Eventually you will know how far to start in each lift to peak them all at once.

  80. Pavel,

    I’ll follow your prescription and let you know how it turns out. I’m actually looking forward to it – not to the break mind you, but to coming back to lifting and enjoying it more again :). I remember feeling great for most of the lifting time except the very end, with higher energy levels and a general feeling of power at all times :).

    Thanks 1,000,000!!!! 🙂

    S.O.

  81. ?????? ?????,

    ??????? ??????? ??? ????? ???????? ????? ???????. ???? ??? ??? ???? ?????. ????????? ? ????? ?????.

    Hi Pavel,

    Big respect for your work and Im very happy to find you here, thank you and wish you all the best.

    Thanks to your books and articles i got introduced to kettlebells and right now i feel that i cant live without them. When i was child we had 16kg giria in Russia but i was too small to even think about using it. Im very happy and love them even though my wrists have dark red spots from constant hits of kb but its OK i like it.

    I discovered similar program from powerlifting.ru 2 weeks ago and was on it since then. But I trying to use kettlebells between gym days. Doing swings and snatches.

    Just wanted to share this.

  82. Comrade Pavel,

    I can’t believe you still take time to reply to posts here. Thanks!

    I am having a short of a sticking point early in the program. I started several weeks ago and although I haven’t been able to life exactly on the schedule, I haven’t missed many workouts. However, unlike people who have been posting here, I seem to be stuck at a particular weight about 20 pounds above where I started(I started pretty conservatively). Every week, I can make the first set and the second set starts getting really tough and it’s down-hill from there on. However, I have been seeing some muscle mass gain and some fat loss, so I am sticking with it. I don’t understand what is going on. Am I supposed to cycle back to a lower weight so quickly?