Monday, September 26, 2022

Russian-Style Two-Way Split Training -- C. S. Sloan

 



C.S. Sloan's Integral Strength blog.
March 19th 2009 to the present:






This form of more advanced training isn't for everyone out there, but it can be quite effective at pushing your strength to a new level if you've already acquired impressive strength gains from normal two-way splits or full-body workouts like the Power Volume Training (PVT) program. 


Now, don't get me wrong, I think you can perform PVT for as long as you wish. Most people, however, like a little more variety in their training. I think variety is fine, as long as you stick with a certain program for a lengthy period of time in order to ascertain whether it is working or not. 

The workouts in this chapter (see book above) are ones that you must stick with and give a chance. Why? 

Because there is a good amount of volume involved, and it takes you a little while to adjust to the added workload. Adaptation. How much volume am I talking about? 

Although you will be splitting your workouts in two, you will be training your bench press four times a week (at every workout), and your squat and deadlift twice a week. 

Note: These two articles by Anthony Ditillo give some information on what you'll be working at and attempting to accomplish by adapting to this type of training . . . 



When you first attempt this volume, you will be slightly weaker -- for a week or two. After a couple of weeks, once your body has adapted to the program, then you'll probably be surprised at the new level of strength you are able to reach.

Remember, you must have spent a long amount of time training on full-body workouts and other two-way splits AND have reached an advanced level of strength before attempting these programs. 

I call these Russian-style split workouts because they are very similar to the routines the Russians like to use. It is not uncommon for Russian strength coaches to have relative beginners bench pressing four times a week and squatting and deadlifting at least twice. While I think that's a little extreme for recreational lifters, I think this is a very good way for advanced lifters to train, especially competitive powerlifters or highly advanced bodybuilders.

Here, I'm going to present a four week program. After I lay out four weeks of training, you should have a pretty good understanding or how the program works.   

As for what days to lift on, follow the same guidelines that were set up for the two-way splits in Chapter Five. I personally like to have the lifters I work with take the weekends off so their lower backs can recover a little better, but any of the splits will work once you adapt to it. 


The Program

Week One

Day One

 - Squats - 5 x 5, 3 x 3.

The 5x5 should be progressively heavier (ramp). The last should be tough, but make sure you get it. Add weight so that you perform 3 sets of 3 reps with the same weight for all three sets. 

 - Bench Press -  5 x 5.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets. The last one should be all-out. Use a medium-wide to wide grip.

 - Squats - 3 x 8 reps.

Pick a weight that makes you work hard but not one that makes you reach failure on any sets. If desired, use bands or chains on this movement. Work each rep explosively.

 - Incline Dumbbell Presses - 3 x 10.

Use a weight that's tough, but don't take any sets to failure.

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50.

Pick a fairly tough ab exercise, whether it's steep incline situps, weighted situps, or hanging leg raises.


Day Two 

Deadlift - 5 x 5. 

Perform 5 progressively heavier sets of 5. After each rep, release for a moment, stand up, and repeat for another rep. This allows you greater starting strength, which is needed greatly at the advanced level. 

 - Close Grip Bench Press - 8 sets of 8,5,5,5,8,10,10,12. 

Start off with a light set of 8 reps. The next 3 x 5 should be progressively heavier. Drop down in weight on each subsequent set after that. Use weights that take you two or three reps shy of failure

 - Deadlift Off Blocks (deficit) - 5 x 5.

Use the same weight on all 5 sets.

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50.


Day Three 

 - Squats - 5 x 5.

Use the same weights you used for 5x5 on Day One, omitting the sets of 3 reps. This will still work your quad muscles -- improving synaptic facilitation -- but will cut down on your workload.

 - Negative Overload Bench Press - 5 x 3.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3 reps. The last set should be about 80% of what was used for your final set of 5 reps on Day One. Take approximately 10 seconds to lower each repetition

 - Seated Good Morning - 3 x 8.

Use an arched or rounded back, depending on the health of your lower back. These are straight sets all performed with the same weight. Stop each set shy of failure.

 - Lying Triceps Extensions - 3 x 10. 

Use either a straight bar or an E.Z. curl bar on these. Take each set a couple reps shy of failure.

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Four 

 - Sumo Deadlift - 5 x 5.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets until you reach a weight that's approximately 80% of the weight used for regular deadlifts on Day Two.

 - Dips - 5 x 5.

All of these sets should be performed using the same weight. 

 - Rack Deadlift - 5 x 2.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets. The last set shouldn't work you too hard. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50.


Week Two

Day One 

 - Bottom-Position Squat - 8 x 3.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets. Whatever weight you use for your 5th set, stick with that weight on sets 6 through 8.

 - Bench Press (bands or chains added) - 8 x 3.

Use the same technique you used for the bottom position squats above. 

 - Bottom-Position Squat - 4 x 5. 

All of these sets should be performed with the same weight. Make sure you rest for a count of a couple of seconds at the bottom of each repetition. 

 - Dumbbell Floor Press - 3 x 10.

Lie on the floor and perform these as you would standard DB benches. This will help the top half of your bench press immensely. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Two 

 - Deadlift - 8 x 3. 

Use the same set/rep format as the squats and benches on Day One.

 - Incline Close-Grip Bench Press - 8 x 3

Use about a 45-degree angle. Same set/rep format as the deadlifts.

 - Snatch-Grip Deadlift - 4 x 4.

Perform these with the same grip you would use if you were doing a natch. In other words, a wide-grip with your pinky finger on the power rings. Some like to use an even wider grip. 

 - Bench Dips - 3 x 20.

Work these hard, but still take every set several reps shy of failure. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Three

 - Olympic-Style Pause Squat - 8 x 3.

Same set/rep format as the other core exercises this week. For form, make sure that you utilize a high-bar placement and a close-stance. Squat down as deep as possible, pausing for two or three seconds before "exploding" back to lockout.

 - Wide-Grip Bench Press - 4 x 4.

Use a grip that's outside of the power rings. This will work your chest very hard. Perform all 4 sets of 4 reps with the same weight. Approximately 75-80% of your maximum would work well. Explode on each rep. 

 - Rounded-Back Good Morning - 3 x 8.

Use a fairly light weight on these. Concentrate on getting some blood flow to your lower back area.

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Four 

 - Deadlift (pausing at the knees) - 8 x 3. 

Same set/rep format as deadlifts on Day Two. Pause for a count of one or two seconds each time you reach knee level.

 - Close-Grip Bench Press (bands or chains added) - 8 x 3.

Here, perform straight sets, using the same weight throughout all 8 sets. Pause on your chest, and explode as fast as possible.

 - Rack Deadlift - 8 x 3. 

Use the same set/rep format as the bench presses above, using the same weight on all sets. Explode from the pins to lockout, but use a very slow negative on the way down. Release the bar briefly between each rep. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Week Three

Day One 

 - Squat - 5 x 8.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 8 reps. 
The last set should be all-out.  

 - Bench Press - 4 x 10. 

Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets. 
The last set should be all-out.

 - Squat - 8 x 2.

These should be done for speed, working on your overspeed eccentrics. Use only about 50% of your one-rep maximum. If you would like, add bands or chains. Here, make sure that you descend as fast as possible. Break the pause for no more than a heartbeat, and explode back to lockout.

 - Bench Press - 9 x 3. 

Use overspeed eccentrics on these as well, adding bands or chains as needed. Use no more than 60% of your max. In addition, use three grip widths - close, medium-close, and medium.  

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Two 

 - Deadlift - 4 x 6.

Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets. The last set should be tough, but not all-out like the squats and benches on Day One. 

 - Close-Grip Bench Press - 3 x 10.

These should be straight sets, performed with the same weight. No set should be too taxing.

 - Speed Deadlift (off blocks) - 6 singles. 

Use only about 50% of your maximum. Make sure you pull as fast as possible off the floor. Bands can be added. 

 - Close-Grip Chins - 4 x 10.

These should all be performed with the same weight. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Three

 - Box Squats - 8 x 2. 

These should be done for speed. If you use bands on Day One, then lay off them today, and vice-versa. Make sure you sit back on the box, relax your hip muscles, then explode back to lockout.

 -  Reverse-Grip Bench Press - 4 x 8.

Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets. This exercise will give your chest a break, while working your front delts and triceps hard.

 - Front Squat - 3 x 8.

Use the same weight on all 3 sets. No set should be too taxing. 

 - Lying DB Triceps Extensions - 2 x 25. 

Take each set a few reps shy of failure. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Four 

 - Sumo Deadlift - 4 x 6. 

Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets. Take each set a couple of reps shy of failure. 

 - DB Bench Press - 4 x 8.

Work up over 4 progressively heavier sets. 

 - Stiff-Legged Deadlift - 3 x 6.

These are straight sets. Use a weight where you can come a couple rreps shy of failure, even on the last set. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Week Four 

Day One 

 - Squat - 5-8 singles. 

Work up over 5-8 progressively heavier singles until you hit a maximum weight (or very close to it). The number of sets depends on how heavy you are going and how many warmups you generally like to take. Some lifters get by with less, while some like a good bit more.

 - Bench Press - 5-8 singles.

Use the same technique as the squats above. 

 - Supramaximal Negative Squats - 2-3 singles.

Your first single should be with a weight that's 100-110% more than your maximum. Add weight on the next 1 or 2 sets. Use the table provided in Chapter Six - Advanced Strength and Power Techniques (of the book linked above) for the time under tension for each single.

 - Supramaximal Negative Bench Presses - 2-3 singles. 

Use the same format as the negative squats. 

 - Abs - 3 x 6-8. 

For this day, use weights on whatever exercise you choose, so it will be a heavy ab movement. 


Day Two

Deadlift - 5-8 singles. 

Work up to a near maximum weight. Obviously, the amount of weight you use will be hindered by all of the heavy squatting from Day One. That's okay. Remember, you are trying to BUILD strength, not test it. 

 - Close-Grip Board Press - 5 x 3.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3's until you hit a near maximum weight. If you would like, add bands or chains. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Day Three

 - Bottom-Position Squat - 5-8 singles. 

Work up to a weight that's around 80-90% of the weight used on Day One's squats.

 - Bottom-Position Bench Press - 5-8 singles.

Use the same method as the bottom-position squats.

 - Good Morning Squats - 5 x 3.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier sets of 3 repetitions. The last set should be hard but not all-out. 

 - Abs - 3 x 6-8. 


Day Four 

 - Deadlift Off Blocks - 5-8 singles.

Work up to a tough weight, one that's around 80% of what you used on regular deadlifts on Day Two. 

 - Close-Grip Incline Bench Press - 5 x 2.

Work up over 5 progressively heavier doubles.

 - Bench Dips (weighted) - 3 x 8-10. 

 - Abs - 3 x 30-50. 


Closing Thoughts

There you have it: an EXAMPLE four-week program that has a lot to offer the advanced lifter. Once you are finished with all four weeks, then you have a few options open as to what to do next. 

First, notice the way the program is set up. In the first week, you have a relatively medium intensity, medium volume program in which you mainly use 5 sets of 5 reps on your core exercises. 

In the second week, you have a little more intensity using sets of 3 reps instead of sets of 5. 

The third week sees a rise in volume through higher repetitions and a drop in the number of sets, which really helps to set you up for . . . 

The fourth week, which easily has the most intensity, but also the lowest volume. So, the next four weeks, you could simply stick with basically the same program, trying to increase the amount of weight you use on the exercises, or decrease the rest time in between sets. Or, you could use the same program, but switch up the exercises you use. Your options are open, just make sure you make some sort of variation in order to keep gains coming. 

Remember, you are probably going to need longer than four weeks to ascertain whether the program works for YOU. After eight weeks on this type of training your body will have had enough to adapt to it, and you will know if you can handle the volume. 


Enjoy Your Lifting!    





 






















 
 
 

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