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Topics - Boris Sheiko

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Universal Topics / Recommended Volume
« on: July 09, 2014, 06:53:46 AM »
Edit: This post is also available in Italian. Thanks Massimiliano Buccioni for the translation.

Previously it was mentioned that recommendations for monthly volume are the following:

Beginner = 700
Class 3 = 900
Classes 1 & 2 = 1000
CMS = 1100
MS = 1250
MSIC = 1700

Having seen these it is difficult to make an assessment of these recommendations without further explanation, such as:

1. To what period of training do these recommendations apply: the base, competitive or the average of all periods?

2. The number of training day these loads should be applied to is not specified. For example, in most cases the MSIC athletes in Russia train 4-5 times per week, MS train 4 times, Class 1 and CMS train 3-4+ times, and the others train 3 times. From this, it follows that the more training days, the easier it is to carry a greater load.

3 workouts in 1 week = 12 per month
4 workouts in 1 week = 16 per month
5 workouts in 1 week = 20 per month

3. It is not known whether the number of lifts includes general developmental exercises, such as hyperextensions, reverse hypers, exercises for the abs, exercises for the pectorals, lats, arm muscles, or leg muscles. And what about incline bench presses, shoulder presses, dumbbell bench presses, etc.?

4. We should also not forget that athletes in lighter weight classes can more easily handle larger loading than athletes in heavier weight categories. Therefore, the programs of athletes in lighter weight classes are planned with larger volumes than athletes in heavier weight categories.

5. Similarly, it is much easier for juniors to handle larger loading than adults and the same relationship applies between adults and veterans.

Beginners (1st Month) - 3 training sessions per week.

In the first month I plan only one exercise with a barbell at a time to study the art (from three-competitive lifts). I usually use 5-6 lifts in 5 approaches. For example:

Day 1 - learning how to perform squats.
Day 3 - learning how to perform bench presses.
Day 5 - learning how to perform deadlifts.

Also planned alongside the barbell exercise are 3-4 exercises for the development of general athletic qualities such as power, speed-strength, endurance, and flexibility. Agility is also developed through participation in team sports (football, basketball, volleyball) once or twice per week.

The result is 350 - 450 competitive lifts and special preparatory exercises. Great attention is paid to general fitness.

Beginners (Months 2-4) – 3 training sessions per week.

Two barbell exercises are planned in this stage, one competitive exercise, and one specifically for securing technique. For example:

Day 1
1. Squat
2. Bench press w/board

Day 3
1. Bench press
2. Deadlift off boxes

Day 5
1. Box squats
2. Close grip bench press

The result is 450 - 550 competitive lifts and special preparatory exercises at low intensity in the range of 50-60%. The share of general physical exercises still constitute the majority of the volume. 

Classes 2 & 3 - 3 training sessions per week.

The athletes continue pursing technique mastery. Special preparatory exercises are used not only to secure technique, but also to increase the strength qualities of lagging muscle groups. Loading is increased from 600 - 750 competitive lifts and special preparatory exercises. The intensity of loads rises to 60-65% in the preparatory periods. The share of general physical exercise is reduced slightly.

Class 1 and CMS - 3-4+ training sessions per week.

During training sessions the athletes work on improving the performance of equipment and the development of competitive exercise power qualities through special preparatory exercises. The number of lifts in competitive and special preparatory exercises for 16 workouts per month range from 800 - 1300. Intensity increases to 67-69% in the preparatory periods.

MS and MSIC (Elite)

There can be no recommended levels of stress. Here are some real examples of loading variations in this group of athletes:

Microcycle Load Distribution of a MS Lifter in the Preparatory Period
Week 1    Week 2    Week 3    Week 4    Total     
Avg %68.2%69.7%68.5%68.8%69.0%
Workouts    444416

The next example is for Andrey Belyaev.

Microcycle Load Distribution of a MSIC Lifter in the Preparatory Period
Week 1    Week 2    Week 3    Week 4    Total     
Avg %68.0%71.4%73.7%69.5%70.7%
Workouts    888832

The next example is for Alexey Sivokon.

Microcycle Load Distribution of a Honorary MSIC Lifter in the Preparatory Period
Week 1    Week 2    Week 3    Week 4    Total     
Avg %69.6%72.5%71.7%60.5%71.2%
Workouts    788831

See the graphic for a summary. You will see the typical volume progression as well as examples of programs on this site. Notice that special cases such as juniors and lighter weight categories can tolerate above average volumes. Dear reader, please do not take the graph as dogma. It is based on averages and will not apply in every case.

You can check your classification here.

There are three types of setting up for benchpress. Choose any you wish. You probably don’t  have such flexibility as girl on the photos has. Practice, practice and practice. And your arch will be better. Good arch – good result!

One of my students – Stephen Pritchard (Australia) sent me this video of his deadlift.

I used his video for creating this short little article titled “The conventional deadlift: how to pull and how not to pull”.

Every lifter has to remember that he should learn a lot about powerlifting  and seek to continually improve technique for the duration of  life…

You can find my comments and original video below.

 Also have a look at Brad Gillingham’s deadlift.

Frame 1. Start position. The hips are too low and the head is down making this a bad position to start from. It is very difficult to take the barbell off the platform.

Frame 2. Stephen moves the hips higher in order to take the barbell off of the platform and it begins to rise. The position of the hips in frame 1 should be the same as seen here.

Frame 3. The barbell is 3-5 cm above the platform and Stephen’s legs are straightening with the back muscles in a static position. The back muscles are just holding the barbell and the back is rounding because of a very huge load.

Frame 4. The back muscles are still in a static position while the legs straighten more and more. The hips are moving higher but the back is more rounded than before.

Frames 5 & 6. We can see that the legs are almost straight but the back muscles haven’t started working. Stephen looks like a crane with a long boom.

Frame 7. The barbell is at the knees and legs are nearly straight. Just now we start to see the back’s work. The back muscles are getting an enormous load.

Frame 8. Final phase. Stephen’s legs are a bit bent in the knees and the hips are a bit behind. Stephen didn’t lockout 100%. He wouldn’t get a judge’s command “down”. Summary: These frames (1-8) show us that the largest muscles of the back and legs work separately.

Here is a video of this deadlift.

Here is a good example how to do it right.

Eye of Sheiko / 10 Quick Comments on Technique | Series #1
« on: June 04, 2014, 06:31:46 PM »
1. Sheiko Technique Commentary #1 – Squat
The squat is too deep. That is why in the bottom of movement the lat muscles relax; they are too soft. This kind of technique comes from weightlifting (impact in the bottom). I recommend descending not more than 5 cm below parallel. Once a week do box squats with the height of the box set exactly 5 cm below the parallel depth.

2. Sheiko Technique Commentary #2 -- Deadlift off blocks
Generally in powerlifting, there is no need to do any exercise too fast/harshly/abruptly.

3. Sheiko Technique Commentary #3 -- Chest Muscles
Try to lower the arms and straighten them a bit more. The main intention of this exercise is not to lift heavy weights, but to stretch the muscles.

4. Sheiko Technique Commentary #4 -- Deadlift off blocks
Don't tense the muscles at the start. The arms should just hold the bar. Accelerate the barbell right after separating the barbell from the platform. This pull is too slow and tense.

5. Sheiko Technique Commentary #5 – Benchpress
Good, smooth lowering and good, smooth press. Try accelerating the barbell when starting the push upwards. The more acceleration in the bottom the easier it is to pass the sticking point. Also, the arch is too small.

6. Sheiko Technique Commentary #6 -- Deadlift
First of all body weight needs to increase. That is the #1 aim. Increase calorie intake. Drink gainers if needed. A body weight of 90kg is too low at a height of 187cm for optimum performance.

7. Sheiko Technique Commentary #7 – Squat
Good technique, well done.

8. Sheiko Technique Commentary #8 – Benchpress
The arch is too small. I recommend putting a 1.5L bottle full of water under the lower back. Also, it is not necessary to lower the barbell too fast, that is not good. When this  happens control of the barbell is lost. The barbell should be lowered slowly when it is close to the chest. Don't relax the arms when the barbell is on the chest either.

9. Sheiko Technique Commentary #9 – Deadlift
There is no need to snatch the barbell while deadlifting. That is the reason why the legs straighten. The legs don't work properly and the back works more than it has to.

10. Sheiko Technique Commentary #10 – Deadlift
My article on conventional deadlift technique is here:

Universal Topics / FAQs from students
« on: May 22, 2014, 03:52:16 PM »
Dear students,

I have received many questions from you about details of my plan. That is absolutely normal.
Here are some answers to FAQ.

1. About chains: Chains improve the upper part of the movement. The weight of the chains for each side of the bar is 5-10 kg. So if your set calls for 80%, load that weight onto the bar as normal then add the chains on top of that.  When you are in the final position of the lift, 2-3 chain links must still remain on the floor.

2. About seated good mornings: If you never do these, try to begin with 40 kg. If that is easy add 5 kg every week. Try to do long amplitude movements, your chin has to touch bench.

3. About steroids: Sorry, I don't give any advice about that. I just have to know whether you take them or not.

4. About recovery: The pool is great. Swimming is very good for muscle relaxation. Don't spend too much time in the pool though - swim just 3-4 laps (50 meters) and no more.  It usually takes 20-30 minutes. When finished go to the sauna. I recommend the sauna once a week. Overall time 45-60 minutes (3 times go inside the sauna + rest outside the sauna). It is not bad if you can't go to the pool once a week but try to visit the sauna once a week Massages: Once every 2-4 weeks is desired.

5. Additional/GPP exercises. Use medium weights. For example: after 8 reps you should be able do 3-4 more.

6. If you can train 4 times per week, I recommend you do it. It is very good for improving technique.

7. About bodyweight: It is recommended to be 1 kg heavier than required (no more). Approximately 1-2 days before the competition 1 kg will burn itself off. Remember that.

8. If you feel that the weights are too heavy today you can reduce them 3-4%, no more.

9. The height of the box/boxes for deficit deadlifts is 10 cm.

If you train equipped:

10. You have to use very tough (latest models) equip only if you are a National team member, in the other cases - there is no need. Tough equip will destroy your technique. I mean shirts and suits.

11. Wear your equip when you lift 75% or more. Also use equip if you feel that next weight is impossible to lift without equip.

12. You have to have two shirts: one shirt (less tight) for 75-90% and another (more tight) for 95%+ and for competitions as well. You will not lift 95-110% very often. So your second shirt will not stretch too much and it will be in good condition for the comp.

13. You have to change your competition shirt approximately every 2 years. If you feel that you have a bad advantage from your shirt - change it.

14. About Knee wraps:

50-60% -> none
70% -> light wraps
75-85% -> more tightly
90% -> very tightly
95%+ -> competition wrapping (help from an assistant is necessary!)

If you have more questions feel free to ask me.

Your coach Boris Sheiko.

Universal Topics / About my programs.
« on: May 22, 2014, 03:07:35 PM »
I am often asked what is the difference between my universal programs and my individual programs.

When I write an individual program for a specific lifter I pay attention to his/her technique. If I find mistakes in the execution of the lifts I plan specific preparatory exercises to correct these mistakes. Furthermore, I look at which muscles of the lifter are weak. I plan specific exercises and appropriate volume to increase the strength of these muscles. And the most important thing is that each individual athlete has different recovery abilities, living conditions, training conditions, working conditions, etc.

Each scheduled week is analyzed twice. The first time - I analyze the written program by volume and intensity in accordance with the previous weeks, the second time - for the follow up I analyze what actually transpired during that training week. If the lifter didn’t complete all of the week’s program, I take this into account when planning the following week. I can make either upwards or downwards corrections to the volume or intensity for example.

When I write individual programs there is always very close contact with the lifter. The coach and athlete discuss the number of competitions a year for one thing. Due to the fact that the athlete is not able to be in the highest condition throughout the year, we select 1-2 of the most important competitions for him/her. All the training is then planned with regard to the fact that twice a year the lifter must reach his/her peak strength.

Also of great importance is the gym equipment available to the lifter. I have to know if there are chains, bands, boards, boxes/blocks, types of machines, etc. These will affect the development of strength in the competition movements.

All of the above I do not have when writing universal programs for everyone. This means that my universal programs should be taken as a starting point and adding corrections for yourself due to your own capabilities and circumstances.

Your coach Boris Sheiko.

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