Press Bro Diaries

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
14.10.2019
I decided to finally put the money where my mouth is and try my very own pressing program which I've put together some while ago. I am reposting it here for the sake of completeness. Original thread where it sparked some controversy is here: Ladders question.

Pressing plan, Soviet style:
1) Numbers are total reps per arm of military press (or clean and press) for a given day
2) You train 3-5 time a week
3) If you use your 6 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 2,3, and 4
4) If you use your 8 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 3,4, and 5
5) If you use your 10 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 4,5, and 6

Day/Week 1. 2. 3. 4.
Mon 8 10 14 14
Tue 10 20 10 -
Wed - - 18 6
Thu 6 12 8 -
Fri 16 18 20 10
Day/Week 5. 6. 7. 8.
Mon 12 6 18 16
Tue 18 - 10 8
Wed - 14 20 6
Thu 20 - 8 -
Fri 10 10 14 10
Day/Week 9. 10. 11. 12.
Mon 20 14 6 14
Tue 18 10 8 -
Wed - 8 - 6
Thu 12 20 16 -
Fri 10 18 10 10


And here is the reasoning behind it:
I got the idea of the program by combining the wisdom from here: From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst
and here: The Origins of StrongFirst Programming: The Soviet System | StrongFirst.
I simply scaled down the published volume for swings by order of magnitude (2000 presses per arm per month, anyone?) to 200 per four weeks, which averages at 50 reps per week and then used the recommended rep ranges of 1/3 - 2/3 of your 70 - 80 % 1RM. That's it.

I am gonna use 32 kg bell as 8RM weight.

W1D1
press/arm 2,2,4
oas/arm 3x10

After two weeks of nonstop swinging I am doing sets of 10 quite comfortably without being overly out of breath. Nice.
 
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Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
14.10.2019
I decided to finally put the money where my mouth is and try my very own pressing program which I've put together some while ago. I am reposting it here for the sake of completeness. Original thread where it sparked some controversy is here: Ladders question.

Pressing plan, Soviet style:
1) Numbers are total reps per arm of military press (or clean and press) for a given day
2) You train 3-5 time a week
3) If you use your 6 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 2,3, and 4
4) If you use your 8 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 3,4, and 5
5) If you use your 10 RM bell, attain the total daily reps by combination of sets of 4,5, and 6

Day/Week 1. 2. 3. 4.
Mon 8 10 14 14
Tue 10 20 10 -
Wed - - 18 6
Thu 6 12 8 -
Fri 16 18 20 10
Day/Week 5. 6. 7. 8.
Mon 12 6 18 16
Tue 18 - 10 8
Wed - 14 20 6
Thu 20 - 8 -
Fri 10 10 14 10
Day/Week 9. 10. 11. 12.
Mon 20 14 6 14
Tue 18 10 8 -
Wed - 8 - 6
Thu 12 20 16 -
Fri 10 18 10 10


And here is the reasoning behind it:
I got the idea of the program by combining the wisdom from here: From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst
and here: The Origins of StrongFirst Programming: The Soviet System | StrongFirst.
I simply scaled down the published volume for swings by order of magnitude (2000 presses per arm per month, anyone?) to 200 per four weeks, which averages at 50 reps per week and then used the recommended rep ranges of 1/3 - 2/3 of your 70 - 80 % 1RM. That's it.

I am gonna use 32 kg bell as 8RM weight.

W1D1
press/arm 2,2,4
oas/arm 3x10

After two weeks of nonstop swinging I am doing sets of 10 quite comfortably without being overly out of breath. Nice.
I like that. Interesting. It is, again, something that I have tried to plan myself for a while. I can't but help asking more questions.

Vlasov mentions increasing volume as they key. Yet your monthly volume stays constant. Do you think increasing the volume should take longer? How gradual do you think it should be? Would you increase the volume rather by load instead of repetitions?

One aspect of increasing the waviness could be the training frequency during individual days. Train once one day, twice another. I have always understood the Soviet weightlifters to train twice a day or so. Your thoughts?

One more aspect for maximum waviness would of course be the load. I understand it should be separate from the number of repetitions. Do I get you right that you're going to only use a certain kettlebell for the whole cycle instead of waving the load?

In my own thoughts the load makes things a bit too complicated, so that I haven't ever finished such a plan. I understand Prilepin has a handy chart that one could use for the range of sets and reps. Do 50% at 70-80% and pick the reps and sets from the chart. But how would one plan the rest, the 50% outside that range?
 

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
A lot of good questions!

Vlasov mentions increasing volume as they key. Yet your monthly volume stays constant. Do you think increasing the volume should take longer? How gradual do you think it should be? Would you increase the volume rather by load instead of repetitions?
Yeah, the citation is not exactly scientific quoting or such but rather general ideology I believe. One could (1) keep the intensity (ie load) the same and slowly increase volume by means of increasing number of sets and/or reps, and then (but I am not sure exactly when) bump up the intensity and repeat the process, or (2) keep the intensity AND volume the same for some while, again not sure for how long and then bump up the intensity. Regardless, the intensity must be increased at some point.

What I've put together is an example of (2).

One aspect of increasing the waviness could be the training frequency during individual days. Train once one day, twice another. I have always understood the Soviet weightlifters to train twice a day or so. Your thoughts?
I think bulgarians trained like they were at 9-5 job, soviets may have been quite similar.
I think the most ideal from point of view of neural adaptations would be to divide the daily volume into a lot of mini session, GTG style,
like your name was Penchev, you live in Sofia and it's 1987, hahaha.

One more aspect for maximum waviness would of course be the load. I understand it should be separate from the number of repetitions. Do I get you right that you're going to only use a certain kettlebell for the whole cycle instead of waving the load?
Exactement!

In my own thoughts the load makes things a bit too complicated, so that I haven't ever finished such a plan. I understand Prilepin has a handy chart that one could use for the range of sets and reps. Do 50% at 70-80% and pick the reps and sets from the chart. But how would one plan the rest, the 50% outside that range?
The tricky of the trickies. Nothing comes immediately in my mind about how to plan those. I think that would need a deep dive into booksof Roman, Zatsiorsky, and other comrades.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
A lot of good questions!



Yeah, the citation is not exactly scientific quoting or such but rather general ideology I believe. One could (1) keep the intensity (ie load) the same and slowly increase volume by means of increasing number of sets and/or reps, and then (but I am not sure exactly when) bump up the intensity and repeat the process, or (2) keep the intensity AND volume the same for some while, again not sure for how long and then bump up the intensity. Regardless, the intensity must be increased at some point.

What I've put together is an example of (2).



I think bulgarians trained like they were at 9-5 job, soviets may have been quite similar.
I think the most ideal from point of view of neural adaptations would be to divide the daily volume into a lot of mini session, GTG style,
like your name was Penchev, you live in Sofia and it's 1987, hahaha.



Exactement!



The tricky of the trickies. Nothing comes immediately in my mind about how to plan those. I think that would need a deep dive into booksof Roman, Zatsiorsky, and other comrades.
I don't believe the increase in volume Vlasov mentioned, or not, was done by the repetitions, but by the load. I, like many, believe there is a sweet spot in terms of repetitions. Like on the Prilepin Chart. But maybe some individuals could do more reps, in that case I believe the increase was very gradual and there may have been more light weeks, more waviness.

I think training twice or more a day could be the easiest to approach by doing different lifts at different times. But I understand some modern Russian powerlifting programs split even the same lift during the same day. Or in the same session. I too believe the frequent GTG to be the best approach skillwise. That said, lots of great records have been made with a lift trained once a week. And I feel GTG is most suitable for a certain intensity range - perhaps exactly the 70-80% range - and that sets outside of the range should be done in a different manner. To take it even further, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to do 50%, the 70-80% range, with GTG and then do warm-ups with the whole range to get up to >80% and handle the 50% of lifts outside of 70-80% that way.

I would imagine that there would be some solid science regarding the more complicated load patterns. The soviets were weightlifters and they used the barbell with incremental loading. If anything, Pavel has had to make things more simple for the kettlebell.
 

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
I don't believe the increase in volume Vlasov mentioned, or not, was done by the repetitions, but by the load. I, like many, believe there is a sweet spot in terms of repetitions. Like on the Prilepin Chart. But maybe some individuals could do more reps, in that case I believe the increase was very gradual and there may have been more light weeks, more waviness.
Surely not, the Party would most likely send him to Gulag if he even only proposed to do so. In re Prilepin: I remember reading that those rep ranges and sets are for Olympic lifts, so I am not sure whether these are also set in stone for powerlifts, or, in general, grinds.


And I feel GTG is most suitable for a certain intensity range - perhaps exactly the 70-80% range - and that sets outside of the range should be done in a different manner. To take it even further, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to do 50%, the 70-80% range, with GTG and then do warm-ups with the whole range to get up to >80% and handle the 50% of lifts outside of 70-80% that way.
Sounds like good idea to me.

I would imagine that there would be some solid science regarding the more complicated load patterns. The soviets were weightlifters and they used the barbell with incremental loading. If anything, Pavel has had to make things more simple for the kettlebell.
Yeah, and then I came and simplified the plan that was already simple enough. Right up my alley!
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Surely not, the Party would most likely send him to Gulag if he even only proposed to do so. In re Prilepin: I remember reading that those rep ranges and sets are for Olympic lifts, so I am not sure whether these are also set in stone for powerlifts, or, in general, grinds.




Sounds like good idea to me.



Yeah, and then I came and simplified the plan that was already simple enough. Right up my alley!
Regarding the first point, there actually is an argument that the heroes of the soviet weightlifting who were used as mascots for the training actually didn't do the training that was attributed to them. Alekseyev was famous for training alone and in odd manners. If I remember right Rigert was the same. The rest? Though wasn't Alekseyev also a successful coach? Still, I can't remember ever finding any tidbits about his training, apart from his amusing comment on pull-ups.

I don't know how old the Prilepin Chart is, whether the Press is still taken into account in it. But the squat is a staple in weightlifting, and it wouldn't surprise me if the chart was used for it as well. But I understand your separation of ballistics and grinds and it is worth a thought. I have seen one study where powerlifters trained by the chart for a short time and it was found that it was more effective for lower body exercises than the bench. Pavel has said that one has to press a lot. I have also seen in some eastern strength sports literature, that the olympic lifts would have mostly been done for two repetitions while the squat was done for 2-4 repetitions. The chart clearly has ranges for quite low intensities with long sets, which makes me think it was used more widely, as I can't ever remember seeing anyone snatch for six reps.

I'm eager to see how your plan works out for you! You did do some tests before starting the program, yes? What were they and the results?
 

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
Regarding the first point, there actually is an argument that the heroes of the soviet weightlifting who were used as mascots for the training actually didn't do the training that was attributed to them. Alekseyev was famous for training alone and in odd manners. If I remember right Rigert was the same. The rest? Though wasn't Alekseyev also a successful coach? Still, I can't remember ever finding any tidbits about his training, apart from his amusing comment on pull-ups.
Yep, these two guys excelled not because but despite of the soviet system.

I'm eager to see how your plan works out for you! You did do some tests before starting the program, yes? What were they and the results?
Me too! Yep I did press tests with 32 and 40.
For 32 I got 8 clean and paused reps, with 40 it was 3. I've grown weaker over the last months.

The thing is, I'll surely get stronger over next 12 weeks simply because I'll train but I'll not be able to say whether
it's been because of the magical soviet numbers. Maybe 5x5 three days a week were more effective, or maybe 2x5
everyday. Who knows.
 

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
Mental sweat aside

One thing that I did not mention is how to divide the total daily volume into sets of, in my case, 3,4, or 5 reps. As usually, it is the best to leave it to Miss Fortune. I'll show how I do it e.g. for tomorrow. So the task is how to divide total of 16 reps into sets of 3,4, or 5 reps.

The first step is to establish a possible number of sets. For our example is maximal number of sets 5,
i.e. 3,3,3,3,4, or any permutation. Minimal number of sets is 4. So lets assign 4 and 5, to numbers 1,2,3,
and 4,5,6, respectively, on dice. I got 3, meaning 4 sets.

Now, one can throw and wait for 3,4, or 5 and either reject or accept the result depending whether it fits already obtained number and their difference to total number of reps. After doing so I got 5,4,3,4. And this I shall do tomorrow.

On the other hand, if I got 5 sets with only two possible reps (3 or 4) I'd assign, e.g. 3 to 1,2,3 and 4 to 4,5,6, respectively, on dice in order to shorten the dice play time.
 
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Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
I am away from home, and kettlebells, from Monday through Thursday. Fortunately,
I was able to practice on Monday morning and will also do on Thursday evening, meaning I'll only
lose one training day, i.e. today.

W2D1
press/arm 3,4,3
farmer carries 32+40 6x40m

W2D2
no access to KBs today
Did 4x5 one arm push ups instead
with hands elevated about 1 m high (commode)
A LOT of walking
 

Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
W2D4
Busy day, trained again in the evening.
press/arm 4,4,5,5

Note: Two weeks gone. It is really interesting, but this approach
does not feel like training but rather play. Good for me.
I'd love to be able to press 40 kg bell six times with both hands after
those 12 weeks so I could run this programme again with 40 kg bell
as my 6 RM but that's probably only wishful thinking.
 
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Mirek

Level 7 Valued Member
Weekend was GTG-ing of farmers 40+32, did not bother counting
but must have been more than 10 times 40 m on both days.

W4D1
press/arm 3,5,3,3

One advantage of this type of programming seems to be that
I am never sore or feel any muscle tiredness day after. I think I'll
do some in-between testing after I'll have finished week 6.
 
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