Six Weeks to Strong: The SF 930 Plan

Stronger Pull-Ups from SF 930 Program
This program will build strength into your weighted pull-up.

At StrongFirst, we never rest. We constantly research, refine, experiment. Today we will give you a very powerful strength plan based on the most cutting-edge Russian research. It was tested with great success by Level II SFG certified instructors supervised by Master SFG Fabio Zonin.

Results of this Plan (Press and Pull-up)

Results of Plan SF 930Who Is Eligible

To qualify for plan SF 930 you need:

  1. Excellent double kettlebell military press technique
  2. A recent 1-3RM for the baseline
  3. The ability to perform at least 10 strict pull-ups (tactical, parallel grip, or ring)

[Unconventional] Reps and Rest Duration

The plan uses high—by StrongFirst standards—reps of 8-12 per set and unheard of rest periods between them of 8-10 minutes. It will build a lot of strength into your weighted pull-up and kettlebell military press in just six weeks. (We have tested it with double front squats as well, but the gains were not as impressive, so train your lower body in a manner of your choice.)

Weight Used

For the next six weeks you will be training with your current 8-12RM in both exercises.

The Weekly Schedule

StrongFirst Strength ProgramDo your leg work whenever you think appropriate, e.g. on Saturdays only or on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

As you can see, you will have one heavy session and two light sessions per week for both the pull-up and the press. “Light” refers to lower volume, not a decreased weight or effort.

Perfect Reps Required

All sets, on heavy and light days, are done close to RM—as many perfect reps as you can do without failing or compromising your technique. There are no rep goals to meet and no formal progression; just do as many perfect reps as you can and record them. Do not be surprised that in one session your reps go down as you fatigue and in another suddenly go up halfway through.

Alternate Sets

Alternate sets of both exercises. E.g. if your day calls for 5 sets of presses and 2 sets of pull-ups, do:

Press and Pull-up Sets

The Rest Periods

Rest for 8-10 minutes between sets of the heavy day exercise! In the above example, rest for 8-10 minutes between each set of presses. Sandwich pull-ups into these 8-10 minutes.

StrongFirst Women Pull-Ups
Do perfect reps without failing or compromising your technique.

These ultra-long rests are a critical component of the program. SF 930 is based on the research and guidelines by Prof. Victor Selouyanov. To learn more, refer to last year’s blog, How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part I. The logic remains the same, only the weights change to target the fast fibers.

Curiously, our subjects saw only minimal body composition changes—a little muscle gain, a little fat loss—but their strength went through the roof. (If mass is your priority, your new strength will set you up for success in your next hypertrophy cycle. May I suggest the Total Tension Complex.)

The first minute after each set do “fast and loose” drills: shake the muscles you just worked, swing your limbs, shadow box, etc. to reduce the congestion as quickly as possible! This applies to all exercises, heavy and light, and is another key to the success of this plan. After the first minute, you may sit down and rest passively.

The Plan in Detail

After whatever warm-up or lack of thereof that you are accustomed to, perform the following number of sets of presses and pull-ups:

StrongFirst SF 930 Details

Changes in Weeks 7 and 8

In weeks 7 and 8, deload and max:

SF 930 Deload WeeksUse 5-6RM weights in all ladders both weeks. Perform the exercises in a slow circuit: MP x 1, PU x 1; MP x 2, PU x 2, etc. There is no need to time your rest periods, but make a point of getting more rest than you think you need.

Test

To perform the 1-3RM test, first do whatever warm-up or lack of thereof that you are accustomed to. Then, do three reps with the weight you used in your first six weeks of training. Rest for 5 minutes, and do two reps with the weight you laddered in the last two weeks. Rest for 5 minutes, and do a single with your 1-3RM.

Depending on the difficulty of that single and the kettlebell selection available, decide whether you are going to do more reps with your old 1-3RM or attempt a new PR with a heavier kettlebell. Test after 8-10 minutes of rest (timed).

Post Your Results

Do not forget to post your results in the comments.

Power to you!

StrongFirst pull-up

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Pavel Tsatsouline
CEO
Pavel Tsatsouline is the Chairman of StrongFirst, Inc.

44 thoughts on “Six Weeks to Strong: The SF 930 Plan

  • Can you also do this program with single kettlebells ? The reason I am asking is because where I am right now, I only have single kettlebells.

  • My Results of the Program, all Double Bell Work.

    Used 24kg bells first 6 weeks
    Lettered 28 kg bells
    Maxed with 32kg bells

    Before:
    Press: 32kg x3
    Pull-Up: 12kg x2

    AFTER:
    Press 32kgx5
    Pull-Up: 16kg x 3 OR 20kgx1!

    My Pull-Up Strength shot up and I was surprised how easy it was to do my pull-ups!
    My Press strength almost doubled with a pair of 32kg bells from 3 to 5.

    I will come back and do this program again with the 28kg bells now that my strength has improved!

    As an SFG Instructor, I will continue to refine and improve my skill in the double press and strict pull-up.

    I am happy with the results and next up for me is the Total Tension Complex with my improved strength and skill.

    I Highly recommend this excellent strength improving program by Pavel!

  • My results:
    Military Press 1h:
    Before 36 kg x 1
    After 40 kg x 1

    Military Press 2h
    Before 2x28kg x 3
    After 2×32 x 3

    Pull Up
    Before 40kg x 1 It was a 3-4 months ago when I last checked it
    After Almost 48 kg and my weight increased 10 lb from last time my PR

    I was a little exhausted at Pull ups I will rest and check it again more freshly

  • Excellent Program for Strength and Confidence Booster!

    I started with a 6 rep max of 24kg bells on military presses and a pull up body weight max of 6 reps.
    I used the 24 kgs bells for my training and my Body weight of 207 pounds for
    Pull ups.

    My end results were a 1 rep max military press of the 32 kilo bells and pull ups of 3 reps with and added 16 kg for a 3 solid reps!

    When I first started the 24kg bells were a challenge now they are my normal training weight and I will continue to train and become stronger. Returning to this program after completing my SFG 1 in August, to further improve my strength and progress!

  • Unlike the training, but I love the effects. VERY powerfull programm!
    I worked with double 24’s & 28’s for military press & 24 bell for pull.
    Deload week: 1H presses with 36kg & pulls with “beast”.
    I gained a little mass (now 87kg), so it could increased some effects. My results after six 6 weeks:
    Befor:
    Press (1H): 42kg x 1 on both hands
    Pull up: 64kg x 1
    24kg x 12
    After:
    Press (1H): 44kg x 2 right, 44kg x 1 left hand
    Pull up: 72kg x 1 (also did 76kg’s with poor techinque)
    32kg x 11

  • Results:

    completed the program with 24kg bells for the presses, starting with an 8RM.
    Did bodyweight pull ups at a bodyweight of 200 lb, starting with 10 as my rep max.

    did KB or BB FSQ’s on leg days, moving from 4 x 8 to 4 x 6 to 5 x 3 weeks 1,2,3 and repeating at slightly higher load weeks 4,5,6

    best set performance of presses within the 6 weeks was 11, which I hit 3 times on the Wednesday session weeks 4, 5 & 6. I attempted a 12th rep on week 6, but failed on my L arm.
    best set performance on pull ups during the 6 weeks was 14 in session 1, week 5. this was a lifetime rep max for me.
    I hit 13 reps 4 times, which was previously my best effort.

    completed weeks 7 & 8 with 28kilo bells for presses
    attempted 24 kg for pull ups, but switched to 20kg after session 1, week 7

    Pre testing numbers:
    press: 28kg x 4
    pull up: 28kg x 1

    post test:
    Press: 32kg x 2 (previous lifetime best, but prior to program was unable to hit 1 rep at this weight)
    Pull up: 32kg x 2

    I am very pleased with the outcome.

    will likely decide between a return trip to total tension complex with 28kg (previously completed with 24 kg) or ROP with 28kg in the coming weeks.

    Thanks so much for the program.

  • OK. Silly question here…

    I’ll be at the end of week 6 on Thursday and am planning for week 7.
    I am unsure of my 5-6 rep maxes after the 6 weeks

    I tested at 28 kg for 4 presses prior to program, although earlier this year I was at 6 for double 28’s. I lost a fair amount of strength throughout the training and completion of an endurance event this summer…
    Can I safely assume that I should choose the 28’s for week 7 presses?
    As for the pull ups, prior to starting the program, i had done 4 reps at a 24 kg bell.

    Any advice on appropriate loading appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Mark

  • Thank You, Pavel, for the Program. Everything seems clear.
    But what best Lower Body work could be used with this program?
    E.g. DL 2×5 or 5-3-2 from Easy Strength?
    1ASW from “S & S” ?
    Pistols?
    Or, Long Rest Program, perhaps?
    Are these all apropriate choices and which one is better?

  • Hello,

    another question: How long is the rest on the light day Wednesday?

    8-10min between every exercise? Or sandwich the second exercise in the 8-10min rest?

    Thanks.

  • With limited access to gear at the moment can this program be modified for single arm presses? Unfortunately I don’t have two bells at each weight right now. Thanks!

  • Pavel,
    Je considère faire ce program. Que recommanderiez-vous pour remplacer les SQs? Est-ce que je pourrai me construire un programme de Zercher Squats avec PLAN STRONG 70 pour aller avec celui-ci? <Merci beaucoup!

    Louka

  • Power to comrades! Soon myself is going to join the happy SFG family 🙂

    Pavel, can you please clarify one thing, since you moved this topic here. I’ve read your books (Power to the People, Simple and Sinister and more) and I’m still not sure about your take on warming up. I understand that.in your opinion it is not a necessity. So one could start a practice without any preparation, right? I’m not concern aout muscles or tendons etc. but from your research or expierience isn’t that difficult for one’s heart?

    Thank you!

  • I seldom post but I got to say

    Troy, What is your point? If you don’t like Pavel, this site, or the articles ect, then don’t come here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not agreeing with an article or voicing your opinion, but that is clearly not what you are doing. You are very transparent.

    Dan

  • Please take a leaf from the book of Pavel, no need to respond to our friend Troy. Unless of course you agree. Troy is entitled to his opinion. I think people like Troy enjoy a feisty banter. Best not to add fuel to the fire if you disagree. He’ll get bored eventually. Now to totally go against my own advice- Troy, thanks for a different perspective, best wishes to you, train hard;)

  • Troy, it’s okay. Don’t be scared. Don’t cry, just pick up a kettle bell sometime to develop some real toughness… Don’t understand the hate… Pavel is doing something great here. I just turned 50 and in the best shape of my life. I compete with guys half my age and look like I am in my 30’s. I agree everything works when done correctly, and that kettle bells are just tools, but I tell you as a rehab therapist, these tools will build a solid foundation, especially core and glute strength. It will also promote fat loss and muscle gain. Not only that, so easy to do at home-No gym needed…

  • Pavel, how do you determine kettle bell weight to use? And how do you alternate the light days with military presses and pull ups? When do you go up in weight?

    Thanks, John

    • John, a bell you can press 8-12 times strictly if you go out (or even 6-12).

      Please look at the weekly schedule: there is one heavy press day, one heavy pullup day, and two light days of each.

      • Hi Pavel,
        What RM for the pull up? Is it 8-12 as well. I can do 50lbs for 3-4 rep max. So maybe 30 lbs for 8-12, so would I use 30lbs for pull ups? Thanks

          • Thanks! I am up to 35 lbs already on Turkish Get Ups and shooting for 70 lbs….. Man, your protocols are great and the Sinister Book is Awesome…Can’t wait to attend the course in Emeryville next month..

  • Sheesh! you have a resident Tro(y)ll.

    Looks eminently reasonable, for those with access to multiple ‘bells for progression. I may try a modified version sometime. But I’m sticking to my current ‘thing’ for a while.

  • there is no great knowledeg to share:
    Be consistent, stick to the basics, find out what works for you and what you like and the rest will follow.
    everything works: high reps, low reps, kettlebells, dumbbells, calisthenics, barbells, stones, sandbags…
    but pavel is complicating, manipulating, deceiving and confusing people with lots of useles resources, studys, programms and many, many false allegations.
    a very simple topic, working out or exercising as you like to call it, suddenly needs someone who first must confirm and approve every of your single moves. “May I?” Should never be asked.
    you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy. pavel himself is porbably not following any programm at all.
    but he likes to have his army behind him. following every single word he says.
    for me personally, thats just very amusing, even though i pity all of you.

    • Everything works for what?
      Are being vague on purpose? The purpose of Strongfirst is to get strong first. So these programs are geared for strength. They are not intended to train marathoners or bodybuilders directly, but rather to give them a base to work from.
      Stop hating, or go pick on something that is really hurting people.

    • “no great knowledge to share” you’re got that right Troy.

      I hope you’ve had fun but I think your weak point has been made. you don’t agree with Pavel and his minions. Thats fine. I think your time trolling here is done, well I’m done with you anyway, I’m sure I’m not alone.
      Go back to doing whatever it is that makes you happy (I really hope its not hating on other peoples work) and leave us to what makes us happy. Oh and save your pity for yourself, thank you but its not need here.

    • Troy,
      I must admit I don’t usually respond to haters who are not familiar with when to use capital letters, but in your case I’ll make an exception.

      I am not in any way, shape or form associated with Strong First, but I like and respect Pavel and I enjoy the Strong First website. I’ve learned a great deal from Pavel in the last 15 years and the Strong First website is a good source of useful information.

      While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, regardless of how wrong or misinformed it is, I don’t get why you would bother wasting your time offering an opinion that nobody will learn from or care about.

      I’m probably wasting my time in hopes that you may be motivated to communicate better, learn about the proper usage of grammar and maybe even see that Pavel actually has something to offer that even someone of your intelligence can find useful.

      Take care.

  • Pavel,

    I admire the willingness to “stick it out there” and advance this field of study. What I truly admire about you is the grace and honor in which you carry yourself. I’ve been here since 2002 and find your class second to none. As with all areas, there are the truly gutless and weak who hide behind a keyboard and hurl negative information without climbing into the area themselves. You never lower yourself to that type of weak and spineless behavior. For that I sincerely applaud your efforts. Not sure if this program fits my goals at the moment but I truly appreciate your efforts at the tip of the spear rather than those holed up in their parents basement playing video games and hurling negativity from behind the protection of a screen. Bravo, Sir!! Much respect!

    • “the truly gutless and weak who hide behind a keyboard and hurl negative information without climbing into the area themselves”
      Thats what i accuse pavel of.
      thank you for finding the words for me! i guess you were not behind a keyboard as you typed this…
      but seriously, everything that pavel writes nowadays is just hilarious. “russian research blabla” as if the russians were so good at lifting and other sports beacause of any kind of programm.
      watch the “bigger,faster,stronger” movie or read some books about this topic. than you will know what was tea real reason for their success.
      pavel knows it too, but he does not want to tell, for obvious reasons…
      btw: you can accuse me as much as you want, i´m not mad at you.
      i´m just mad at the fact, that people like tsatsouline spread their poison all around.

      • Troy the only one speading poison is you buddy.

        How is your training coming along?
        What are you doing to improve your strength?
        If the Strongfist community has is so wrong, Please proide us with some direction?

        Put your money where your mouth is so to speak?
        Share this knoweldge you appear to have.

  • there is only one word, to describe this entry, but then i guess my post will be deleted.
    anyway, the sheeps will love it and someone will ask “may i substitute this with that”…
    cults and their leaders are so stupid…
    and yes pavel, pseudo-ex-spetznanz-master of anything, i am trying to be polite. otherwise i would have choosen other words…

    • Thanks for the reply.

      I have thought of the same “light, medium, heavy” approach as in ETK RoP.

      I’m just unsure wether this is “state of the art” / effective, because of the “longer rest” discussions lately.

      Best regards

  • Hello Sir,

    first of all thank you very much for this program!

    I have one question: Is it possible to incorporate swings? Or would that be too much?

    Best regards

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