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Russian Powerlifting Training

While no official Russian powerlifting program exists, several methods are frequently used by Russian powerlifters. The most common are known as Sheiko -- after Russian coach Boris Sheiko -- a series of high-volume programs that build your strength on the three competitive lifts. If you follow one of these programs, you might be performing more volume than you ever have in your life. These are not novice programs, so proceed with caution.

Program 29

Program 29 is often recommended as a starter program for those new to Sheiko-style training. This is often referred to as the preparatory period, as it allows you to grow accustomed to the loading patterns and volume. You will train the squat, bench press and deadlift during the week, but will never use more than 85 percent of your one-repetition maximum on each lift. Most of your training is in the 75 to 80 percent range. Assistance work such as flies, lunges, incline bench presses, dips and good-mornings are regularly performed. All of these exercises should be completed with good form and never done to muscular failure. When squatting, ensure that you break parallel on every repetition. Not only is this required for competition, but it also works your hips more. Hip strength is critical for both your squat and deadlift.

Program 30

Program 30 is still a preparatory program, but works on improving your tolerance for training volume by practicing the competitive lifts more often. This program will have you squatting twice during a single workout twice a week. Benching occurs in between squat sessions. Like 29, program 30 rarely has you exceed 80 percent of your one-repetition maximum, but the squat volume is greater. Improving your conditioning in the squat will improve your conditioning for the deadlift. This section also features deadlifting to the knees. This should always be done conventional deadlift style, never sumo. This is for extra work for the lower back.

CMS/MS Nine-Week Cycle

The CMS/MS Nine Week Cycle is an advanced training program geared toward preparing for competition. The volume and intensity of this training cycle require you to have conditioned yourself using previous training programs. This program features multiple lifts per day, so you will be training either the squat, bench press or deadlift twice per training session with another lift in between as a respite. Each lift is trained three times per week, with the exception of the bench press, which is trained four times. This program improves motor unit recruitment by training above the 90 percent range. Training with extremely high intensities also stimulates the production of both testosterone and growth hormone, which help you recover and build muscle.

Five-Week Competitive Cycle

The competitive cycle features the heaviest training, with lifts at 95 percent of your one-repetition maximum. This is to prepare you to exceed these numbers in competition. You never attempt a personal record in training. You train to get strong, but you display it on the platform. You are training each lift twice a week, with the bench press trained three times on average. At the end of the cycle, the intensity tapers to allow you to recover and peak for competition. The last week of training features no lifting in excess of 75 percent of your one-repetition maximum.


Consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. If you are new to this type of training, find a personal trainer or coach to work with. A trainer or coach can help you develop a safe program and guide you through proper technique and form. Always use a spotter when appropriate, such as with bench presses.

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About the Author

Eric Brown began writing professionally in 1990 and has been a strength and conditioning coach and exercise physiologist for more than 20 years. His published work has appeared in "Powerlifting USA," "Ironsport" and various peer-reviewed journals. Brown has a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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