T Nation




Bulgarian style for powerlifting and playing rugby as well... No time to rest in here.


{Hi all
Thought I'd re-introduce myself after a break from posting / logging training sessions; I've had a rough time with injuries (from playing rugby) and been forced to rest from squat/deadlift and rugby for quite some time due to one of them (small lower back fracture)as well as having some other, more minor, problems (pec strain, lat strain, etc.).

Oddly enough I didn't get any of these during my time with the Bulgarian method, although I guess contact sports are always a greater risk than lifting.
During time off posting I hit a 160kg raw bench (very pleased with this) and spent a great deal of time working on "core" stability/strength and motion. Many a front squat reverse lunge / cable pullthrough performed during rehab, and running progressed slowly etc. Last log was "Bulgarian and Beyond", so here's that Beyond bit.

ANYWAY - BACK NOW, AND TRAINING FULLY! Cleared to return to training / sport, and in the process of building strength and conditioning back to and beyond previous levels.

SQ ~190kg (improving quickly)
BE 150kg+, but hit 160kg in August (finishing Smolov cycle for bench, waiting to test again)
Deadlift 200kg? Not sure, but working with light-ish weights for now - did 8x2x160kg easily in a circuit w/ front squats recently
Front SQ ~145kg
Overhead Press 6x30kg dumbbells, seated (EDIT: Hit 30kg DBs x 10, standing, Feb.)
@ 210lbs BW

Also performing conditioning work with prowler, stationary bike, sprints/running, etc. Just getting back to rugby training, will alter programming when I start playing matches again.

Eating ~5000kcal/day, generally hitting around 400gC/300gP/245gF or so.

I am not using the Bulgarian method currently, but would consider it (possibly adapted slightly again) in the future, for peaking/meet prep. especially. I still train with relatively high frequency as usual though. Using Smolov base for bench atm, and 1/2/3 wave ladders for squats, though I will change when the bench cycle finishes. }

UPDATED STATS [Most RECENT in training]:-

Squat: 240kg (529lbs) for 1, 220kg x 2, and 210kg x 3
Bench: 160kg (353lbs) x 1 (recent meet PR)
Deadlift: 235kg (518lbs) x 1

All-Time PRs:-

Squat: 240kg (529lbs), 220kg x 2, and 210kg x 3
Bench: 160kg (353lbs) with no arch; 140kg x 5
Deadlift: 235kg (518lbs) x 1


Squat: w/u with 70kg, 110kg, 5x7x130kg
Hamstring Curls (single leg): 5,4,3,2, for each leg, then drop weight and 8,6,3,3,2,2

Later: Core work, medley - 20mins.

Sets of 7 felt easy today on squat. Decent day of lifting I think.



Bench: w/u with 60kg, 100kg, 7x5x117.5kg
Seated Chest-Supported Machine Row: 3x12

The Smolov bench sets today were quite tough, but easily within reach with some effort. I paused at least 1-2 reps out of each set of 5.

Later: Interval-type running session, mix of sprints and moderate running with walking rest - 40mins total



Squat: w/u with bar, 60kg, 100kg, 7 x 5 x 135kg
Hamstring Curl: 4 x 10
Ab Pulldowns: 5 x 10
Prowler Pushes: 8 x length of artificial grass track with 80kg (low handles)

Good session. Prowler work was quick but very tiring.



Bench: w/u with 60kg, 110kg, 10 x 3 x 125kg
Squat: w/u with 60kg, 110kg, 8 x 3 x 145kg (finished at 8 sets because the gym was closing and I was dripping with sweat from speeding through with < 2 min. rest between the earlier sets)

Another strong session. Plenty of volume with moderate weights; I felt pretty comfortable that I could get all the reps, but it took a serious amount of effort towards the end, on bench at least.



Rest / Core Circuit

Squat: w/u with 70kg, 120kg, 4 x 9 x 130kg
Abdominal Pulldowns: 5x10
Hamstring Curls: 4x10
Prowler Push: 8 x length of track (20m?) with 80kg, 1 min. between sets. Sprint pace.

Intensive effort cardio-wise, squats were challenging due to reps (weight felt ok).


Cycling (stationary bike) Intervals: 5min.+ continuous, then ? 10-20sec. sprints on high resistance, ~40sec. steady pace recovery x 10

Bench: w/u with 60kg, 100kg; 5x120kg, 3x130kg, 2x135kg, 2x2x130kg
Standing DB OHP: 12 x 22.5kg DBs, 10 x 25kg DBs, 6, 5, x 27.5kg DBs
Seated Machine Row: Built to 7 x 105kg, then 10x95kg, 10x85kg, 2x12x65kg w/ different grip
Lat Pulldown: 4x8, wide grip


Rest / Core Circuit



Squat: w/u with 70kg, 110kg; 5 x 7 x 140kg
Hamstring Curls: 12, 10, 10, 8 w/ moderate weight (to failure)
Core Work: 30mins

Squats today went well, but I struggled to keep going for 7 reps at the end - getting towards rest-pausing it by the final set. Weight felt comfortable though, and up 10kg from last week. I might go for another +10kg next week, but I’ll have to see how the next sessions go (5s then triples). Focus is still on getting quality reps rather than pushing to extremes, but we’ll see…



Stationary Bike 20sec. sprint / 40sec. rest intervals - 10mins

Bench: w/u, build to 2x130kg, 2x135kg, 2x140kg, 3x2x130kg, 2x6x110kg
Pulldown (wide grip): 4x10x82.5kg
Seated Machine Row: 4 sets, up to 6x105kg

Stationary Bike: sprint intervals again, ~6mins

DB Row: 12x35kg DBs, 2x10x35kg DBs (each arm)

Bench was in gym with a fat bar and annoyingly narrow bench, so struggled with stability a bit, but not too bad. Some nice doubles to get used to heavier weight after Smolov bench.


Squat: w/u 5x60kg, 3x110kg, 7 x 5 x 145kg
Hamstring Curls: 12, 10, 10, x 75kg (kept it light after SQs)
Ab Pulldowns: 3 sets

Squats were tough today. 7 sets can seem endless, but I think my form actually improved towards the end - smoother, better tension and stability. Struggled with bar placement on second set; damn thick bars, chromed with barely any knurling, really don’t help when I have to train at the gym without my Texas Power Bar. The work continues…



Squat: w/u 5x60kg, 3x110kg; 10 x 3 x 155kg

  • Some light cycling to loosen legs up a bit
  • Core Work, 20mins

Sets got easier as I went on, some explosive reps and generally improved form overall.



Standing DB OHP: 10 x 22.5kg DBs, 10, 8, 5, x 30kg DBs, 10, 8, x 27.5kg DBs
DB Row: 10 x 40kg DBs, 2 x 10 x 50kg DBs
Seated Machine Row: 7 x 105kg, 4 x 95kg, 8 x 95kg, 8 x 85kg, 8 x 75kg, 2 x 10 x 65kg
Close Grip Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 75kg
Prowler: 8 x length of artificial grass (~30 yards?) with 120kg, low handles

I’m sick at the moment, hopefully just a cold. I felt a bit off though, so set some PRs on dumbbell press and did an “extras” type session. I’m doing 30mins core work today then resting - I want to make sure I recover for my next Smolov week and bench testing.



Squat: w/u with bar, 5x60kg, 3x110kg; 3 x 9 x 140kg, 7 x 140kg, 2 x 140kg

I had to split the last set into 7 + 2 because I didn’t have much time left before the gym closed and couldn’t recover fast enough. I feel pretty bad today with this cold, and the high rep squats made me feel worse, but I got it done and the weight actually felt alright. I’ll get some core work in later if I can summon the energy, and probably rest again tomorrow ready for a heavy bench session at the start of the week alongside the next mountain of squat reps.
Bodyweight up a few pounds to ~213 / 96.6kg, but I think most of that is from eating more carbohydrate in the last few days - not a bad thing though, it might up my bench a bit!



Bench: w/u with 6x60kg, 5x100kg, 3x120kg; 1/2/3 x 130kg, 1/2/3 x 132.5kg, 1 x 135kg, back down to 120kg and - 4, 2, 3, 3, each with about a minute rest between (12 total reps at ~80%)

Core work: 25 mins

I feel a bit better today, getting over cold and training pretty well. It’s still up for dispute how much I was actually lifting, since the gym has fat bars which seem to be somewhere in excess of 20kg (but may not be, so I count them as 20). I am going to use the wave ladders on bench for a while to test out my upper range and assess Smolov bench progress, as I don’t generally have a spotter available to max at the moment (I might organise to train at home and test it out soon, but I don’t plan to compete for a few months yet anyway so it doesn’t matter too much). 120kg back offs flew up; the weight felt extremely light after the 135kg (which was also relatively comfortable).



Squat: w/u with 3x60kg, 3x100kg, 1x150kg, 2x160kg; 5 x 7 x 150kg
Leg Curls: 1x8, 2x10

This session was one of the hardest so far - so many reps it’s just crazy. Got it done, but left it at a few sets of leg curls afterwards due to fatigue.



Stationary Bike: w/u, then 20sec. / 40sec. (sprint / rest - slow pedalling) sprint intervals, x 8 (8 mins)
Bench: w/u with 8x60kg, 5x100kg, 3x120kg; 3 x 125kg, 2, 3, x 130kg, 3 x 132.5kg, 12 total x 120kg (5, 4, 3)
Seated Machine Rows: 2 x 10 x 85kg, 12 x 75kg, 2 x 10 x 65kg (different grips used, emphasizing different parts of upper back)

Session was ok in the end after feeling tired in the day. Bench reps were strong, especially with the 120kg (I could press this all day, far easier than it was a few weeks ago).



Squat: w/u 5x70kg, 3x110kg, 1x150kg; 7 x 5 x 155kg
Leg Curls: 2 x 20
Core Work

Squat session was the best of the training cycle so far, far more stable and solid under the weight, and technique in general was better too; it was, however, extremely tough. I got the first 3 sets done in <15 mins, but then the 4th took about 5-6 mins rest and the last 3 took over 30 mins, so over an hour of squats including warm ups, plus the hamstring curls and core stability work. Good day of lifting though.



Squat: w/u with 5x60kg, 3x100kg, 1x150kg; 10 x 3 x 165kg

Leave gym and rest.

Good session overall, felt solid. The skin on my shoulders was very sore after yesterday (where I place the bar), and hips tight at first, but I settled into it and lifted well. I’ll have a couple of days off squatting now, then prepare for a near-max single with some heavier, low volume work on Sun/Mon before said near-max single on Wed/Thu.



Stationary Bike: 20 sec. / 40 sec. (sprint / slow cycle) intervals, 10 mins
Bench: w/u with 8x60kg, 5x100kg, 3x120kg; 3 x 125kg, 2, 3, x 130kg, 1, 2, 3, x 132.5kg, 1 x 135kg, 11 total reps of 120kg (4, 4, 3)
Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 10-12
Prowler Pushes: 8 x (sprint pace) length of gym track with 80kg, ~45 sec. rest between sets



Rest today, other than a walk and 30 mins core work. Preparing for heavy singles later in the week.



Squat: w/u with 3x70kg, 2x110kg, 1x150kg; 1 x 170kg, 1 x 180kg, 2 x 1 x 190kg, + 3 x 150kg paused to cement technique at the end
Pulldown Abs: 3x8
Pullthroughs: 2x16, full stack

Took some decent singles today, pretty heavy weight and felt quite light. I had a slight tweak in my upper back beforehand, but that resolved itself. I was concerned that I might miss depth as I didn’t have a camera or spotter and haven’t done any singles for a while, but made sure of it with the two at 190kg. The only issue was I felt slightly faint under the bar, probably because I’m out of practice with heavier weights - it wasn’t a great strain though overall, so the load isn’t a problem.
I’ll have another sub-maximal test day later in the week before moving onto the next phase in my training.


Later on 15th

Sprint / jog / walk interval session, varied work/rest times and distances - 40 mins.


Another day of core work and rest, looking to hit some more heavy singles later in the week before progressing on to the next phase.