T Nation

Bulgarian Butcher Systems


Bulgarian olympic weightlifters are known to train 4-6 hours a day spread into several sessions,6 days a week.
The Chinese also train in similar manner.
Whats more,Bulgarian use only 6 exercises in their training routine-snatch,clean&jerk,power snatch,power clean,back squat and front squat.
Did anyone tried to copy this in their training and with what results?
I noticed to became stronger and technicaly better by doing olympic lifts more often and with more volume,but I am just a begginer at this.
Is it possible to train myself to tolerate such volumes(and high intensities they use)?


I basically do that minus the full lifts and with the addition of millitary presses or push-presses. It works wonders for strength levels.


Also,very important fact I forgot to mention is that Bulgarian lifters used mostly weights that were over 80% of their PRs in their training.
They usually train this intensive in BOTH morning and evening sessions.


I would also add these exercises---

arms-only Db swings
bent-over Db press
overhead squat


I will relay some information that I have read before.

Some countries weed out genetically superior specimens by early identificaition in elementary or secondary school, such as a test to find out their standing broad jump, 40-yard dash and total number of pullups they can perform.

The individuals who score very well on this test are the ones who have a propensity to succeed at Olympic lifting and can usually tolerate and progress with more training frequency than the genetically mediocre or inferior.

Other countries simply take a large sample of specimens and train them all in this manner. The genetically superior weed themselves out by being able to progress with this type of volume, frequency and intensity.

So, if you are genetically gifted in terms of recovery rate, by all means, follow this type of routine. However, if you are a mere mortal like most of us, you would probably benefit more from tapering down the frequency.


where would one find an example program...wouldnt mind reading more on this


I have found a picture of some Bulgarian heavyweight Olympic lifters at the beach...


Is there anybody who actually olympic lifted 2 times a day,5-6 days a week,intensively and over extended period of time?
What were results compared to usual 3-4 sessions a week?


Check out articles of Louie Simmons.I cant remember the title.


Go to Westside Barbell site.
Look at 2000 articles under title World powers.


Search the site. Do this first, there's plenty of information on olympic lifting. Seccond, search the internet for sites such as the 'Weightlifting Exchange'. They are much more specific resources for oly lifting.

You must realize that 80% on an olympic lift is not equivilent to high intensities. An 80% clean jerk would relate to something like 60% of a regular BB lift.

Training for olympic lifting teaches your body to become very very neurally effecient, moving large amounts of weight with much smaller cross sectional muscle size, as compared to other styles of lifting. But olympic lifting is not the end all and be all of training, and is ill advised for a beginner.

After lifting for about 2 years, I spent some serious time, training very similar to what you have outlined, 5-6 sessions a week, most of them 2 a days so that I could still have a full 24 hours of recovery. I did this for 2 months, maybe 3 in preparation for a onlympic competition.

Competition went well, continued training in this manner, but after 2 weeks or so post competition, even though I had really backed off volume, my body still said no. It took me maybe 4 months or so before I was even interested in the oly lifts again.

Build the volume up slowly, don't worry so much about the intensities of the oly lifts (just make sure they are out of the 95% or slightly below range), but do becareful of the intensities of any squat, or snatch/clean pull that you may be doing.


This guy is a troll.


I also understand that Bulgarian lifters ingest a lot of steroids and die relatively early.


I have only one question---can you clean&jerk your own bodyweight?


I do overhead squat, btw. It's damn hard. I can only get 135 for sets of 5.


do Bulgarians not do Bulgarian squats?


You have to take into account that these guys do nothing but train for their sport, not to mention that it take years of building not only work capacity but a basic foundation of strength to be able to train at this level. If you do a search I?m sure that you can find a detailed look at there training.

Although they do many hours a day they spread out there workouts and take super long breaks in between along with only doing singles and double for any lift over 80% of their PR?s. If I remember correctly they don?t do much more than a few sets per training sessions so it?s like theirs always fresh through the day.




interesting article


I trained and competed in the oly lifts for a year and a half. I noticed that it took about 6 months unitl I could lift 5 days a week (before only 3-4). Generally your legs can hack out the high frequency but the shoulders need more rest. This leads me to believe that the bulgarians/chinese do not add much pressing movements because of this although they frequently add squats.


It should be noted that the Bulgarian workouts totalling 6 hours per day while frequently working above 90% max have rest periods as long as 30 min between sets and the "max" figure is the training- e.g. unexcited- max as opposed to the competition max. Moreover these are genetically superior athletes who have been training with extreme consistancy and dedication since before puberty. Their training programs aren't really relevant to all but about .00001% of lifters worldwide.