T Nation

Bulgarian Leg Training

What do you think about this article?
I never thought about going heavy on step ups.

I did a six week cycle of the heavy step-ups based on this article about 18 months ago. One of the most grueling cycles I’ve ever done. I would recommend it. My vertical leap and sprint ability increased, and a good amount of both quad and Hamstring hypertrophy occurred. I have actually been planning another cycle in November after finishing up some CT inspired specialization workouts.

[quote]CherokeeGuns wrote:
I did a six week cycle of the heavy step-ups based on this article about 18 months ago. One of the most grueling cycles I’ve ever done. I would recommend it. My vertical leap and sprint ability increased, and a good amount of both quad and Hamstring hypertrophy occurred. I have actually been planning another cycle in November after finishing up some CT inspired specialization workouts. [/quote]

Did it improve your squat or deadlift?

Interesting. I would like to throw some in but I’m not sure what kind of weight I should be looking to use?

1/2 your squat?
1/4?
less?
more?

I wouldn’t feel to comfortable doing that to my max. Not to mention everyone in the area would probably run screaming from the free weight space.

He is incorrect about Taranenko not squatting. A quote from a 1989 interview with him (i think about a year after his best C&J),
www.dynamic-eleiko.com/sportivny/library/news/nv005.html:
“The back squat is the most important strength exercise. I usually squat every day, sometimes more than once-a-day. My best back squat is 380 kg (837 lbs). But this is with a two-second pause at the bottom.”

  • Taranenko is still the holder of the all-time best in the Clean & Jerk, 266kg - set in 1988!!. And that squat is insane. His records are unfortunately no longer official because
    of a later restructure in the weight classes.

Still, judging by both articles methinks squats + stepups = mighty strong legs! I will definitely be trying these. Thanks for this heads up on the article.

I pretty much gave up the back squat at the same time as I started the step-ups, so I have no results for back squat. I only do back squats as part of Davies’ “Bear” complex for systems work and fro jump squats. However, within six months of doing the six week cycle of step-ups my barbell hack squat went from 280 to 380 and my deadlift went from 260 to 420. I had never done olympic lifting prior to the Bulgarian leg training, but I do feel that my ability to explode from the hang position and core stability were helped by the step-ups. I’m a big fan of the heavy step-ups and am looking forward to starting another cycle.

[quote]Julius_Caesar wrote:
CherokeeGuns wrote:
I did a six week cycle of the heavy step-ups based on this article about 18 months ago. One of the most grueling cycles I’ve ever done. I would recommend it. My vertical leap and sprint ability increased, and a good amount of both quad and Hamstring hypertrophy occurred. I have actually been planning another cycle in November after finishing up some CT inspired specialization workouts.

Did it improve your squat or deadlift?

[/quote]

The first time I did them at the gym it freaked everybody out. I started doing them at home with a homemade box because doing them at my gym was a pain in the ass.

[quote]ScrambyEggs wrote:
Interesting. I would like to throw some in but I’m not sure what kind of weight I should be looking to use?

1/2 your squat?
1/4?
less?
more?

I wouldn’t feel to comfortable doing that to my max. Not to mention everyone in the area would probably run screaming from the free weight space.[/quote]

That was a great article.

I should try this after I give Danny John’s 8-6-4 style workouts a try for four weeks. Hmm, if it can add numbers to my squat and dead, I am all for trying.

[quote]CherokeeGuns wrote:
I pretty much gave up the back squat at the same time as I started the step-ups, so I have no results for back squat. I only do back squats as part of Davies’ “Bear” complex for systems work and fro jump squats. However, within six months of doing the six week cycle of step-ups my barbell hack squat went from 280 to 380 and my deadlift went from 260 to 420. I had never done olympic lifting prior to the Bulgarian leg training, but I do feel that my ability to explode from the hang position and core stability were helped by the step-ups. I’m a big fan of the heavy step-ups and am looking forward to starting another cycle.

Julius_Caesar wrote:
CherokeeGuns wrote:
I did a six week cycle of the heavy step-ups based on this article about 18 months ago. One of the most grueling cycles I’ve ever done. I would recommend it. My vertical leap and sprint ability increased, and a good amount of both quad and Hamstring hypertrophy occurred. I have actually been planning another cycle in November after finishing up some CT inspired specialization workouts.

[/quote]

Just out of curiousity, how much of a load did you use and how many sets to failure were you able to do on the last set? Also, how many days a week did you do it?

Here was my routine when I did a six week cycle sometime in Spring 2005. Unfortunately, I could not find my old training logs on the six week cycle, so I can’t remember exact weight used. Here was the gist of my workout:

I did the heavy step-ups twice per week. One day, I followed the basic template of the article. I did 3 reps per set, and then waited until my HR returned to 125 before beginning the next set. I would do anywhere from six to eight sets, and would quit when my HR took longer than 150 seconds minutes to return to 125.

I can’t remember the exact weight used, but I believe I started with a weight of around 130 and worked up to a weight of around 160-170 over the six weeks.

The second day of step-ups in a week were done as a 3 X 8 hypertrophy workout. Weight on that was usually pretty light because my legs were sore, around 80 pounds or so.

The box I used was a little too high, my leg was bent past parallel, which I believe limited the weight I could do and when I do the next set I will use a lower box. At the time that I did the cycle I had never done much unilateral work, so I experienced a ton of soreness in the stabilizing muscles (groin & gluteus medius mostly).

I am looking forward to seeing how much weight I can pull now, because I done a lot of unilateral work in the past year and I think my step-up weight will go up quite a bit from the last cylce.

Just one more question:

Upon doing these, I notice that my right side is stronger than my left side.
Should I do seperate weights for each side, or do them both for the weaker weight so that I use good form with them?

Supposedly this was done to death some years ago on another forum. It crops up about once every year or so somewhere.

I have heard that Bondarchuk has personally denied that he had anything to do with the article.

[quote]Julius_Caesar wrote:
Just one more question:

Upon doing these, I notice that my right side is stronger than my left side.
Should I do seperate weights for each side, or do them both for the weaker weight so that I use good form with them?[/quote]

Do the same weight on each leg, but since your left leg is weaker do one more set on your left until it catches up.