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Bulgarian Training for Power Lifting 6Month Progress


#1

so, I have been training Bulgarian style in the power lifting discipline (what I have always competed in) for 6 months, maxing on squat and bench 6 days a week and pulling 1 to 3 times a week and still including a little accessory work on most days. I thought I would post my results so far for anyone who is interested, BTW I am 41 years old and have been training close to twenty years (off and on), power lifting the last 8 years and was drug free at the time of this training cycle. I will start with the pro's of this training for me, most importantly, my â?ª#â??sâ?¬ went up. Fast. After years of slow minimal gains.

Most of the more dramatic gains came in the first three months but the PRs kept coming even in a chronically fatigued state. I was able to compete in and win (masters and open 220) a USPA meet and place in two non sanctioned push/pull meets during this time with no meet prep. So in six months I put about 170 pounds on my raw total,100lbs on my squat , 35lbs on bench and 35 on deads, I believe the dead lift gains were minimal due to squatting every day and those gains will show up after some time off.

Okay, the cons, I am a walking ball of pain ! My knees look like deformed cantaloupes, I can hardly get off the couch ,or out of the car, or off the damn toilet with out moaning in agony.Okay screaming in agony. My left shoulder is toast and my elbows have took out a restraining order on me. Also mentally I am way more compromised than usual , My mind is a lump of dough and doesn't work well or fast.

Emotionally I am quick to anger and likely to act on emotion rather than reason. My thoughts so far are of course that the pros out weigh the cons because my #s went up, duh! haha! I have decided to , no, my body and mind are forcing me to take some time off , I have a physically demanding job and I am am just breaking down in every way possible, So i am taking 7 days off , all the way off, from training that is.

I am curious to see where my #s are after sufficient rest and recuperation, PRs across the board I hope, then it's right back on the Bulgarian train, I'm sure I will make some tweaks in it , like a deload every 6 to 8 weeks, but no major changes in something that has worked so well.


#2

Do you have a log or anything of what a normal week would look like for you? sets/reps wise and so on. Thats quite a bit of gain for 6 months of training.


#3

sure, I work up to a 1 rep max everyday in squat and bench, usually sets and reps will look like 5,3,2,1,1,1,1 and 60,70,80,90,95,100,105? in percentages then I will do back off triples or doubles or singles depending on how I feel. I did this everyday exept sunday and made fast, substantial gains,especially since I am a seasoned competitive lifter I thought the days of gains coming like that were over! but don’t get me wrong it REALLY took a toll on my body, this kind of training is not for everybody.


#4

[quote]cparker wrote:
Do you have a log or anything of what a normal week would look like for you? sets/reps wise and so on. Thats quite a bit of gain for 6 months of training. [/quote]

I use the Bulgarian method for bench only for 10-12 weeks leading up to my meets and my method matches that of the OP, benching to a 1-rep max 6 days per week.

Here are my numbers from today;
paused bench 5x155, 5x205, 2x255, 1x305, 1x355, 1x385, 2x2 350

The OP was off on his percentages, I’m sure unintentionally, no way you are trying for 105% of your previous max especially after being on the program for more than a week or two. You use fractional plates and just try to add a pound or two each day on the bench and probably not more than 5 pounds on squat unless you are really feeling it on a given day.

Personally I couldn’t run the program for 6 months as the toll it would take on my body would stall my progress but I’m 47. Younger guys can likely run it successfully for much longer than me. Another caution is that your form must be spot on for any or all of the three lifts that you use this method on, if it isn’t you can count on getting injured.


#5

Do you take a back off week every 4th week? So, I have been training Bulgarian style for almost a year and had great gains. I found out that the method requires a back of week in which you continue to lift but at about 50% of your max. This kind of break always gives me a refreshing start to the next 3 weeks of crushing new daily maxes.

I’m 44 and I do a lot of mobility work to counter the harsh muscle demands this program requires. I take GABA a couple hours following a lifting and that also aids greatly in relaxing my body and getting me ready for sleep.

If you read about the bigger powerlifting stars using this program and the olympic lifters using the bulgarian style they also take a light week every 4th training week. It was nice to discover this phase training part of Bulgarian program. It’s great to just train right up to the meet but I try to make the week before the meet my light week.

Currently I compete in the USAPL and Raw United. Powerlifting is my passion and the Bulgarian program is my favorite so far. By the way, how often do you do deads? I am only doing them once a week but I may increase that. The added component of deads is very strenuous to this program. Oh yeah, I compete in the 220 lbs class raw as well.


#6

Grats on the gains.

Did you place much of an emphasis on recovery techniques??

I always found active recovery and more general movement helped when my body felt fatigued.


#7

Man that sounds pretty brutal. Congrats to my fellow old guys getting it done


#8

well I tried to auto regulate and therefor not require a back off week , but I always push to hard and I will have a back off week from now on, six monts is just too long with out a break. also my percentages were correct in my original post but I I would only go for 105% on when I felt really good and reasonably sure I could PR. About dead lift, I pull 1 to 3 times a week , its my worst lift , I actually out squat my dead by about 5 %.


#9

I’ve been doing the same lately, out-squatting my deadlift but I hope to change that soon. My two big lifts used to be even but since I ripped my right biceps tendon my dead has been in catch-up mode. I will change this.


#10

For anyone interested look up Damien Pezutti, he’s a really strong 181/198 who trains similarly to this. However recently he has dropped the daily maxing for a more volume oriented approach, from what I understand he will go back at some point though.

Also to the OP I suspect although you might “feel” a bit better with time off, your maxes will probably take a nosedive a bit at first dropping the high frequency training.


#11

actually I resumed training today after a week totally off from training and managed to PR my squat and bench, only by 5 pounds each but I feel good about it because as you said poundage’s can drop when the daily training stops and the groove ain’t greased.


#12

[quote]serial lifter wrote:
actually I resumed training today after a week totally off from training and managed to PR my squat and bench, only by 5 pounds each but I feel good about it because as you said poundage’s can drop when the daily training stops and the groove ain’t greased. [/quote]

well glad I’m wrong man. Good luck resuming the training


#13

I’m trying out daily maxing myself, I’ve been doing it for 6 weeks so far. I basically just took bits and pieces of info from John Broz, Matt Perryman, Damien Pezutti, and of course Ivan Abadjiev to figure out how to run things. I made a few adjustments along the way, but right now I’m squatting and benching 6 days a week and deadlifting twice. For a couple weeks I tried doing speed deadlifts with short breaks between sets but I found it to be more tiring than going to a near max, so that’s what I’m doing instead.

There’s a few other high level powerlifters out there using this method that I know of - Justin Caputo, Alastair Macnicol (I hear he’s taking a break from it), Tom Martin, and the Bulgarian national powerlifting team. Apparently Ivaylo Hristov was training twice a day right up to the 2013 IPF world championship. There’s different ways that the basic ideas have been adapted to powerlifting, I would be interested to know what the Bulgarians are doing because they probably have some of Abadjiev’s secret information that they don’t want the rest of us to know about.


#14

redlining it like this at 41 is pretty much a guaranteed recipe for injury. I would take a seasonal approach to this type of training and get on a more normal template for a couple months…


#15

Im really hoping we can keep this thread going. The idea of squatting daily really fascinates me and its something Ive been trying over the last 3 months with actual success. In the beginning, I would just throw in some pressing from time to time but I’m now starting to max on benching a few times a week as well.

Serial Lifter: a man at your age doing this and making gains is a damn inspiration, continue kicking ass


#16

[quote]Chicksan wrote:
Im really hoping we can keep this thread going. The idea of squatting daily really fascinates me and its something Ive been trying over the last 3 months with actual success. In the beginning, I would just throw in some pressing from time to time but I’m now starting to max on benching a few times a week as well.

Serial Lifter: a man at your age doing this and making gains is a damn inspiration, continue kicking ass[/quote]

I subscribe to this style of training as well, though as a beginner weightlifter there are so many things to work on that I can’t simply squat every day; I did do a few runs successfully when I only trained powerlifting. I still squat 4-6x a week.

In many ways, you must first train yourself to be able to train this way and you must have enough experience to know your body well and auto-regulate, but I absolutely love the philosophy of being able to train as hard and as often as possible on the things you want to improve.


#17

[quote]serial lifter wrote:
well I tried to auto regulate and therefor not require a back off week , but I always push to hard and I will have a back off week from now on, six monts is just too long with out a break. also my percentages were correct in my original post but I I would only go for 105% on when I felt really good and reasonably sure I could PR. About dead lift, I pull 1 to 3 times a week , its my worst lift , I actually out squat my dead by about 5 %.[/quote]

What body weight and what are your max numbers currently?


#18

I think taking age into consideration is always smart however tolerance and conditioning are the barometer for me. I’m a bit older than the OP and it seems that the biggest obstacle for me is will. That being said is the will to train through the harshness of this program is there for me and I love the Bulgarian style. John Broz was part of the inspiration for me to get into this lifting and I see it keeping me stronger and stronger for many years to come.


#19

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
they probably have some of Abadjiev’s secret information that they don’t want the rest of us to know about.[/quote]

Wasn’t about special “Secrets” the backbone of their success was due to athletes being selected in a nationwide program from as young as age 10 to be able to tolerate very heavy physical stress. Abadjiev then constantly worked on them building a monster work capacity throughout their teenage years.

It is also said they had the best pharmaceutical-grade gear behind the iron curtain.


#20

What you are saying is true, but at the same time there was more to his methods than just max out and do down sets. There’s a lot of his information out there, but no complete training system. There were different ways of organizing training that look fairly straightforward, but nobody really understands the logic behind everything. It’s like Westside, people complain that it doesn’t work for raw lifters but they never actually trained with Louie, they just copied some things they heard about and didn’t understand why they did what they did. There are powerlifters in Bulgaria right now maxing out daily, multiple sessions, etc., but I don’t see any of their programs anywhere. Dietmar Wolf’s current programs are state secrets of Norway, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same with the Bulgarians.