T Nation

Bulgarian Training Simplified

Hi CT,

Loving the BTS Program so far and was wondering if you could adapt it for say a 5/4/3 scheme for strength/hypertrophy? If so what sort of percentages would be optimal?

Many Thanks.

Absolutely not. I mean it has no common ground with 531 from a programming perspective.

*One is high frequency (each lift 5 days a week) the other is low frequency (each lift once a week)

*One uses one work set the other multiple sets

*One maxes out (ramps-up to a max weight for a given number of reps) on a prescribed number of reps weekly, the other one never really maxes out

*One trains all the main lifts at each workout, the other one focuses on one lift per session

*One waves intensity throughout the week and from week to week, the other only from week to week, within a week it stays the same

It’s not possible to mix both. And why would you want to do it? Because you need an emotional buy-in by doing something from Thibaudeau and Wendler at the same time?

Frankensteining programs never work,

ah sorry some confusion here, What i meant was instead of doing weeks of 3reps 2reps and 1rep maxes could you instead do weeks of 5rep 4rep and 3rep maxes at a lower intensity?

Oh yeah, that would work. And would provide more muscle mass gains.


I was thinking of trying this. I have been doing the best damn workouts for a couple of years and could use a change up (just to keep things interesting, not due to functionality). Couple of questions though.

Why Wednesdays off? Can I go M-F and take the weekends off? I can do all of the exercises relatively heavy except z squats. I am working out in my garage (due to the apocalypse) and have no rack, so everything is ground up. Should I just stick to 4x8 on the z squats and focus on the other progressions. Would this work, or should I just stick to Best Damn Workouts until the gyms open up? Any suggestions much appreciated.

@kez_starr, have you run this before? If so, how long were the first sessions of the week? Thank you

About 40-45 mins tops (most of that is rest at around 120-150 secs between sets) I usually try to stick to the 4 sets (ramping included) because I gas out pretty quickly. I did try doing some rest/pause mass work on the lower intensity days but it made me feel like shite.

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Hi CT,
Always looking for a challenge, so I thought I’d add a few reps to the lower intensity days and a cluster day to the higher intensity one.

I REALLY don’t like that idea. The program is set-up a certain way to allow the body to progress optimally.

A workout is not about to “challenge yourself” or proving that you can handle a lot of hard work; it’s about placing an stimulus on the body and then allowing adaptations to occur… without depleting neurological and physical ressources.

This is a mistake.

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Ah okay thanks coach. :+1:t4: obviously getting ahead of myself there. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hey Coach,

You could still follow this program if you only had access to a Trap Bar right? Probably not optimal but for instance:

Presses: Floor and OHP (from blocks)
Deadlifts: Deficit/RDL
Rows: Pendlay/Drag Rows

It’s a versatile piece of kit and just wondered what your take on this would be. :thinking:

You can use any exercises you want with the training structure.

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Hey Coach,

What would a deload on this program look like?

Would it be as simple as cutting the volume to a 3x3 and maybe not maxing out but instead staying at 85-90% for the Max Effort days?

Many thanks.

I would actually do one week of “bodybuilding” work with only low stress exercises. That’s what I do with the athletes I work with.

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Ah okay thanks, I was thinking in terms of neurotypes as I’m a 1A, I guess i could go slightly heavier with a bodybuilding week but not maximal.

Nice one coach

Honestly, it’s one week. Even with 1A and 1B athletes I use the same strategy.

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Thanks man! much appreciated!

Hi CT,

If i wanted to add another lift to this program, say OHP for example would that be advised and if so would it be as simple as deducting one set from each exercise in order to get the press in?

I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t tried it nor had anybody do it. Because of the intensity of this program (on the max out days) it is NOT just about doing less sets for the other exercises. While the lower intensity days would likely not be a huge problem, I fear that adding the OHP to the other exercises would be too much on the high intensity days.

Not to mention that ithere is a limit to the number of lifts you can train hard at the same time and progress optimally.

In my experience if you push hard on more than 3-4 lifts per cycle, you will have diminishing results. In fact, I’ve seen the best results when pushing 2-3 lifts hard at a time.

I fact, you get even better results if you focus on only one lift (I once took my snatch-grip high pull from 125 kg to 180 kg in a bit over 3 weeks by doing nothing but high pulls 5-6 days a week!) but that might lead to imbalances or boredom.

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Understood, and thanks. :ok_hand:t4: