T Nation

Modified Bulgarian System/Am I Just Weak?


Hi, so I’ve been playing around with low and high frequency programs for a while now and I’ve been on this program https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/bulgarian-training-simplified for roughly 7 weeks total and two things have crossed my mind.

  1. I’m definitely a novice lifter and although the program calls for variations of lifts throughout the week and then the competition lifts at the end of week… I feel like I’m not experienced (or strong) enough to validate the use of variations. Would I be better off just doing the basic lifts all week long for 12 weeks? In which case, I’m now testing rep maxes twice a week relatively close to each other. I’m not suffering from any pain, just minor discomfort here and there or as Broz describes it, “floating pain”.

  2. I feel like I’m one of those people that high frequency works for really well and so I’d like to keep doing it… until it just stops working and although CT mentions a few times across his different works that different stimuli provides greater long term gains… every time I come off a strength program… and say do some bodybuilding work for 3-4 weeks… I come back weaker… and not just like… 5lbs here and there but sometimes like a solid 25lbs… am I not training correctly during that off time? I’d rather do some type of deload from Wendler’s 5/3/1 book and just make sure I’m doing my big 3 year around.

Hope everything was relatively clear to understand, I look forward to your responses. Thank you.


Obviously not CT but I’ve been playing around with high-frequency programs for most of my “career” (I’m a big fun of Broz) and made some observations.

  1. I believe that using variations is crucial to correct weaknesses, break boredom and calm down the CNS.
    If your technique is between “no idea what I’m doing” and Malanichev, i.e. you’re proficient but not excellent you probably don’t need to spend more than a few training blocks per year working with 100% specificity to powerlifting.

  2. Same happens to me but most of those lost gains are connected to neural adaptations.
    You don’t come back weaker but less proficient.
    And, well, if you gained some muscle during BB phase you’ll come back stronger IN THE LONG RUN because ultimately hypertrophy is the main driver of strength.

    2 and 1/2. It’s easy for me to keep high frequency (4-10x/week) all year round alternating high volume with high intensity, as well as alternating lift variations.


I appreciate your reply anyway, so thank you!

Oh no, I completely agree with that. I readily acknowledge that the variations help avoid boredom primarily and also help correct weaknesses but my concern is mostly because I don’t lift even a combined 1000lbs, should I bother using variations? As far as form goes, I’m very OCD about my form and I’ve spent all of my current experience lifting perfecting it. I think that’s what originally held me back in terms of weight is that I was constantly working with light weight to guarantee my form was spot on. To this day, I’d put money down to say my form on all 3 lifts is near perfect with the need for minor change in cues. I pride myself on my form. Obviously, you’ll have to take my word for it until I can post videos. Appreciate that insight.

I figured that might have been the issue but anything over 10lbs just threw me off, like really? That’s a lot of weight dependent on neural adaptations… That makes complete sense, I didn’t think of it that way and I appreciate you bringing that to the forefront. I’ll just stick to the different stimuli then.

I appreciate your time to reply to me, you’ve helped clear some things up. Thank you!


Said program isn’t intended for a novice lifter; (roughly ) seven weeks of presumably diligent training haven’t produced the results you expected or you’d have posted your success or not at all; you have to progress to regress, so effort in the gym isn’t your problem.

A ‘bodybuilding phase’ should not cause anybody to lose strength. Unless you completely fucked up you’d get ‘stronger’ in one rep range and ‘weaker’ in another.

If you’re in it for the long haul it shouldn’t matter.