From December 2006 to June 2008 Ivan Abajiev, arguably the most successful weightlifting coach in history worked with a small group of athletes in a garage in Benicia, California.
Athletes like Nikolay Hristov(105+) S:205kg CJ:250kg, Martin Pashov(94kg) S:170kg CJ:210kg, Donny Shankle(105kg) S:165 CJ:205kg, James Moser(105kg) S:165kg CJ:191kg, Max Aita S:142kg CJ:170kg.
Life was hell... Training consisted of AM/PM workouts Mon - Sat and an AM session on Sunday. Like most of the athletes that Abadjiev trained, I quickly grew to despise him. The man was an endless vacuum for training and emotion. Once, when asked for advice about how to handle training with Abadjiev, James Moser said "... the best advice I can give you is, to sneak into his bedroom on the first night and stab him no less than 1000 times - then at least youâ??ll have a fighting chance!"
Now that some years have passed and I have had time to reflect on my experience with Coach Abadjiev, I cherish those days and I now can appreciate how much I learned from him. In the last few weeks of his stay, I taped several interviews with Abadjiev and I also had a translator assist me in transcribing fifty or sixty pages of notes about his life and his training system. Remember, this man is over 70 years old and had no formal science educationâ?¦
Here is an excerpt:
"When we increase the function, or use, of a system we also increase the dynamic process of degradation and accretion. You have both accretion and degradation working in a dynamic balance. Lysosomes, full of acids and various enzymes break down proteins and subsequently, various cell structures are rebuilt stronger. These lysosomes can function in multiple ways in the cell. One example is can be found when you remove a Kidney, the remaining Kidney hypertrophies in order to compensate for the increased work load.
When you increase the function of a system you can achieve adaptation. When you apply this to sport, by having an athlete systematically train longer and train harder, you are continually increasing the degradation and subsequent turnover of the proteins involved. If you donâ??t put athletes into the extreme conditions, you will not produce the extreme changes that athlete needs to achieve big results."
- Ivan Abadjiev