After I moved, I didn’t have room to reassemble my rack, so all I had to work with was a barbell, some mats, and some chains. I searched for programs I could do with what I had, and settled on Power to the People and Russian Bear.
I read quite a bit of stuff over on DragonDoor, and saw somewhere where Pavel recommended running them back to back; 4-6 weeks of Bear, 4-6 weeks of PttP; repeat.
That was my plan. I started with the bear, 2x weekly, deadlift variation (I used mat pulls with chains) Monday and Thursday, and press variation (I used Z Presses, since I didn’t think I had enough room for any other press) on Tuesday and Friday. I started light, added weight every session, and made it through my first month.
But the weights were too light, and it got kind of boring when you’re doing tons of sets of 5 that aren’t challenging. I was literally reading books between sets during 60-90s rests. I think I stuck with a minimum of 10 sets, sometimes ending because I got bored, sometimes because I was actually spent.
After the first month I switched over to the PttP, training 5 days a week (+/- a day here and there), and made good progress. I played with wave cycles a bit, then after reading around some more, decided to go back to a linear progression, resetting to 70% after every new peak. I bumped the weight increases up a bit to ~5% a session, and added in a rest day between sessions as I was nearing a peak. I worked the peak to get to a new 5RM, 4RM, 3RM, 2RM, 1RM, whatever came from it. Then reset 70% and repeated.
I did well enough with that, didn’t get bored, and never went back to the Bear. I didn’t see any reason to while I was still making good progress. At this point, I think I just wasn’t working with a high enough intensity with the Bear.
PttP is short and sweet, in and out, and still has a decent weekly volume if you actually do it daily. I’d suggest giving that a try before trying Bear. Russian Bear, on its own, is not meant for long term use. From what I understand though, it’s fine being cycled with some more pure “strength” work and can be used indefinitely like that.