T Nation

Vasili Alexeyev on Mirrors


Saw this article on Alexeyev and can't help but pass on a quote he made about mirrors.

"Here they've put up a lot of mirrors in the gyms. They're good for furniture
but not for training. When an athlete looks into the mirror he gets away from
himself; instead he should be totally focused. In the mirror you'll see
nothing but your image. This means that you won't understand and won't pick
up the technique of exercise, you won't make sense out of the method. My
advice during training is to think, think, think! ..."

For full article see:



Yea but mirrors allow me to sneak peaks at that chick doing bent over rows without looking like a pervert.


Dude, in that case, just go over, jump on her butt and tell her that, in your opinion, she needs to do some donkey calf raises :slightly_smiling: Yee haw.


Taken from the same article:

"What upsets me is that the method of training used by an overwhelming number
of weightlifters, in spite of the amazing growth in records, is still at the
same point it was in the fifties. For example, you want to improve your
technique on the snatch - you practise the snatch; the jerk -- you practice
the jerk. I tell them to correct their mistakes differently -- to strengthen
separate groups of muscles. A simple example: an athlete is having trouble
with the snatch. They advise him to start differently, to change his grip on
the barbell -- wider or narrower. But it turns out that it's enough to build
up a group of muscles which 'do the trick' with the maximum effort and he
gets better results ...

"We often see the effect but not the cause of what's lacking. If an athlete
doesn't know how to jerk, he's not going to learn this only by jerking. But
if he were to do some necessary exercises in order to strengthen a group of
muscles (those necessary for the jerk) then he will get results. No one seems
to understand that, even though an exercise does not 'lie' [functionally]
right alongside the jerk, it influences, it gives you the jerk . . .

"Everyone supposes that my method is good for heavyweights alone. It's good
for anyone who wants to build up the strength of their muscles . . .

"My method is aimed at increasing the two lift total. We have many
outstanding weightlifters in the gyms, but very few at the competitions. Why?
Well, because one must know how to 'deliver' one's strength on the competing
platform. The object of today's trainers is not to teach an athlete the
correct way to lift a barbell. Most important, he must teach him to reason
and make important decisions independently. Without thought there's no
creation. And without creation, progress in our difficult work is impossible

That soudns pretty much exactly sounds like what Louie teaches with the conjugate system to me....


Bill starr mentions something similar concerning mirrors in defying gravity. Good advice imo.


It is pretty damn similar. Louie wrote an article 'What if I were an Olympic coach' if you're interested


Main real difference is that Louie thinks a weightlifter should push the squat independent of the quick lifts, where as Alexeyev criticizes those who do.

Also, I've heard Alexeyev was big on complexes in his workouts (for hypertrophy I think) but I've never been able to find any detail about it. Anyone know anything about this?


Alexeev's thoughts are priceless. He knew he wasn't easy to look at...jokes about it. But consider this, his then world record C@J of 256kg thirty years ago has only been bettered by SEVEN kilos since. Think of the progress in other classes. Think of the world records in powerlifting, which have gone up several hundred pounds over that same period of time.
The man obviously knew things others didn't.


Sorry to be picky but Taranenko did 266kg in 1988.

I haven't checked but from memory many of the records from the late 80's in Olympic lifting are greater than records today.

Bear in mind that every time the governing body of weightlifting changes the weight classes by a kilo or 2 they also wipe the world records clean.

Why were the records higher then? I'd venture to say that improved drug testing protocols and the break up of communism (less of a talent pool for many countries) would be the main answers.

Obviously the increase in powerlifting records over the same time frame has much to do with the advancement of equipment.

Cheers Chris


That article reposted on Elite is one of my absolute favorites they ever did. It's great to see a champion who THINKS for himself and figures out his own path.




I can't remember where I heard or read this, but someone once said: