Why we care about the Soviet/ Russian System:
The Soviet system became the foundation of modern, elite weightlifters in the 70's and 80's. Since then, modern weightlifting coaches have adapted it to win strings of Gold medals. All successful countries base their training systems off of the original Soviet system. Again, the original handbook on the Russian system was written by Medvedyev- with whom Dr Herrera researched and is cited in his book.
For example, in the DVD of Dr Herrera's seminar on the Russian system (http://www.ristosports.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=9&products_id=115), the Dr cites that Medvedyev was training the Chinese Team just a few years before Medvedyev's death. As we all know, the Chinese eclipsed even the Russian's in godl medals in the last Olympics. In 2010, even Turkey anounced it would start using the same system as the Chinese. The point is -- the Soviet system is still being used today and continues to be added to and perfected.
If we start using principles of this system, then we too can compete with top countries (interpret "we" to be any one who has ever wanted to win an Olympic medal in lifting).
Some basic principles of Soviet system:
As I am not a bio-chemist or physiologist (I'm a Rocket Scientist), I will leave you with some basics of the system and leave it to you to watch or read-up on Dr Herrera.
The back squat is the basis of all lifting. Based on a lifter's 1 rep max in a full Olympic Lifting back squat, you can calculate what your best snatch and best clean and jerk should be ( In my opinion as an engineer, this is probably due to the fact that it correlates to power generation in the pull).
Next, technique and explosiveness is key. We have a lot of strong people with strong legs who do not even qualify for Nationals -- why? Because their pull is technically deficient and they are not explosive anough to hit the proper Vmax. The most important part of technique is distance of the bar from the body (see the DVD for the exact tipping point)-- keep the bar as close asd possible to avoid injury and to lift more.
Insights on the Bulgarian System vs the Russian System:
I understand that there is a lot of heresay about the Bulgarian system. I would like to take a few sentences to clarify a few things -- understanding that Ivan and I have trained in Bulgaria & Ivan had lifted there in '84 and even roomed with a Bulgarian while training in Cuba in the 90's.
According to Dr Herrera, the Bulgarian system is similar to the Russian system except that they work in the maximal intensity zome more often. Ivan has seen Bulgarians back squat before. The "all front squat, max out as much as possible " heuristic that many of us have heard about as heresay may just be a mesocycle with in the whole training system (Dr Herrera explains mesocylces on the DVD). Further, when I was in Bulgaria, novice lifters certainly did not max out every session. Even the former world champion, Stefan Georgiev did not max out every session and even did hang snatches. In training, everything is contextual.
Finally, when people refer to the "Bulgarian system" are they refering specifically to Abadjiev's system or all Bulgarian coaches? Well, Abadjiev is still alive, so why not just contact him or go to one of his seminars before ceasing all backsquats. In terms of other Bulgarian coaches we observed abroad, their methods are based on the Russian system and have lifters backsquat.
What about the Cuban System:
Dr Herrera was the Technical Director in Cuba (ie the genius who oversaw all the training plans). The Cuban system is a derivative with the major difference that Cuba didn't have disposable athletes. Hence, their philosophy is "strategic direction" , focusing on working with what raw material you have and maximizing results.
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