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Monday, May 7, 2012

From the desk of Coach Ivan Rojas - Do Bulgarians only max out? Really?


Hi,

I am reposting this fascinating article on the Bulgarian system.  Coach Ivan Rojas originally posted this on www.ristosports.com/blog, our sister blog.  He writes about Medvedyev's work and draws a short conclusion at the end of this post.  I added verbage in blue:



The following study was presented by A. Medvedev in the 1997 magazine ” practice and theory of physical culture” (magazine # 7 of1997).The object of the study is FEMALE  lifters from China, Bulgaria and Russia.
Between 1987 and 1996 9 world championships took place , 729 medals were disputed (gold, silver,bronze). China won 230 medals, Bulgaria won 71 medals, third was Taiwan with 71 medals and Russia got only 3 medals, let’s keep in mind that Russia sent female lifters to a world championshiops in 1995 for the first time.

So, how could a powerhouse like Russia have fallen so far behind the Chinese and Bulgarians in the 90's?
Lucky for us, Medvedyev's unlocks the secret to the incredible Chinese success...

A. Medvedev decided to research the reason of this big difference of sports performance between the above mentioned countries. He used the classification board of Starabutsev for masters of the sport, showing the number of repetition that each national female team was performing during that time.
Below shows the volume of  loading of female lifter from China, Bulgaria and Russia for the Mesocycles :preparatory and competitive.
starabust
Chinese lifters executed 12% more reps than Bulgarian lifters and 28% more than Russian lifters.

 In the number of repetitions with weights of 70% and up the Chinese lifters performed 37% more than Russian lifters, but only 3% more than the Bulgarians. These percentages of high volume type of training shows, clearly, that the high number of repetitions is the best way to GUARANTEE success on the world  stage . 

Now how can we increase the number of repetitions to adapt to this type of training? 
We can start but increasing the number of repetitions in weights under 70%. With this study A. Medvevev showed that to improve the performance of the Russian female lifters, they had to increase the work of resistance strength as basis to develop other manifestations of muscular strength.

NOTE: In the last 3 years, Russia has been able to rival Chinese lifters, even out medaling China at the last World Championships.  Guess what Russia is doing differently- more Reps!


Finally, Bulgarians do lots and lots of reps.  This is contrary to most of the rumors you will read on internet forums. 

7 comments:

Anthony said...

So does this mean more sets are better?

What about sets vs size of sets, ie 10 singles with 90+% vs 5 triples with 80%?

Gwen Sisto said...

Hi Anthony,

The article discusses only on the monthly volume level. Basically, you need thousands of reps per month to be best in the world.

In terms of how those reps breakdown, let me ask you:
What are your goals? Are you doing weightlifting for another sport, to improve your explosiveness, for pure fun, to be world ranked...etc?

This would determine what your program would look like. There are some general guidelines like: a competitive lifter would not do 10 singles with 90% as it increases your risk of injury.

Logan said...

Mrs. Sisto,

Where do you see the volume increase being the most benefit to the olympic lifter. The bulgarian lifters had similar numbers to the chinese in the snatch, C&J, and squat; while the chinese seem to really pull (no pun intended) away from the bulgarians in the snatch and clean pulls. Granted, assessment of the lifter is required to say they need more work in this or that area. Figuratively, say there is a novice olympic lifter with national ranking aspirations taking a bulgarian like approach with more emphasis on the snatch, c&j, and squat. Looking at Medvedev's chart and your personal experience would the pulls be a more likely choice for you to place the extra volume? Or would there be much difference in whether the extra volume was more directed at the C&J+Snatch and squat?

Gwen Sisto said...

Logan,

I will do my best to answer your question without being too vague. Certainly, the main conclusion of the article is that lower repetition programs caused the Russians to lose ground to the Chinese and Bulgarians.

On your question:
Yes, you are right that the program should be tailored to the individual lifter. A lifter who out squats their lifts, will need fewer repetitions in the squat. I, personally, do about 70 reps per week of pulls, in my strength cycle. The snatch pull is a technical exercise that does not stress the organism as much as a snatch. Mostly, the pulls work the lift off.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to separate the time that Ivan Abadjiev was head coach vs all of the other times to come to more valid conlcusions. He is very open about his system and has lectured on it. He has even stated that Bulgaria does not and has not followed his his system when he was not running things: http://youtu.be/IGpgcG-He5g

Gwen Sisto said...

Dear Anonymous person who is promoting their link:

Please reread the article, carefully.

1. This study was conducted by Medvedyev, look at the dates of the article. The article is on Medvedyev's empirical studies and not any particular coach.

2. The additional commentary and observations are by Coach Ivan Rojas who has physically studied training in Bulgaria on more than one occasion, including the 80's.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gwen,

Do you still currently train at the Risto weightlifting facility? I'm considering a one-month training camp.

Brady

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