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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don’t take my word for it- just listen to Pyrros Dimas


If you read this blog or any weightlifting blog or new site, you probably know who Pyrros Dimas is. He is the most decorated Olympic weightlifter of all time, having won 3 Olympic gold Medals and one bronze.
Recently, it was pointed out to me that there is an excellent docu-series on Pyrros Dimas, that supports a lot of what I write about on weightlifting theory and science.   Pyrros did an amazingly well done interview with the two doctors ( or , the “two bakers” as we affectionately call them at Risto Sports* ) Dave Boffa and Jonas  Westbrook along with Nat Arem of hookgrip.  I actually watched it through posts on ATG.  Ok, honestly, I’m not sure why I haven’t watched it sooner, I was probably too busy translating Russian or improving my French.

The interview is great as it takes you form how he first got into lifting through how he trained in his Olympic Medal winning days.  The team does a great job narrating - the writing is entertaining and keeps you interested.

Anyhow, this interview supports what I have written about on the Soviet , Chinese, Kazak, and Bulgarian systems either in my book, articles, or this blog.  Which, my dear friends of the internet, really should come as no surprise, as my information is based on having trained in all these places or trained with someone who is an expert in a place’s system.  

First, I would like to encourage you to watch both part 1 and part 2 of the series and read the rest of this article. It is very easy to watch, and, of course, who wouldn’t want to hear Pyrros Dimas- the man, the myth, the legend- speak for himself.

Key points Dimas makes in this documentary:
-          Always start in the Soviet system to get a solid base
-          Use the “right system at the right time”
-          Used a “Bulgarian system” at his elite level, the video references Abadjiev
-          Took him  4 years to acclimate to the Bulgarian system
-          He is pretty clear that he did not max out everyday***
o   He max-xed out 3 times a week-- ie planned max out points as part of his program
o   His subsequent training days were based on the max’s hit on prior days


As I wrote in the Kazakhstan Weightlifting System book – just like Pyrros Dimas reports-- the Kazakh team uses the Soviet system, then after a certain age and level of sport mastery, uses a different system.  Usually this is around 18years old and Master of the sport level must be achieved.  The Kazakhstan book contains a program that shows the flavor of that system.  And, on top of that the national team has a system  developed with Enver Turkileri (Enver Turkileri famously worked with 3 time Olympic Champion Naim Suleymonglu in Turkey, with whom Suleymonglu won 3 Olympic gold Medals**). The Kazakhstan coaches actually elaborated on how this system differed from the soviet system when they attended Risto Sports’ seminar in 2013 in Eliot, Maine, USA.   Like the system Dimas described, its fewer reps with more intensity, and again not the same as Abadjiev’s system.  This very much echos what Dimas says about using the right system at the right time.

Also, Dimas’s description of the Abadjiev Bulgarian system aligns with what I have written about. As I mentioned in previous posts, they do not max out everyday. They have planned max out points.  In Pyrros’s case, he describes maxxing out a planned 3 times a week.  Think about it though- your max is the max of that day.  In other words, everytime a lifter maxes out on their planned max day, they might not hit 100% or more, they might hit, say 95% or 99%.   Certainly, one would guess, over some period of time, their personal record would have to increase to stay on the team. 

 Here is a sample graphics to describe what the above might look like. Again, this data is just illustrative and not actual data (ie not every training session or training day is shown).

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
100kg (max for the day)
85kg (max of previous day)
95kg (max of the day)
81kg (85%of previous days max)
102kg (max for the day

 
From the above table, you can get the idea of the rhythm described.

Secondly,  there are Bulgarians who did not use this specific system. Again, I had trained in Bulgaria to prepare for the  2008 US OLYmpic Trials.  The Bulgarians I trained with didn’t use this exact system, they had their own variation which was slightly more soviet; lifters who showed-up to train and were not doing an Abadjiev-style system at that time included: Olympic Champion and Multi-time Olympic medalist Nikolai Peschalov, and world champion Stefan Georgiev. They were being coached by European champion Drazco Stoichkov  (Stoichkov who would have probably won the 1984 Olympics had Bulgaria not boycotted it).

As I have probably alluded to in previous posts,  at Risto Sports,  we do not use the “Bulgarian system”- the specific Abadjiev-style with frequent max outs--because of  the low volume and high intensity is not optimal for clean athletes. Long term, it has super human recovery demands that most clean athletes will not do well on. The whole point of the Soviet system is to use high volume to naturally increase hormone levels.  We had worked closely with Dr Hererra who was part of the Soviet system development in the 70s-80s, and he is incredibly against-doping/ for natural sport because of the ravages he saw on athletes, and he was able to produce clean champion.   Again,  I’m sure there are people who have done the Abadjiev style “Bulgarian system” clean; I am only saying that at least one expert believed that it is less optimal for producing a clean champion than a high volume soviet based system. And, max-xing out multiple times per week is something you certainly would not want to do with novice youth athletes.

 Side bar—on an overall intensity an volume view – Are the Bulgarian System and Soviet System much different?

In the Soviet System booklet published by Risto Sports, there is actual data from the late 1990’s comparing the training of Bulgarian, Russian, and Chinese lifters. 
Two sentence, incomplete summary: work in the highest intensity zones wasn’t as drastically different between Bulgarian and Soviet based systems –  likely because Soviet system goes up in intensity towards the end of the cycle.  The Chinese did the most volume of the 3 and, likewise, won the most gold medals at the World Championships.  I am working on a full soviet system book project, and, hence, you can read more on this in a few months. So, yes, if you want the full picture- including volume and intensity break down by lift  by System and analysis-- then check out the Soviet System book in a few months.

One last summary and recommendations
My recommendation for American lifters—especially anyone who has been training in a strength sport less than 7-10 years (the 10,000 rule)---should be using a soviet style system. And high performance lifters (people who can make a World team)  in the USA may want to vary their program, and a fully "Bulgarian System" is not recommended unless you have incredible Natural recovery methods and resources.
-OR-
What Pyrros said--> get a "base" in the Soviet System, use the "right system at the right time"


 Footnotes:

*I say this with admiration and affection -based on the two doctors having visited Risto Sports for a work out and used so much chalk it looked like a bakery . It was cute=)
** the documentary credits the “Bulgarian system" with Suleymonglu's success. He won all his Olympic  gold medals under Turkish flag. His coach Enver Turkileri was an ethnic Turk form Bulgaria as well.
***Note-Internet folklore says Bulgarians max out every day this is something I have personally tried to dispel and taken undue flack for by faux-expert internet trolls.

**** again, there’s other Bulgarian coaches out there doing different things. Yes, I am going through much pains to articulate this point. For example, there are Bulgarian coaches in Colombia; there are also Cuban coaches there (more Soviet school). The Colombian training is not identical to what Mr Dimas describes.
Other side note-- the documentary uses Russian and Soviet system interchangeably. I am using the term "Soviet System" for simplicity.
Who doesn't love Pyrros Dimas
Some more references:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/five-more-gold-medals-for-turkey.aspx?pageID=438&n=five-more-gold-medals-for-turkey-2005-04-25

1 comment:

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