In Part 1 of this series, I disclosed much of the television interviews I conducted with Professor Yuri Verhoshansky while I toured the Soviet Union in 1989. Following those one-on-one interviews, the professor conducted a series of seminars which laid out much of the methodologies he has developed for the athletes of his country. This system began over three decades ago and has generated progressive strength gains year-in and year-out for all its applicants. It is so remarkable, itís still the basis of strength training for the now Unified Team even in the midst of our modern era of high-technology.
I'm anxious to continue sharing this information with you. So letís proceed with Professor Verhoshanskyís Peaking Plan.
The strength athletes on the Unified Team (former Soviet Union) definitely have their act together. Their culture is driven by strength. During my tour, everywhere I went they [the Russians] were challenging us [the Americans and Canadians on the our] to arm wrestling matches, standing long jumps, power cleans, kettle weight juggling, single arm snatches, and even nail bending. They get off on strength, and they are really strong. If you were to show off like that here in the States people would consider you an ego maniac. It was quite amusing learning how they extend themselves to impress and communicate their talents to foreigners. Plus remember, I was their representing American television, so they were extra eager to display themselves to our Western culture as well.
Youíd think with all this ambition and ability theyíd become the result of numerous long-term experiments in modern laboratories or high-tech computerized institutions. To say the least, the resources they have are not very impressive at all (maybe thatís the secret). Let me tell you that for the large part thereís nothing special about their equipment technology. Heck my high school weight room had better pulleys and leg machines. Their equipment [machines that is] is very antiquated. On the other hand, their Olympic sets are very good; thatís their national sport. The bars are very rotational and the bumper plates range were all international color coded and incremented. (I did see more 50 kg plates in their gym than any other gym I have ever visited in the world).
The success of the Unified athlete stems from systematically following a franchised system. These athletes are recruited, groomed and graduated by former Olympic and World champion athletes -plus they are all educated.
Imagine going to school when you are 10 years old to learn how a bicep flexes your elbow, or how to identify with fast twitch or slow twitch muscle fibers, or learning muscular and skeletal anatomy and how it relates to the sport you will be participating in. All this precedes and parallels competition training.
Much of the the Unified Teamís success is from deliberate steadfast application. Application to a system that was developed and modified by scientists and World-Class athletes. The program Iím specifically writing about in this series isolates Power development; the combining of speed with strength. Accidentally discovered in the early 1950ís, Professor Yuri Verhoshansky noticed remarkable increases in squating poundages from his Olympic javelin thrower after conducting jumping drills off high tables. Since its beginning, the program has altered only slightly.
Get Stronger Without Drugs
The most impressive element to consider when understanding the effectiveness of this program, is that it was conceived when anabolics did not exist. Its design, uses, and benefits stimulate the natural metabolism of the hard training competitive athlete.
This Peaking Plan can be followed without drugs, it's not easy though. In fact, you may experience overtraining for your first cycle or two. But understand, the Russians have been using this (and similar) plans for over 5 decades. They are conditioned to systematic cyclical training.
Professor Verhoshansky's Peaking Plan is a 6 week routine designed to increase strength and power. Percentages are used making it accurate and applicable to every athlete, (they're also very easy to calculate, use Chart A to figure your work-out percentages). Percentages are formulated from your maximum or 100% attempts. When determining your poundages, don't over estimate. In fact, it's better to under estimate for the first few cycles.
Only prime strength building movements are Peaked . These lifts include Snatches, Cleans, Jerks, Clean & Jerks, Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Presses, and Leg Presses.
Each of your prime strength building movements will be trained twice each week. WorkOut #1 is the medium intensity day while WorkOut #2 is the heavy day. When Peaking more than one lift, stagger your weekly workout cycle. Perform a different movement on each day, with no more than 2 strength building movements applied for any given session. Four to six days each week should be spent in the weight room.
Competitive Weightlifters and Powerlifters should schedule their 6 week Peaking Plan to finalize on competition day. (However, at first, I advise trying 2-3 cycles before competing under this system). Russian Olympic Weightlifters have been very successful in breaking records at the end of these cycles.
Now, for out-of-season strength development, you can lengthen the cycle (up to 8-10 weeks). Instead of training all of your primary strength building movements in one week, you can begin Peaking one lift on Week #1, then start your other movements on the upcoming weeks. Increasing cycle duration is okay, unless (again) you're training specifically for a competition.
Professor Verhoshansky suggests that you place your prime strength building movements at the beginning of each workout. Secondary exercises (assistance movements) should follow. Inter-set rests, of at least, 4-6 minutes, must be taken. Shake and massage your muscles during these rest periods to restore the tissues and nerves and remove lactic acid.
"Workout time should last no more than 90 minutes", states the Professor. "The body develops best with 90 minute training periods, no more. If other tasks need to be completed, additional sessions are conducted each day".
Each individual workout, has a progressive Set/Rep scheme. This system is referred to as "Pyramiding". The first Set of every workout is with a resistance that's handled easily. Poundages increase in smaller increments until the athlete reaches his assigned percentages. (Sometimes lighter percentages are handled after PEAK Sets are completed. This reassures speed and technique).
"100% cannot be train consistently," the Professor states. "Strength needs a strong foundation. The stronger the foundation, the higher the PEAK . By looking at the structure of the Pyramid, you will see that more space lies toward its base (foundation), the summit is the PEAK which is not very big at all. If an athlete ignores lower intensity training he'll eventually lose his base and never reach his PEAK".
The Verhoshansky Seminars
"THE PEAKING PLAN"
What to expect!
For the first 2-3 weeks, you may think you're wasting your time. I admit that most percentages are very light in the beginning workouts. Most of you might think youíre wasting your time. All I can say is to be patient, the intensity will begin to mount up and everyone that Iíve seen use this program always comes out ahead. Understand, it's the entire 6 week cycle that's designed to increase strength, not just one particular workout. Since training is a science that needs constant monitoring, you will have to work at structuring your percentages and lifts especially when youíre forcing your body to produce larger gains in strength.
"This program is not based on year-round morphological rebuilding", states the Professor. "The body and mind must rest between cycles to restore from the previous and prepare for the upcoming plans".
Resign your maximum efforts for two weeks after every six week cycle. (Longer and more structured post-Peak phases are recommended for those who are overtrained at this point, who have satisfactorily obtained their long sought after goals, have completed a major competition, or just wish to rest). Once you commence training, a pre-PEAKING PLAN cycle can be applied which includes low-intensity movements along with light-medium low-rep primary strength building movements. After 1-2 weeks on this protocol, you're ready to repeat the 6 week Peaking Plan all over again! Keep in mind that in order to begin and pursue any Peaking Plan you must obtain complete restoration to your muscular and nervous systems and replenish the adrenals; not to mention regaining the mental power for abundant supplies of motivation, discipline, wisdom and patience.
A final word from the Professor of strength!
"Since the origin of my Peaking Plan I have accumulated many followers. For a long time everybody believed in me. Then, many of our athletes started to use steroids. They left my system only to rely on the effects of the drugs. Anabolics have shaped many sports which I do not admire. Today, we have a strong struggle against it. I feel the tension from the coaches who have wrestled to keep the athletes guided by my system. But around 3 years ago, things started to turn around. Since anabolics have done some very destructive things, the coaches and athletes are coming back to me, back to my system. Systematic training is the only reliable long-term solution. It's consistent and it's defeating the drug system for longevity and the health of our athletes!".
When I asked the Professor how his plan will make you feel, he added, "Like Rambo" (he chuckled), "Hey Sly's my kind of guy!".
If you're aspiring for ultimate power. If you're at a sticking point that just won't budge. Or, if you're just bored with the trial-&-error approach to strength gains, give Professor Verhoshansky's Peaking Plan a try for yourself. With persistency of patience and a lot of hard work, you'll realize some surprising gains!