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Bench and Nothing but the Bench – All the Way to 600

January 1, 2006 01:37 PM

Formula for success, a straight line, a goal.
-Fridriech Nietzsche

I have said it before in Power to the People! and The Naked Warrior and I will say it again. If you wish to excel at a lift, you can't beat frequent practice of this lift with a moderately heavy weight and never to failure. Vladimir Volkov, the European bench press champion and master's world champion in the 220lb. weight class, has proved that point with a 639lb. bench in IPF competition.

Forty-six year old Vladimir trains three to five times a week, depending on how busy he is at work. The only exercise he does is the bench. No lat work, no dumbbells, no inclines or close-grips, just the powerlifting style bench.

Following are ten weeks of Vladimir Volkov's training. I am listing kilograms rather than pounds for two reasons. One, I am too lazy to crunch the numbers and two, to point out that the Russian simply jumps 10kg per set, a round number. Poundages ?308x3, 330x3, 352x3, 374x3? ?would have given you a wrong idea that he uses some very sophisticated percentages. He doesn't.

The percentages in brackets are the top weights for the day converted to %1RM. Again, they are not listed to impress you with the magic properties of 67 or 78% but to show how moderate the poundages are. Moderate relative to his max that is.

Note that the athlete competes in a bench shirt but trains without one and his first set is always 50% of his competition max.

Vladimir Volkov's Bench and Nothing but the Bench Training, Kg

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3, 190x3/5 (70%)

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3, 190x3,

200x3,

210x3,

220x3 (81%)

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2, 180x2, 190x2,

200x2,

210x2

(78%)

?

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3/3 (63%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1,

210x1,

220x1,

230x1,

240x1 (88%)

?

2

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2,

180x2/2 (67%)

?

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3, 190x3 paused (70%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2, 180x2, 190x2,

200x2,

210x2,

220x2 paused

(81%)

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1/3 paused (74%)

?

3

140x3, 150x3, 160x3,

170x3/4 paused (63%)

?

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2, 180x2, 190x2,

200x2 paused (74%)

?

2005 IPF Master's World Bench Press Championship

?

1st Place

?

267.5kg (589lbs.)

?

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

4

?

?

?

140x3, 150x3, 160x3,

170x3/3 (63%)

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x3/3 (74%)

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1,

210x1/3 paused (78%)

?

5

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2, 180x2, 190x2,

200x2/2 (74%)

140x4, 150x4, 160x4, 170x4, 180x4, 190x4,

200x4/4 paused (74%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2, 180x2/3 (67%)

?

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1,

210x1,

220x1, 230x1 (85%)

?

6

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3/5 (67%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2/4 (63%)

?

?

2005 Moscow Bench Press Championship

1st Place

290kg (639lbs.)

(The Moscow record exceeding the world record)

?

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

7

140x5, 150x5, 160x5, 170x5, 180x5, 190x5,

200x5 (69%)

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2/3 (59%)

140x4, 150x4, 160x4, 170x4, 180x4, 190x4,

200x4 (69%)

?

140x5, 150x5, 160x5, 170x5, 180x5, 190x5/4 (66%)

?

?

8

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2,

180x2,

190x2,

200x2,

210x2,

220x2, 230x2 (79%)

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3/3 (62%)

?

?

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1/2 (62%)

?

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3,

190x3/3, 200x1 (69%)

9

?

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1,

210x1,

220x1, 230x1,

240x1,

250x1 (86%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2,

180x2,

190x2/3 (66%)

140x3, 150x3, 160x3, 170x3, 180x3,

190x3, 200x3/2 (69%)

?

140x2, 150x2, 160x2, 170x2,

180x2,

190x2,

200x2,

210x2,

220x2 (76%)

10

?

140x1, 150x1, 160x1, 170x1,

180x1,

190x1,

200x1/2 (69%)

?

?

?

2005 Russian Bench Press Championship

?

1st Place

?

270kg (595lbs.)

?



How to Convert Kilograms to Pounds
To make a quick kilos to pounds conversion multiply the kilos by two, then add ten percent. For instance, 50x2=100. 100+10=110. Not precise but quick. If you want an exact conversion, one kilogram equals 2.2046 pounds. 53x2.2046=116.84. I hope you have better things to do with your time though.

Boris Sheyko, the coach of the Russian National Powerlifting Team, has made minor recommendations.

First, to reduce the number of meets Volkov competes in to give himself a chance to build more of a base.

Second, since Vladimir's federation, IPF, allows a bench shirt, to train in a shirt with weights of 80% and higher. The idea is finessing the skill of getting the most out of the shirt.

Third, "For an athlete in Vladimir's weight class (100kg) 10kg jumps between sets are too small? by the time he works up to his main training weight, say from 140kg to 220kg, he has done 8 sets. It is too many. I would recommend a reduction in the number of warm-up sets. This will enable the lifter to add a set or two with 'the working weight'. And the training session will not be as long."

Fourth, Sheyko has advised to add some assistance work. "Exercises to improve the flexibility and strength of the pectorals' and arms' ligaments are a must. The quicker the bench press goes up, the more attention must be paid to strengthening the ligaments. Not strengthening the ligaments may lead to an injury." See Strength Stretching for the best in powerlifting specific flexibility and Super Joints for keeping your joints and ligaments strong and healthy.

Sheyko's criticisms notwithstanding, the top Russian coach concluded, "If this methodology has led to victories in European and world championships, there is no need to change anything or look for something new." If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Heavy weights. Low reps. Saying no to muscle failure. Practicing the lift one wants to excel at a lot and to the exclusion of other exercises. Power to the people!


           

Pavel's books Power to the People! and The Naked Warrior will show you how to get strong the Russian way.
 

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