Russian strength training methods have a long history of producing great results. For many years Russia have produced great weightlifters, wrestlers, and strongmen.
Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!
So, here's how you can get a piece of some of that amazing russian strength.
Kettlebells are both Russian and a popular new method of working out. Personally, I think they are awesome!
Basically a cannonball with a handle, these guys provide an excellent way of getting stronger and building endurance. Kettlebell swings are especially useful for leg strength and explosive hip action.
Check out the link above for tons of information about kettlebells. Try them out; you will probably find tons of uses for this piece of Russian strength training equipment.
Pavel Tsatsouline popularized these in the U.S. and they are just starting to become mainstream. Many people are using them these days, from cross-fit enthusiasts to martial artists.
Pavel has also written a lot about various methods of Russian strength training using standard weights and bodyweight exercises as well. The following two tips are from his book The Naked Warrior, detailing effective methods for body weight strength training.
This is a technique that relies on your treating building strength as a skill. It's also easy to work into your daily routine.
It's easiest to explain as an example. And one example would be... hanging a pull-up bar in the doorway to your bathroom and, whenever you go through that doorway, do as many pull-ups as you can.
Not to death/exhaustion, but just till you're getting fatigued and your form starts to fail. For example, you might do 5 pull-ups every time you go throughout he doorway for 2 weeks.
And then up it to 6, which will be easy after 2 weeks of 5 pull-ups.
And then 7 a couple of weeks later.
You get the idea. You can also do push-ups whenever you go through the doorway, or just at intervals throughout the day.
The idea is to work the exercise into your daily routine. Make it automatic, make it frequent, don't work yourself to exhaustion, and you will gradually (and naturally) build strength.
This is another method that helps beginners increase their strength. Basically, you fill your entire body with tension.
When you first do push-ups or squats, there are parts of their body that are not tight. And these are gaps in your kinetic chain, draining energy from the movement. You wobble all over the place.
'Irradiation' is the scientific name for this principle. When one muscle group is firing, especially if it's a large one, it causes other muscle groups to fire more too.
An example of this would be shaking someone's hand. When you only squeeze their hand with yours your grip is tight, but if you tense you glutes (butt muscles) when squeezing with your hand then your grip will be much more powerful.
Basically, keep your body tight when doing any exercise. This will assure that your muscles are functioning at their peak strength.
This is the shadier side of the modern use of 'Russian strength training' as a brand. And not normally very accurate.
There are indeed some Russian strength training 'secrets', or at least training methods that are not widely known. But many times this is just a clever marketing ploy to get you to buy the...
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And sometimes they're not even 'Russian' methods! Take anything that uses the Russian-ness of its methods with a grain of salt.
Now you should have an idea of what constitutes Russian strength training. If not, re-read this page. Try some of the techniques listed above, and see if kettlebells are for you.
And train damn hard!!!
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
Russian Strength Training Techniques to Boost Your Routine
1. Bompa, Tudor, and G. Gregory Haff. 2009. Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Leeds [etc.]: Human Kinetics. Pp. 126.
2. Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. 2008. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics. Pp. 508.
3. Bompa. Pp. 239.
4. Baechle. Pp. 508.
5. Riordan, James. 1977. Sport in Soviet society: development of sport and physical education in Russia and the USSR. Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 17.
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Thank you very much, I was too lean before 2 years (55 Kgs), after the gym now I'm 72kgs, all the muscles have developed... when someone hand shakes with me it can be squeezed easily, they're making fun of me! ~ Tamil Arasan