Russian strength training is great if you want to gain a high amount of strength and are willing to work extremely hard to get it. The Russians are very well known for having top levels of strength and this is due largely to the type of workout program that they use on a regular basis.
While some of them are not always the largest of individuals, almost all of them top the charts when it comes to brute strength.
Since gaining muscular size is a big function of diet, if you put together a higher calorie diet with a Russian strength training workout routine, you‘ll be getting the best of both worlds and will find yourself growing much stronger and larger at the same time.
Let‘s go over some of the main concepts that you need to keep in mind with regards to Russian training so that you can apply these to your own workout set-up.
When it comes to the type of split that Russian strength training consists of, you can either perform a full body workout approach or do a split body workout approach. Either way though, you‘re typically only in the gym three days per week.
If you‘re doing a full body workout approach, this means that you‘re hitting each muscle group three times per week with one day off in between.
If you‘re doing a split body workout, you‘re going to be hitting two to three muscles each session and alternating between them every other day.
This could lead you to an ABA BAB type of set-up, or simply an ABC, ABC set-up that spans over the course of two weeks.
As this training is so intense, it‘s important that you aren‘t going into the gym more frequently than this or you won‘t see the strength gains that you‘re looking for.
The next thing that needs to be discussed with regards to Russian strength training is the specifics in terms of reps, sets, and rest.
Since the primary goal of Russian strength training programs is to get as strong as possible, this is the main focus with every element.
That means that you‘re going to be using the lower rep range in most instances, going from as low as just two reps up to around 6-8 reps.
Few people using Russian strength training will go beyond the 8 rep range and most hardly ever go past 12. Doing so would require you to lift too light of a weight, totally taking away from the primary objective of what you‘re trying to accomplish with this workout session.
In terms of sets, since the rep range is lower, you‘re going to be doing more sets. Most people will be looking to use somewhere between 4-6 sets per exercise. You‘re only going to be doing three to four exercises per session, so this will still keep volume under control.
The higher the rep range, the fewer the sets you do.
Speaking of exercises, when selecting the exercises to include in a Russian strength training program, choose the most compound movements possible. These are going to be the primary strength developers and what will allow you to see the highest weight lifted.
This includes exercises such as the bench press, bent over row, deadlift, squat, shoulder press, and weighted pull-up.
Leave out isolation exercises that really offer little bang for your buck as far as strength gains are concerned and will only eat away at your recovery abilities.
Moving along, we spoke a little about rest earlier. With Russian strength training, rest is going to be maximized. The Russians understand that after hitting their body hard with such heavy weights, they need time to regenerate and grow stronger.
As such, the three sessions per week is a must and making sure the days you have off are spent largely resting will be key. Weekends are also kept free and out of the gym to ensure that you get a full recovery.
The Russian strength training protocol is going to be very taxing on the CNS, so this further means that it will put you at a high risk of overtraining if you‘re not careful and paying attention to exactly how much rest you are getting.
The next point to note about Russian strength training is that periodization is applied. You‘ll often start off the program plan lifting around 80% of your one rep max and then slowly work your way up until you‘re doing just sets of two or three reps, but using close to 100% of your 1 rep max.
It‘s this periodization in your training program that ensures that you are making constant progressing and seeing clear strength results.
How much time you take to move up in the percentages of one rep max depends on your own personal preferences and how fast you naturally tend to progress.
Finally, when looking at the amount of cardio training to be included in Russian strength training, this is typically minimized. Cardio training is going to take away from the strength gains that you‘re able to see, so the Russians understand that less is definitely more as far as this is concerned.
One or two moderate intensity cardio sessions for 20 minutes or so may be added to the workout routine, but you won‘t find them using HIIT principles or doing hour-long sessions six days a week.
If fat loss is required, the diet is looked after and fat loss is achieved through a reduced calorie intake.
So there you have the main concepts to note about Russian strength training. When applied appropriately, this is one of the best strength training workouts that you could use to help gain massive amounts of strength and if dieting correctly, size as well.