Top 10 articles: Pavel Tsatsouline

Pavel Tsatsouline is a household name in fitness circles but try and find his work on the internet and you may be struggling.  Happily, I have done the research to bring you the articles from all corners of the web.

  1. Mind over muscle – in this article, Pavel expounds his ideas for building strength, which begin with the importance of mental focus.  Pavel believes that lower reps should be used for strength but not too low.  He doesn’t approve of grinding out reps with poor form.  For him, it is perfect practice that makes perfect, not practice.  Pavel suggests a 5 x 5 x 5 workout template, of 5 reps of 5 exercises 5 days per week.  That’s one set of each exercise.
  2. Interview with Power Athletes Magazine – in this interview, Pavel describes how he got started on the road to fitness training and how he began training people in an underground vault.  He tells a great story of how he became trapped one day while inventing set-up to use gymnastic rings and ruminates on the difference in training requirements for soldiers and athletes.
  3. T-Nation interview part one – Pavel explodes into the interview by putting Chris Shugart through his paces with a number of drills before going on to denounce the pointlessness of high-rep training, which he describes as producing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.  Then, to stop him getting bored, Pavel springs another drill by demonstrating that grip strength is increased when full body tension is incorporated.  Pavel calls this “irradiation” as opposed to “isolation”.  He then goes on to talk about the importance of “muscle software” instead of “muscle hardware”: the strength of the signal going to the muscle fibres rather than the size of the muscle fibres themselves.
  4. T-Nation interview part two – in the second part of his interview with Chris Shugart, Pavel sticks to talking instead of drills.  He rails against the idiocy of high-intensity training and expounds again the importance of low rep training without going to failure.  He also explains why he picked the deadlift and the bent press for his book Power to the People, goes into detail about how ridiculous most people’s abdominal training has become, explains what is behind the principles of “Relax into Stretch” and gives some detail about his infamous “ladders” routine.
  5. Super Joints – this is Pavel’s extensive work on mobility and it includes a great number of stretches and mobilisations.
  6. Another Russian Super Cycle – Pavel is most well known for bringing the kettlebell to the scrawny masses but in this article he talks passionately about a volume-intense 13-week squatting cycle designed by a Russian Master of Sports, S Y Smolov.  I can’t say it looks like an attractive programme but I guess that if it doesn’t kill you then it will certainly make you stronger…
  7. Bench and nothing but the bench – in this fascinating article, Pavel makes the point that 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.  To make the point firmly, Pavel explains how Vladimir Volkov, the European bench press champion and master’s world champion in the 220 lb weight class, trained for a 639 lb bench in an IPF competition.  According to Pavel, Vladimir trains 3 to 5 times a week and the only exercise that he does is the bench.  He then supplies ten weeks of Vladimir’s training, which is multiple sets of low reps with rising weights.
  8. Grease the Groove for strength – and in this article, Pavel gives a number of further examples of the same kinds of strength increases from regular practice in big lifts with low reps and high levels of intensity.  He explains how the mechanism is called “synaptic facilitation” and explains the importance of high volume.  He even name checks Anthony Ditillo.  What more do you want?
  9. Mike Robertson interviews Pavel – if you have a hankering to find out what the evil Russian sounds like in person then here is your opportunity!  Pavel talks about the RKC and kettlebells in general as well as going into some detail about the swing and the turkish get up.  Mike’s In the Trenches series is great anyway, so be sure to check them out.
  10. Full Contact Abs – Pavel explains to the bodybuilding crowd how to get the thick abs that they always wanted.  But, as always with Pavel, there is a twist…

For more, check out my review of Pavel’s book Enter the Kettlebell.  And if you know of anywhere else that Pavel’s articles might be hiding, please let me know.

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