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Ivan Abajiev Training Lecture

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cathal byrd
69kg lifter

Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 439
Location: Limerick

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:40 pm    Post subject: Ivan Abajiev Training Lecture Reply with quote

Transcript – Abadjiev Training Lecture (Transcribed by Jim Hooper, donating member of Weightlifting Exchange)

First of all I would like to thank the Weightlifting Federation for inviting me here.

This material that I have prepared here for you for today is the same material that I lectured on in front of the Greece Committee last spring.

They specifically asked me to present my material because one of their athletes, Ekatarina Tanou, was using this method of training and has incredible results using this method. She was third in the world for 100 meter sprint, and last year she was one of the best white athletes, and she has been using my methods of training.

If you pay attention to what I am saying and if you think logically about what I am saying then you will see that this method is applicable to almost any sports training. We will be concentrating on weightlifting nonetheless.

I have been asking myself a question, why such countries such as Uruquay, Paraquay, Peru, not to mention Brazil, have incredible achievements in, say, football, considering that those countries do not have stable sports methods or academic sports development. And yet, they have better results in comparison to other countries like Germany or Russia, which have been studying sports as an academic for a very long time.

The other question that I have been asking myself is why such universal athletes do not exist anymore, why it is so difficult to be good in different disciplines, such as only 100 meters or jumps. These athletes who do only one discipline they do it well but it is almost impossible to be good in a lot of disciplines at the same time.

The same question is with athletes who train 10 different disciplines. They have a mediocre scale of good results. For each sport they are not at their best at one of those sports because they try to perform good in all the 10 of them which prevents them from being good at only one sport.

The fourth question that I have been asking myself is why, when observing animals, for instance, they don’t have micro and macro cycles. They don’t have leisure periods. They are all the time active. They don’t have performance of 80% or 70%. They only have performance achievements of 100% all of the time. The way that animals prey, whatever they do, they do it their best and they do it at 100%. This is the way they survive.

And tonight I will try to answer all those questions in my lecture.

[Referring to a graphic illustration displayed on an overhead projector.]

Please forgive me for the simpleness of these examples, but everytime I talk with opponents who do not share my point of view, I have found that this is a simple method of explaining the way I think and the way muscles work and this is a simple way to present it graphically although it is not an academic way.

As you can see this is a train with coaches which is performing a certain function. We can compare this to a group of muscles or to a muscle fiber which also performs some kind of duty. It also has dynamic function.

Literally there is a difference between a living organism and this machinery, and I will try to talk about that.

[Pointing to the diagram.] The smoke indicates that this is a functioning machinery. Those are the same engines below, but they are not functioning. When this machinery is at work, it is using up its resources, energetic as well as plastic. When the resources are emptied out, then there is a signal sent to the central control unit. On its behalf, it contacts those depots which have the energy that the machine needs in order to continue working. And those depots present the necessary energy back into the machinery, they feed it back. The little ones are not active right now because they do not send a message that their resources need to be refilled and that is why they are not functioning at the moment.

[He changes to a second graphic diagrams.]

This is the reverse situation. As you can see those two smaller engines are working at the moment. It is because they have sent a signal of the need for the depots need to be refilled, and so naturally the central control unit would send water or whatever energy is needed back into them in order for them to function.

This is the precise way that a human body would function or human muscles or any living organism’s muscle function. That when there is a lack of energy, there is a signal sent to the brain which, on its behalf would provide them with nitrogen and whatever else is needed for them to function (energies) through the blood circulation system. Up to here the mechanism of the way they work is absolutely identical.

But the difference between the living organism and the machinery shown here is as follows. [He points to a different portion of the second diagram.]

Now we have switched on the little trains. This is a law in organics that the function builds the organ, or, the muscle. And when they function, they form new structures. On the examples shown, they are growing. First of all -- this is the coal storage, if we are talking about the train -- so it will extend its size [indicating].

[He changes to a third graphic illustration.]

As they enlarge their size, the number of . . .

[Abadjiev leaves the projection screen and draws a circular figure on butcher paper.]

This is a human cell and in the cytoplasm there are swimming those organelles which have this shape and form. This is basically how the energy received into a cell is deformated [sic] so the cell can use the energy provided. That is why they are called energy stations of the human cell. This is where energy is formed, and in the appropriate measure, then it goes into becoming energy that the human organism needs to perform.

[He returns to the third diagram shown on the projection screen (i.e., the train diagrams).]

This means that the number of those mitochondria is bigger so that the size of the whole cell will change and become bigger also. Which practically means that the more energy it receives, the more it grows, and the stronger the power of the engine will be.

Also, as well as the change of the cells and everything grows [transl.], the contacts between, in the organism, they change also, and they become faster and stronger. The quantity of blood cells is also growing, so there will be more blood provided, and they supply more oxygen. So those structures are making the muscular system stronger and bigger. But we are talking now only about living organisms, and this is the difference between this machinery and the human organism.

[Abajiev changes to a fourth diagram (also apparently illustrating the train analogy).]

As you can see, when the upper engine is not working, it reverses its size, the size is now a reverse process of what we were talking about just now, that it grows smaller if it is not activated and does not function. The minute it stops functioning, there activated a catabolic reaction, which means that the muscle would grow smaller. It will change its size.

If you were developing muscle fiber . . .

[He pauses, returns to the butcher paper, and draws three illustrations of basic muscle fiber-arrangement types: smooth, parallel, and _____.]

And those are the different shapes of muscles. We have one muscle that could be one after another one, when they’re parallel, . . . this is the different types of muscles. They all have a particular function, they all react to different things. For instance, when we have slower, but heavier exercise, then those muscles [pointing to ____ fiber arrangement] are the ones that are doing the work. The ones that need speed and heaviness at the same time, then those parallel muscles are activated, because power or strength of the muscles depend on different things, different parameters.

[He draws a separate diagram and draws an elongated elliptical shape on the paper.]

The part of the muscle which is contracting is called sarcomera. The longer it is, the faster it reacts, the faster it contracts. The shorter it is, it could provide enormous strength, but for a longer period of time. And there are muscle groups that can work without oxygen provided, anaerobically. And there are those muscles who work aerobically, with oxygen.

For instance, when we have a sprinter or cross runner, this is the muscle which is activated [he points to his hip flexor/ upper outer thigh area]. This is used for running and sprinting and longer running periods. [Translator: “Correcting, not ‘sprinting’ before.”] [Abadjiev points to his quads.] Those two muscles which are located on both sides of the knee, they take part when sprinting is necessary, also called out of phase muscles. They turn food into energy without using oxygen. When we are talking about longer distances, then the energy is formed using oxygen. So that the ones that are used for longer running distance, they have a bigger number of mitochondria. This is where the cycle of Krebs takes place and over 1,500 kilojoules of energy are formed.

And when we are talking about anaerobic working of the muscles, then we are talking about 60% less production of those mitchondria from the same amount of energy. So in the longer period, when we look at different training muscles, there are different muscles that are used for different groups and they are the ones who change their size accordingly to the training system.

[Abadjiev returns to the train diagram on the projection screen.]

That is why when we change, when we are not lifting weights, when we are doing something else . . . if we say that on the upper picture the engine is the one that is used to lift weights, if we do something else not lifting weights we are using other muscle groups, in another exercise not weightlifting, those are the muscles that are being contracted.

So naturally those ones on the lower picture, they start changing their size, or there is a growing process. And there is a theory of priority in the energy supply of the human body, so naturally those, not the one on the upper picture, but those two will have the priority of getting energy and stimulation.

So we have used this system when weightlifters have done other exercises, not only weightlifting. For instance, I saw here that some of your trainers do jumps with weights. Which means that immediately the energy supplies for those muscles will be activated, the ones that are necessary for a jump to be performed, which means that there will be energy taken from the basic muscles needed in weightlifting.

And it is not only the matter of the muscle itself growing, but it is the connections and the blood vessels which supply it with needed energy, they change their form and shape too. So then, if we go back to doing the same exercise, which is shown on the upper picture, then it wouldn’t be as easy for it to get energy anymore. And those are physiologically proven right, that the mechanism works precisely this way. Respectable biologists and physiologists have proven that this is right.

As it is proved also that when we have, when there is new proteins and the muscles are growing and protein is developed [pointing to the lower part of the diagram, depicting muscles trained on non-weightlifting exercises] and what have you then it is at the same moment that the muscles on the upper picture [those used for weightlifting] begin shrinking.

So if we concentrate our energy onto other exercises, then it means that the creative process of the muscle needed in weightlifting will be stopped, which means that in a longer period of time it will not be as easy to develop into its original shape anymore, or size.

And afterward if we were to use those smaller muscle groups for weightlifting, it means that it will not be easy for those organs to be adapted in order to perform in the way a weightlifter would want it to. They too need oxygen. Somebody has to supply the oxygen.

So naturally making their demand for oxygen, they are sending a signal to the central control unit, and then it goes into the cardiovascular system, and so it is activated, and it starts supplying energy back into the muscles. We start breathing more frequently. The whole breathing process is activated. This means that with the new situation, if we take for instance that the triangle is the lungs [indicating on diagram], new creative processes would start developing in the lungs, and also the muscle controlling the lung function. And naturally in the lungs, the number of alveoles, they become bigger, they increase their size, in order to supply the oxygen into those new muscles, they have changed their size as well.

So does the heart, the heartbeat is activated also. It also changes its structures in order to change its capacity. With the other, for instance on a human leg, the muscles will not change their number, but it is proven in the heart for instance that there could be muscle structure changes that produce new muscle, and their size and shape also is changed. Which means that with a single heartbeat, the amount of blood thrust out of the heart is bigger. Which will result in more blood going up to the muscles. They will make the creative and the energetic levels higher. All those performing muscles which take part in the performance or function, they all need to adapt to the new situation, they change their size, their density of working, which is a chain of changes in the human organism.

So this is our aim when we are training athletes, that we would build up all those organs and muscles needed for a certain performance, not only the muscles, but the whole cardiovascular and other systems that support the working of the muscles in order for a better performance. The adaptive process however, does not only include all the lungs and the heart and the other organs that I mentioned.

The first adaptive period of the organism is an emergency one, which activates the hormone use in the blood and the organism. The first ones to be activated are adrenaline and noradrenaline. [He quotes from a published paper.] It is said in this work for instance that the adrenaline can be lifted as much as to 1,000 ng/ml from 0.5. It is almost 1,000 times higher than its normal amount. This whole adaptive mechanism plays a huge role in the functioning of the organism.

It is not only in sports, but that it is how our organism adapts to any number of changes, for instance, the cold when we go outside. And it is cold and there is a rush of adrenaline and naturally your cardiovascular system starts to work faster in order for your heart to produce enough blood to get you warm.

[Abadjiev returns to the easel and draws another circular diagram.]

Adrenaline also activates this anabolic machinery called [unintelligible]. This is the membrane of the cell. It is formed by four molecules, and we will be interested in only two of them. This is how the adrenaline divides this [part of the cell]. One of them mobilizes the calcium inside the cell. So calcium is needed in order for those two to be united, and as the disappearance of those little bridges that we see here [occurs, there is] the contraction of the muscle; as they are pulled apart, the muscle contracts. The other one is activated and is connected with proteins and it starts building up new protein in the core of the cell. Later on I will be talking about the anabolic effect. So the adrenaline and the noradrenaline have a huge function in the adaptive period. The other hormones as well. All other hormones have their different functions, but I will not be stopping on them.

So naturally everything is controlled by the brain, the adaptation and the growth of the muscles. And they are also determined huge changes in the kidneys, they grow bigger in size, and their production is also changed.

Another very important thing is how the body learns to economize with less hormones and it lessens its demands, it becomes more sensitive. Those new muscle cells that are produced, they become more economical in their demands. And it has been proven that those new muscles, they need less blood supply. So it means that they can better perform because of their new economical way of functioning.

All those processes begin with a stress reaction, exercise being a stress. [Referring back to the train-car diagram.] If there would be another coach after the engine of the train, then it would mean a new adaptation, and it is the same as with weightlifting when we add some more weight to the bar. All those functioning systems are in a stressed condition, they have the so-called stress reaction, and it activates all those mechanisms of all those systems. Their functioning grows, and so the structural changes begin, and new structural shapes and sizes can be formed.

So in the first stage that I mentioned before, the emergency stage, some times the production of adrenaline is way too high for the use of those systems.

When there is a bigger strain on the muscle there is a catabolic effect. As we can see here [referring to diagram] this is the size of a normally functioning cell, this is the cell after it has been adapted already to the new conditions, it becomes bigger, and this is the size of the cell after adding to its functions. So here we have already added those extra coaches to the train. It is bigger than in the beginning but it is smaller here when its in its extreme situation, the emergency state that we were talking about. Some athletes cannot overcome this stage of the extra strain on the muscular system and they cannot have the process, cannot obtain the maximum of the process, they cannot have this adaptation in their muscles.

In order to avoid injuries and complications, we have to avoid the state of hyperfunctioning of muscles and cells. The organism itself can form a stress limiting system. This system allows the organ at certain stress levels, it measures the amount of stress it thinks that a human muscle or cell can take and it limits it to a certain level. The organism has this level of the stress that it can take to avoid injuries or discomfort. This amino acid, which has one of those functions, to limit performance. Other such limiters are beta endorphins and enkepholytes, they have tranquilizing effects. The brain cells also have their way of avoiding injuries by limiting stress. There are also other ones but I will not be talking about them.

[Referring back to train-car diagrams.] So, when we have already built the upper system, and we have developed those three systems [indicating lower part of diagram] , when we have built the system of the hormonal balance, and when they all function together economically, and also the stress limiting system, after all those systems have been adapted well and function well with one another then this muscle which is most used, for instance in weightlifting, it will be dominant. And together with the stress limiting system, only then we can talk about full adaptation, when all those systems function together, equally supporting each other, then we have structural extremely well-functioning system.

This is why in our training program we have only four exercises that we perform. Which means that we are not using new material, we are not using energy or plastics in order to build new functioning systems. We do not force them to go into catabolic reaction. And this is the way that we make sure that the muscles adapt faster and better. And when I say adaptation I do not mean adaptation of only adaptation of one single muscle but the whole system that functions together, all those that I have been talking about, the heart, the lungs, the central control unit, and all the others.

There is also another fact which will prove the well-functioning of our theory. This is the cross-adaptation. This is well as can be proven from the theory of relativity that when you try to have many organs and one its own turn dominates the others they cannot be just as well functioning, all of them. We have to concentrate on building up a system which has only one primary and dominating organ, and then it could function and we can grow. This is the cross-adaptation that I mentioned earlier, for instance, adapting yourself to the cold or adapting to high-strength training periods. In their adaptation there are some structures that are alike and some which are different. For instance, we won’t be concentrating on the blood circulation because we are not training outside, we don’t need to heat the body already. But naturally people who, for instance, cross country skiing, which exercise outside, they will need the adaptation of muscles as well as the adaptation of warming the body. It goes without saying that as they develop their muscles, the percentage of fat will be different, because they will need the fat to keep them warm. This is why for instance we which have not developed those kind of skills, it will be different for us to go outside, we will be less prepared than a person who has already developed himself to surviving in the cold.

This is why trainers from our circle that have done weightlifting and they have achieved some kind of high achievement in weightlifting, they cannot go and adapt themselves to other circumstances such as being out in the cold. That is why we have to concentrate on keeping ourselves healthy before competition. Athletes who are in excellent form and shape, the number of their . . . lymphocytes which means that the immune system is lower . . . when we concentrate on building up muscles and building up those particular systems, naturally strength has been taken from our other skills. [Translator was losing him in the prior sentences.]

[Indicating on his systems diagram.] The T-lymphocytes that I was just talking about, they are the ones responsible for keeping those the connections between different muscles and organs, they have the ability to carry energy and then dissolve and give it into a different muscle or muscle group. So this is what I meant when I said the immune system is lowered. It means that with the lowering of the number of those T-lymphocytes that the immune system fails to perform at its normal rate. So you have to be extremely careful before competitions or when they achieve this hyper state of condition.

[Referring to a new diagram.]
This example that I will be talking about will come to show again why it is very important to use only one set of exercise modes. But now we will not only be talking about what kind of exercise to do but we are going to be talking about the amount of strength that is used during an exercise.

Heiden [sp?], a very reknowned physiologist claims that this is the density which goes through the neurons into the muscles, stimulating the muscle. When we are lifting 100 kilos, through the neurons there is a set of impulses sent, and this is the density of the impulses. [Indicating on a diagram that appears to compare graphically “signal density” data and protein structures associated with a 100 versus a 110 kilo lift.] And if he is doing the weight shown on the upper picture, presuming this is his record weight, that he would be doing in a competition, then the impulse density is much bigger. This density [associated with the heavier lift] activates this one particular part of the DNA chain [indicating]. Those genes have particular storage of information. And accordingly with this specific part of the DNA where the information is stored there is certain proteins produced which have this shape. And when we have the density shown on the upper picture [heavier], then there is another information which is used from the DNA chain, and then there is produced this kind of protein [indicating] which has another set of characteristics. And Heiden claims that only this set of proteins would be activated only at this density, which means that only by lifting 100 kilos will you be activating what you have been building, those proteins. During a competition, the density is like shown on the upper picture, and those will be the proteins activated in a state of competition or higher performance and those [indicating the proteins associated with the lighter, lower lift and signal density lower on the diagram] will be passive, they will not be activated, because of the density. So, when we are lifting weights which are not the maximum amount we could lift, and this lift is being performed in aerobic conditions, when there is a supply of oxygen, we will not be activating the density and the real performance of the muscle, it will not be taken to its extent. While lifting those higher weights, there will be a chance of producing more anaerobic energy [indicating the higher lift portion of the diagram].

That is why it is important that we lift our maximum, in order to produce those kinds of proteins and those kinds of structures that we will be using in a competition, for instance. We don’t want to spend our energy building structures that will not be used under extreme situations.

This comes to show why our training method is that we are lifting our almost maximum during training. Before we were talking about lifting many tons a day of weight. About the middle of the 70’s, we were lifting up to 60 tons a day. But we were not producing any effect. The speed at which we were training was different, it was higher. But those were little weights, not the maximum of an athlete. This is why our athletes now lift up to 4 tons a day, but they are performing in this zone [indicating] in the maximum zone, of maximum achievement. So we are building this particular protein structure that we will be using under extreme circumstances as competitions are, for instance.

It has been proven that the heart is one of the better protein productive organs. And the lung muscles, in their intensity of producing protein. And then all the other muscles which are on the hands and legs. All the scientists think that this is due to the sum of the exercise which is performed. The sum of performance of a certain muscle, the heart being a muscle also, for instance, the heart is performing for 24 hours, that is why it is one of the better protein producing muscles. The lung muscles they also work for 24 hours, but at a lower tempo. It also has a very dense function, but less than the heart, because it works slower. And then all the rest of the muscles, but then naturally because they perform only in certain periods of time, they are not active 24 hours per day, that is why they produce less protein. Naturally they have less function. So naturally the higher production of protein makes the building, of those adaptive systems that we have been talking about, faster.

So naturally we were looking for a way to expand those muscles which are used in weightlifting, leaning on those functions of the organism. We are lifting bigger weights, but slower, and we make less attempts. But in order to develop those particular proteins, we were forced to do more work in order to make those particular muscle groups work and perform.

You cannot be lifting big weights densely in the duration of one training. That’s why we have divided the training session into different parts. And so we have first snatches, then pulls [note: this is almost certainly a mistranslation, and should be “clean & jerks”], then snatches again, so we have twice snatches, and then squats afterward. But in the afternoons we change the order so those muscles are overall equally pressured. So what we are doing we have the maximum weights with lower tempo and lesser attempts. This is how we achieve this effect of building up precisely those muscles that are needed in weightlifting.

Now I want to show you a system which triggers a natural metabolic reaction. And this will be on the example of lifting weights.

This system is called the ties between the functional and the genetic apparatus. And what is the structure of those ties.

[Indicating on a diagram of gene structure.]

All medical workers know about the genetic repressor, which is the one that limits the function of DNA. For this scientific achievement they have received a Nobel prize. This is the DNA chain. This is the genetic regulator. This is the promoter, the upgrader, and those are the structure genes. This is the genetic repressor which has entered the DNA chain. And it has stopped its function. So this part is non-functional, not the least. This is a deformed genetic repressor. It cannot enter this DNA. So this DNA operator is free to work, and by work meaning producing proteins. So as the cell functions, it changes its structure. Those structures restructure, or metabolize, what neurons told them. So the more the function, the more those restructuring metabolizers achieve. So these metabolizers enter the structure of the gene repressor, and it has deformed it. And this being an enzyme it enters the structure and it becomes active. They can enter straight into the genetic repressor if it has the right shape or the right characteristics, but they can also enter from other places. So this means that it has entered the repressing gene, which has deformed the repressing gene, so that it cannot enter the DNA chain, which means that the DNA chain is performing normally and it is producing protein which is also known as an anabolic reaction.

Lifting weights we are achieving the contraction of a certain muscle which grows and which is needed for the weights to be lifted and we are changing its structure. So during training if we are using maximum amount of weight and only a few attempts to lift that weight, that means that we are activating this whole system, which will achieve the growth of that muscle and its maximum performance. So by stimulating with adrenaline those molecules, they bring more calcium into the cell. By doing that, they are making the genetic repressor dysfunctional, which means it cannot enter the DNA chain, and so it means that it can perform up to its maximum. But this is because of the adrenaline which is made during training sessions. Adrenaline is released only when we are doing the maximum amount of weight. In order to achieve this higher level of adrenaline release, we used to do Monday, Wednesday and Friday, training sessions in front of an audience, which resembled the situation of a real competition, when you have the lights, the audience, the crowd, the judges, and the emotional factor also plays a very important role, it stimulates the release of adrenaline. So you performed up to your maximum three times a week, almost in competition circumstances, which releases the adrenaline needed, which makes this whole mechanism function, which enables a certain muscle group to grow and perform better.

This is the way a different medicine, which releases, which makes more adrenaline to be released, they work exactly on this principle. Limbuterol [sp?] being one of this kind of medicine, which is now on the list of no-no substances.

Now we will be talking about the amount of training.

For instance, in bodybuilding, bodybuilders do not lift their maximum, but they lift a certain amount of weight many times. Mehrson [sp?] says that a cell has a particular amount of what it needs in order to function and it can self-energize itself.

[Drawing diagram of muscle structure] This is the main fiber. It has those contractive proteins. Those other fibers are acting as kind of supporting the main fiber. Those fibroblasts do not have the contracting proteins which the main fiber has. Basically what they are doing is acting as donors and supporters of the main fiber. In order to be able to support the main fiber during dense exercises, they enlarge their size. This is called [unintelligible]. This is the process when they are changing their structure. But if there are too many attempts, there is a process called hyperplasia. Those supporting fibers start to divide, and their quantity grows bigger. And they also start working on supporting the main fiber, but they do not have those contracting proteins. So the main fiber can function and perform longer, because of the supporting fibers, but on its own, its strength does not grow. But the muscle itself grows bigger. This, we are talking about bodybuilding.

So basically before, when you used to do this training with many repetitions, our weightlifters looked completely different, they had much bigger muscles. But Yakoblev [sp?] says that this actually prevents the main fiber from functioning correctly. It does not give it strength, even though it looks bigger.

If we go back in time and look at the technique that our weightlifters used to use, it is very incorrect and difficult to perform with it. On the scale, bodyweight is growing and they go into another category because their bodyweight is growing, but strength itself does not grow bigger.

There have been many tests made with lifts and the repetition, and it shows that the classical exercises are much more productive, even in the psychological aspect. Not only that there are different muscle groups achieving the same movement, and even the movement itself is different, and the speed of the performance is altered and changed.

Not only the strength of the muscle is important but also the coordination in between the muscle groups is very important in order to perform. And even this is an obstacle when you are doing not only the classical exercises, because you ruin this coordination, and you cannot perform the classical exercises anymore when in a competition for instance. So when we are doing only pulls, then the symbiotic structure of the muscles is different, and even the muscles have memory, so then they cannot as well perform when we are doing the clean and jerk. The better the coordination, the better the economical working of the organism, and the better function of the muscles. This is why we are not doing those half pulls anymore, and nobody, none of our athletes have lowered their achievements. Quite the opposite, they have achieved even better.

And now we will be talking just a few words about the medicine which induce this protein production. There are stronger, medium, and less strong medicines which do it. The stronger ones are forbidden. Some of the middle ones are not yet forbidden, but are soon to be. And all of the lower ones are naturally free to use.

If you achieve all those systems’ activation that we have talked about, but you do not take certain medicines which will increase the protein production, naturally those who use those stronger drugs, they have a better performance chance than you. [Garbled few words] . . . will only be Bulgarian athletes who have lifted almost five times their weight in world championships.

I have had this idea of gathering all sorts of athletes in one sports hall for instance, and having them perform without any kind of stimulants and with this system of training. There is not a doubt in my mind that the difference in methods would clearly be shown as a better one in comparison to others.

Naturally you are aware that there are systems of avoiding doping tests or not completely working within the rules of it. That is why there is a lot of dishonesty in sports nowadays.

And I will end my lecture with this sentiment.

The Finnish coach has been to Bulgaria and you have seen the way that we exercise, and with this lecture to complete it I think that you will clearly see that this is a good and proven to work system.

I now take the opportunity to invite all of the other sportsmen. You are welcome in Bulgaria to get to know our system and how we work and train. By using this theoretical knowledge and the things that I can show you in practice, I assure you that will better your results. For instance, the Finnish had an Olympic champion, since 1968, the Swedish too also have very strong competitors. When our weightlifting was not consistent in Bulgaria, the Polish were absolutely great. I have a joint recommendation to all the Scandinavian games that you will achieve Olympic medals.

Question and Answer Session (paraphrased)

Before Abadjiev became head coach in 1969 there were more than 19 ways of lifting weights, including jumps, running. Eventually, almost all of those exercises dropped away from the weightlifting program. They used to do camps at altitude in winter, and do a lot of skiing to build the heart and lungs. As a result, he started scientifically exploring why adaptation works the way it does and why the primary muscle groups should be supported. Weightlifters who were the most physically developed, who had the most achievement, he had them carry a piano up to his apartment on the fifth floor, and they could not make it past the second floor. Little gypsy boys who were not very developed carried it all the way to the fifth floor, and that was very embarrassing.

The exercises dropped first to 8, and in Vittoria in Spain, we had 6 gold medals, which were two more than the Russians had.

And then in 1986, we started doing only 5 exercises, and then we had seven golds, and the Russians had two.

And in events the next year we had seven again and the Russians had two.

This shows clearly that by limiting the exercises we got better results.

You could be doing those four exercises and still not achieving anything because it depends on your lifting the maximum weight you could lift. In many situations, you don’t know what your maximum weight is, I mean you think that something is your maximum weight is and it isn’t, because the athlete can be wrong about his maximum achieving state. We can use pulse rate to discover the maximum weight. If the athlete has a pulse of less than 180, it means that he can do more.
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cathal byrd
69kg lifter

Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 439
Location: Limerick

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody read this lecture? quite difficult to comprehend at some points but nonetheless i tink abajiev does make some good points about training. one in particular that i wud agree with is : "So if we concentrate our energy onto other exercises, then it means that the creative process of the muscle needed in weightlifting will be stopped." i.e. ony use exercises that will directly improve performance on the platform, aka 'specificity'. adaptation is aso a huge concept he believes in. i must say that he does hav a point in saying that an athlete can adapt to continuous high levels of stress, but i also feel that there is a limit! especially wit 'natural' athletes. any body hav any other thoughts on this lecture, wat do ye agree or disagree wit?
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peter durcan

Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Posts: 51
Location: Aberdeen scotland

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally found this lecture quite interesting im not sure what year he gave this lecture but he hits on some interesting points that at the moment are trying to be adressed by exericse molecular physiologists/geneticists such as the one you mentioned cathal adaptation. Like for example is training for approx one hour a day the best way to do it or should we train more often say maybe 3-4 sessions a day. From recent research it would seem that certain slight variations in muscle cells may well allow for this hence indicating the importance of genetically screening athletes for elite developoment programmes or as seen from the chinese weightlifting video very young children. An example of this can be found from research carried out by the australian institute of sport who examined a slight variation in the alpha actinin 3 protein within muscle cells. what they found was very interesting a certain mutation in this protein which is a key component of muscle contraction was found to present in all endurance athhletes but not in power athletes (elite athletes). The reason why i bring this point up is that such a mutation may well allow you train much more often and more importantly greatly reduce your chance of muscle injury as the sacromeres dont seem to be as susceptible to rupture however this hasnt been defiently proven but from talking to my lecturer here he says preliminary investigations seem to suggest this very much. Interesting you can get tested for this gene polymorphims by an australian company and all you have to do is provide them with a swab of your saliva. more info on this can be found at the following link
Now i know im going to open myself up to possible ridicule but it would appear that it is possible to train bulgarian style without being on "gear" as long as you have good genetics and in fact you may notice a massive improvement in your performance just as what the guy in this lecture said they found when they changed their training methodology. obvioulsy though good nutrition etc would be required as well as a good support team such as physical therapist etc. One of the drugs he says in his lecture limbuterol was one which was a favourite of the eastern bloc countries actually they changed the sturcture of it slightly to clenbuterol which a former eastern german female sprinter Krabbe i think her name was (could be wrong about her name but she was very good anyway) tested positive for. However the scientists didnt really understand how it worked they just knew it proved a good result. Just thought would throw that in for a bit of extra info!
winners never have excuses
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Eamonn Flanagan
85kg lifter

Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:39 pm    Post subject: the butcher! Reply with quote

Lets not forget that Abadjiev was called the BUTCHER! And it is said that for every champion he produced there were also several cripples...

I personally think that true bulgarian training is not for everyone, in fact I think it is for the very very few. Around the period of Abadjiev's great success Bulgaria had a huge number of lifters. Abadjiev could afford to implement incredibly intense training programs: many athletes would fall by the wayside, but phenomenally difficult training would unearth a few "true" champions who were able to not only tolerate such a training load but actually benefit from it too!

In theory I agree that we should use few exercises and just those of most relevant to the competition lift... but I do not agree that these should only be the snatch, clean and jerk and squat. This might be acceptable for very very strong athletes who have been strength training all their lives and who are now elite weightlifters but for the majority of weightlifters (especially Irish weightlifters) who have probably gotten into the sport late, I dont think this would be appropriate. I think those who have gotten into the sport late, who may not be naturally ferociously strong can benefit hugely from squats, presses, pulls, etc. This will help build up strength, increase muscle mass etc that will later help the athlete manage greater training loads. I dont see these assistance exercises, when properly selected and performed correctly, violating the specificity hypothesis. For more thoughts on why I think these assistance exercises are very useful, check out the deadlifts thread:

Remember that Abadjiev was dealing with lifters who already had been doing the lifts for 10-15 years (if not more). They already had excellent strength and excellent technique. And of course do not forget that drug use may also have been an issue with tolerating the high loads.

But like you Cathal, I agree that someone can be conditioned to gradually tolerate greater and greater training loads: that is the simple premise of weight training: overload and adaptation. The question is how far can you push this tolerance, how quickly can you increase this tolerance and what are the best methods for doing so.
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just a message to all ul lifters this was the man that spawned the idea of at all costs our logo.. i certainly agree with the specificity principle in regards to doing the classic lifts as the main part of your training howevr i think that if one only performs the classic lifts there is a huge degree of injury risk. also an interesting topic that i reckon the greek lifte that peter and nat have met raised. the use of front squats over the back squat anyone got any opinions ????
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cathal byrd
69kg lifter

Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 439
Location: Limerick

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the front squat is clearly more specific to the clean than the back squat in terms of biomechanics, however i stil feel that i benefit hugely from back squat in terms of overall strength. i suppose a balance between the 2 exercises wud be best. possibly if your back squat is miles ahead of your front squat only then wud i suggest doing only fronts, and even then once your front squat is wat it shud be in relation to back squat i wud start doing back squat again. for overall strength development i tink there's no better exercise.
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Eamonn Flanagan
85kg lifter

Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Cathal, i think the back squat is unsurpassed for developing maximal strength and the movements about the joints are high specific to weightlifting (both pulls and recovery). The front squat is obviously a little more speific to the clean but I still prioritze the back squat (twice a week) over the front squat (once).

But there are still plenty of lifters out there who have been hugely successful without back squat emphasis: the greeks as have already been mentioned and I know one of the rising stars of USA weightlifting James Moser (around the 160 sn, 180 clean in 105s at 18 yrs) back squats very rarely if at all.

But I feel like these should be the exceptions rather than the rule
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