Friday, May 31, 2013

My Experience With Pavel Tsatsouline

Back in the day Pavel Tsatsouline and his books were the bomb. They still are to be honest. I found about him when I was reading the blog of a fitness girl who got really strong at pull-ups and dips using "his" programs. Anyway I will admit that I downloaded one of his books from the Internet through the use of torrents. I am not proud but not ashamed either. Why? Because I am not a millionaire and like Barry Bonds says:  "You all have dirt, too. All of you."

Anyway after reading Power To The People, Beyond Bodybuilding and Beyond Stretching I learnt a lot of things but at the same time I got mind fucked really hard by the "Russian ultra-secret bad ass beyond hardcore secrets." In other words - good information but all over the place. For example some chapters in Beyond Bodyduilding repeat a few times and many books have a lot of pages containing advertisement to other books.

So hardcore ! Marketing....
As far as strength is concerned I like to believe that Pavel really has good info but his size programs are beyond funny. For example the so called Bear Protocol which basically makes you do shitload of deadlifts sets is a disaster waiting to happen. The deadlift is one of those exercise you cannot fuck with and you have to respect - doing 20-30 sets as recommended by Pavel is like putting sugar in your car - stupid. The spine will get fatigued really fast and you will get hurt. Not to mention that the deadlift builds mass only in the back while the legs are not as involved - most deadlifters have skinny legs unless they perform other exercises with larger range of motion. In other words it would be wise to use that so-called Bear Protocol with exercise like rows, pull-ups, squat...etc.

Another thing that Pavel never talks about are steroids. He never even touches the subject. Want to get big? Just do more sets and eat more. That's what the Russians did. Maybe I would believe that 10 years ago but not today Pavel. Truth be told as a natural it does not matter what you do for muscle mass - every road will bring you to your genetic potential as long as you put a little effort. In some cases faster in some cases longer but in the end of the day you will not be satisfied by the way you look naturally since your mind has been brainwashed by bodybuilders and athletes on steroids. No, there are no secret Soviet training methods that will make you a swollen motherfucker. Well, there are but they are not exactly training methods.

Of course while I was educating myself reading copies of Pavel's hard work I wanted to try some kettlebells. At that point kettlebells were non-existent where I lived. None. Ok, maybe, there was 1 in the town. This problem was not so hard to overcome as I quickly realized you can do the same shit with dumbbells. Yes, the mechanics are different and kettlebells are really good for presses, front squats but in the end of the day they remain overpriced and not very practical since you cannot change the weight.

I have learnt a lot from Pavel and that's why I bough one of his books - the Naked Warrior. To be honest the book sucked because the images were too big and the main riff (tension) was repeating for the whole concert. Truth be told Pavel has caused quite a lot of paralysis by analysis due to creating fake expectations in books like Beyond Bodybuilding. Why would you want to learn about bodybuilding from someone who is not big? Seriously. People say that IFBB Pros know nothing but reality is if you want to get as big as them you will have to learn their drug protocols in order to achieve that and guys like Pavel don't know it. Want to be IFBB Pro - don't ask me how to get there ! Ask an IFBB Pro.

A lot of the information in the books of Pavel is misleading people into buying kettlebells. Want to get big? Buy kettlebells. Want to get small? Buy kettlebells. Want to get ripped? Buy kettlebells. Want to get strong ? Buy kettlebells. 

Well, no thanks.

Pavel has some really impressive collections of training knowledge coming  from other people but in the end of the day he is a marketer first, trainer second. Be careful. Comrade !


  1. I used a modified Russian Bear back in the day: squats, pullups, military presses on Monday, deads, benches and rows Wednesday, and back to squats etc. on Friday. Worked pretty well for a short while, then i hit a wall HARDCORE. So much fucking knee joint and lower back stress from heavy lifting so many sets three times per week. Terrible mass gaining program, although my strength did improve.

  2. I love your way of thinking. Straightforward and no bullshit. I'm just like that myself, and that makes alot of people take a step aside. People worry to much about how others think of them. F*** that - say what you really think and have som balls to form your own opinion and compare it to others. Just found this blog and I love it. Great job!

  3. the bear program isn't 20-30 sets but 5-20, which is a big difference. You stop once you can no longer achieve 5 reps whether that be on the 5th set or 20th. Not to failure, and for the majority of sets you use 80% of what you did for your first. 1st set is usually like a 7RM for 5 reps. DL builds mass not only in back, called a compound lift for a reason. Glutes, Hamstrings, Biceps, even quads etc. all worked as well to a certain degree

  4. But I agree that supplementing DL for rows every other workout might be a better approach - actually what im doing now. Also add in OHP and some front squats as well

    1. Ï see you are a noob. Check out my new post to find yourself.