Last Updated on the July 7, 2020
Here you will learn a technique that will help you to develop your strength drastically, but it is terribly exhausting. Mainly weightlifters use it, and it is called the Bulgarian method by Ivan Abadjiev.
Since this is an advanced program, it is not for beginners. You should have an existing strength and know exactly how to perform the basic exercises correctly.
What are the basics of the Bulgarian training method?
This program was developed for professional weightlifters who spend their whole day with training. Hence, they have 2-3 workouts per a day.
There are only a few exercises in it. Since it was made for weightlifters, it includes exercises like the snatch, clean and jerk, power clean, power snatch, squat, etc. But, because we are not weightlifters, we will focus on only the deadlift, bench press, and squat, plus a few other supporting exercises.
As we only do just a few types of activities, we are going to develop quickly in strength. We will do low reps, but at a high intensity. Hence, this is not the best technique to put on muscle mass.
The Features of the original system
The athletes do all the weightlifting exercises on each of their workouts, 2-3 times a day. The logic behind is that the more you practice something, the better you will be, and that is true for sure.
Very low repetitions
Weightlifters usually do not do more than 3 reps of the competition exercises, and they only make about 5 reps for the necessary power exercises. Also, they do not do more than 8 reps for the additional exercises. The original Bulgarian system used extreme 1-2 reps.
The entire system was built on clean and jerk and snatch, and a few additional supporting exercises. We will do such few exercises as well.
The original Bulgarian system was based on doing one rep maximum a few times a week. There are times when the athletes have to do the maximum almost every day.
After reading this introduction, you may think this system is not for you. Only making one or two reps, working out every day doing the same exercises?
But this program has a lot of benefits.
- Firstly, it maximizes your power since you do the same exercises every day even more times a day. This way your technique will develop very fast.
- It is easy to plan because it is simple. You just need to plan the number of sets and reps and pick a few additional exercises. By this method, you do not fall into the trap of being lost in the activities and the irrelevant details.
- This is a minimalist training system in which you have to give your maximum each day regardless of whether you are relaxed enough or how strong you feel.
- On top of that, you are going to meet so many times with new maximums during your training that you will simply get accustomed to them. Hence, you will never be afraid of challenging yourself to use even heavier weights.
So, this is the ultimate system that turns everyone to a super athlete? Of course not, since it has its disadvantages.
- Firstly, you can learn bad habits. For example, if you do not have a proper technique for an exercise, and you do it with such a frequency, the bad technique will go so deep into your mind and body that is going to be very hard to get rid of it.
- Moreover, we have to admit that a system like this, which includes only a few type of exercises, is rather dull. It needs extraordinary monotony tolerance
- Also, in most of the cases, it does not work for building muscle mass because of the low levels of repetitions and sets.
- Last but not least, a continuous and heavy weight lifting training terribly strikes the entire nervous system.
How to integrate this system into your workout routine?
I’m sure you are not a weightlifter, but someone who goes to the gym to be stronger, so the question is how you can integrate the Bulgarian system into your workout routine?
- We only focus on basic exercises to develop the nervous system.
- We train with high frequency with this couple of chosen exercises.
- We go to the max whenever we can and divide workouts whenever it is possible.
Greater Variety: Build 3-4-week cycles where you choose the exercises you want to evolve. Train for 4 days with the exercises to be strengthened, and then on a separate day the regular 3 basic exercises for the intensity of the week. After the cycle change, and add new exercises to the main place.
RM cyclization: Each time going up to 1RM (1 reproduction max) is neurologically and physically incredibly exhaustive. Therefore, it is advisable to divide this for weeks, for example, if you have a 3-week cycle, we work 3RM for the first and second week, and on the third for 1RM.
Planned intensity variations within a week: The basic idea of the Bulgarian method is that we have to reach the maximum as many times as we can. However, for most of us, it is totally unrealistic to go the maximum on each training. Getting the maximum for twice a week is realistic for most of us. On the other days, it is enough to train with 70-90% of the maximum.
Daily Training: The most surprising part of the Bulgarian method is that requires 2-3 training sessions a day. This is not possible for most of us. Having one workout per day is enough.
Here is a sample routine.