This is called the Russian Bear muscle gain routine from Pavel Tsatsouline’s Power to the People book. The basic idea is to do high-intensity low-rep sets (i.e., 70-90% RM at 4-6 reps/set), but do many sets (i.e., 10-20 sets) per workout. Hence, the title of this post.
I’m a hard gainer with hopes of putting on weight; current body weight is 150lbs. After about six-months off from heavy barbell work, I restarted this routine yesterday and did… Deadlift 255lbs. at 4 reps for 4 sets (255lbs. is 70% of my current 360lb. deadlift one-rep-max). That was enough. The goal was for greater number of sets but with a protocol like this it is important to listen to your body and fatigue level, and know you will shoot for more in following workouts.
- High Intensity/High Percent of 1RM — Strongly stimulates central nervous system and hormone production.
- High Volume — Increases the body’s capacity to do work. That is, there is an increase in the physiological resources to repeatedly lift heavy weight.
How much physical work did I do? 255lbs. x 4sets x 4reps = 4,080lbs. = 2 tons of work. As long as I eat enough to fuel the work and sleep enough for recovery, I expect to have put on more mass once I’m physically capable of doing 8, 10, 12… plus tons of work in a given workout. The plan is for two heavy days per week. I’ll keep you posted.