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The Bulgarian method by Ivan Abadjiev

The Bulgarian method by Ivan Abadjiev

by in Workouts - Training techniques

last updated: May 15, 2017

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This method was devised by Bulgaria's National Weightlifting Team coach, Ivan Abadjiev, and it is considered one of the best ever conceived; its validity is proven by the fact that many nationals have adopted it to help their athletes prepare until they managed to create their own version.

The Bulgarian method, also called the "Abadjiev Method", from the Bulgarian national weight-lifting coach's name, Ivan Abadjiev, which made him one if not the most valid ever.
Several nationalities then applied their methodology and became the protagonists of the global landscape, including Greece, Turkey, Iran and China, which has developed a very similar version.

Key points:

  • training in lifting exercises which you have difficulty with each day and even twice per day
  • during each session, after a ramping, reach the ceiling on the exercise (when we talk about a ceiling, we are referring to a perfectly technical 1RM, no smudges of any kind)
  • after the ceiling, perform some sets of back offs until we reach at most 85%, for example, singles or doubles, based on the ceiling reached on that day

Exercises to do

  • complete clean & jerk
  • jerks
  • front squat

the back squat (even the jumps) was eliminated from the programme, due to the greater incidence of injuries linked to it and the specificity of the gesture, slower than the weight lifting rules; it was reintroduced into the routines (along with partial power ups such as power clean or split jerk) only if the athlete was injured.
However, this methodology is not the same for first-time athletes, whose routines, until they learn the correct technique, included partial raises and support exercises.

Why constant high-intensity training?

  • S.A.I.D. means "Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands", even adapting to a stress factor is itself a source of stress
  • constant training with high intensity loads seems to be able to increase the density of nerve impulses generated by the SNC. This means that over time, the athlete can recruit a higher percentage of muscle fibres at the highest activation threshold, and consequently significantly increase the power of execution
  • scientific research also found that type II muscle fibres through workouts near the ceiling can be converted to llb
  • the use of maximum lifting also improves both intra (synchronisation of fibres within a muscle) and inter-muscular (greater efficiency between muscles) coordination
  • it is very difficult to generate the previous improvements through multiple series because the technique degrades and the athlete is very tired even physically and therefore he or she will be less likely to manage the technique and his or her body correctly
  • through multiple series there is the risk of producing non-functional hypertrophy or sarcoplasm, without increasing the size of the actual contractile unit, with this, the sarcomer an athlete would pass into a higher weight class without a corresponding increase in power

Factors to be taken into account

  • attempts to reach the ceiling are very variable from 1 to even 10
  • there are several options for progressing in the session for example:
    1. get to the maximum and immediately get down to 80% before the progress decreases
    2. after one or more ceiling attempts, they can perform a weight drop by setting different intensities
  • often changing the order of exercises is often used to create a change of stimulus
  • change your workout frequency in one week to allow for longer recovery time

The preparation for the race provided for keeping the training intensity and thus creating an active recovery by simply playing on frequency, reducing it in the last two weeks.
For example: four sessions in the last week and then two sessions during the last week.

Abadjiev's athletes often trained with multiple sessions with 15-30 minutes of pause between two consecutive exercises, taking full advantage of the testosterone upgrade for up to 60 minutes.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, the first testosterone molecules were starting to be used as a form of doping, so perhaps this training structure was a sort of cover to justify the stressful level of the sessions.

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