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Power to the People! Table of Contents


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Table of Contents

Power to the People!
Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
by Pavel Tsatsouline


Wired for power: superstrength without bulk

How to install a 'muscle software' upgrade into your nervous system and improve your strength and muscle tone….Why the fascination with bodybuilding has led to a decline in effective strength training…. Futuristic techniques which enable you to squeeze more horsepower out of your body-engine.

Tension! What force is made of

How tension generates force…..How to maximize muscular tension for traffic-stopping muscular definition…The five keys to high tension training…The inverse relationship between velocity and strength….Flexing to maximize tension…The function of the mechanoreceptors in regulating strength….Using Henneman's size principle to maximize muscular recruitment....Why high values of fatigue and tension are mutually exclusive.

Training to failure–or to success?

Why the strongest men and women in the world have never trained to failure….Why intensity is the single most important factor in strength training….The fallacy of 'pushing to the limit'…The only scientific definition of weight training intensity….. Pushing the limits of weight/tension, not reps/exhaustion…..Why training to muscle failure is counterproductive… Greasing the neural groove using the Hebbian rule.

Don't water down your strength with reps and fatigue!

How to minimize various types of fatigue and get the most out of your strength training…

How to ensure high energy after your workout….Why performing more than five reps per set hinders strength development….Why you need to increase the rest intervals between sets….Why it's best to do only two sets….Why you need to pause and relax between reps…How build greater ligament strength by "locking and loading"….Surprising advice on how often to practice a lift for optimal gains.

More low rep advantages

Three reasons why heavy low rep training is the safest way to lift…. Why the stabilizing muscles are prematurely fatigued during high-rep sets…. Why most serious injuries occur during fatigued states….Why bodybuilders suffer from more pec tears than powerlifters….the significance of concentration for injury prevention…Low reps for a better quality of life…Why heavy low reps can have a tonic, energizing effect on the nervous system.

Rigor mortis or why high reps failed to tone you up

Why going for the 'burn' doesn't work….What is 'real' muscle tone and how do you get it?…..building muscular tension from neurological activity, not energy exhaustion….Increasing muscle tone through a more alert nervous system…Why strength and tone training is the same thing….why deadlifts work best for steel glutes…How to get maximum definition in your triceps…Why training heavy is the best way to get ripped….

"But I don't want to bulk up!"

Why lifting heavy doesn't have to translate into bulking up….What makes a biceps grow?…. How to get stronger and harder without getting bigger…minimizing muscular tear-down and reconstruction…. Increasing your muscles' packing density….Why a denser muscle is a harder muscle.

"Machines are the wusses' way out"

Why it's safer to use free weights than machines…..And why using the strength built on an exercise machine is like shooting a cannon from a canoe….How machines create micro-trauma, pattern overload and eventual injury….Why the Soviet Olympic teams considered free weights their best chance for winning a Gold.

Isolation exercises, Frankenstein's choice

The dangers of isolation exercises….Paying attention to the kinetic chain for optimal performance…The importance of building inter-muscular coordination for functional strength….Why deadlifts can help you run faster and jump higher.

Irradiation: the science of getting strong and hard with only two exercises

The Sherrington Law of Irradiation……The neural 'turn on'…. How a hard-working muscle can cheerlead its neighbors into amplifying their strength….Why compound exercises are more effective strength builders than isolation moves…Designing a superior efficiency strength workout…. Starting a chain reaction and bringing every muscle in your body into play…..portrait of the deadlifter as supreme muscleman…Why the deadlift is THE exercise of choice for everyone, from computer geek to Olympic athlete…..Why the deadlift is more effective than the squat…. How the deadlift strengthens the lower back, traps, scapulae retractors, lats, forearms, and hamstrings….Why the deadlift may be the best abdominal exercise, bar none…..How to develop your pressing prowess….How to correctly perform the side press.

How to emphasize your problem areas without adding exercises

How to shape your body with only two exercises….Why you cannot reshape an individual muscle….Why genetics makes a difference…. Tweaking the basic drill to shift a lion's share of the load to your problem area…Specializing on your weakness while working the rest of your muscles adequately—without adding exercises.

How to become a bear: a Soviet commando's muscle building secret

If you want massive muscles and awesome strength….How a Russian trooper was able to sport sixteen inch arms-of-steel in just two months of training—and go on to lift 40-50 tons every workout…How compression of rest intervals promotes growth hormone production and maximizes testosterone

Last three pieces of the big biceps puzzle

How to build huge muscles on a program of deadlifts and presses only….What, how and when to eat for maximum gains….The importance of rest….Why you need to reduce stress to protect your gains—and how to do it best.

Virtual masculinity, or "Can I get built up with a very light weight by pumping my muscles up?"

'Muscle spinning', 'fake' muscle growth and the Potemkin village phenomenon….The two types of muscle growth—which one maximizes strength and makes you rock hard.

On variety, soreness, and keeping things in focus

How the rebound phenomenon affects your strength program….Mastering the magic of effective exercise variation….The danger of switching routines….The importance of focused superhuman effort….How to remain relatively free of muscle soreness…..The benefits of simplicity over complexity.

Cycling: the Russian breakthrough for continuous improvement (and an excuse to work hard part time)

The fallacy of the Milo myth…..The pitfalls of over-prolonged training….Making improvements through reduction….Periodization or cycling—a revolutionary approach to strength training…..How to make gains year after year….Why 'softening up' can reward you with new strength breakthroughs…The ultimate formula for strength…..How to gain beyond your wildest dreams—with less chance of injury….How to avoid burnout….How to perform the Linear Cycle for new personal records….. Wave cycling and dealing with gaps in your training….The Flexible Wave Cycle….. The Structured Wave Cycle…. The Step Five Cycle.

Hyperirradiation: how to boost your strength and safety at the same time

How to hack into nature's neural software to maximize strength training effectiveness and efficiency….The reflex arc for easier, safer deadlifts….How to milk irradiation for all its strength amplifying worth.…..Hyperirradiation—the high intensity, immediate gratification technique for massive strength gains…How to increase your bench press by ten pounds overnight… Three 'Anti-isolation' techniques for added strength and greater workout safety….How Japanese sanchin techniques can add power and stability to your training….The importance of full tension….How to avoid dissipating your strength…The three greatest benefits of hyperirradiation.

Hard abs + strong hands = powerful body

Stimulating the forearm musculature for enhanced lifting ability….The importance of grip strength….. Avoiding ligament damage and carpal tunnel syndrome…..Abs—the weak link limiting everyone's performance…How flexing the abs amplifies the power of your lift.

Power breathing: the karate secret of superstrength

How to elevate intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic pressure for additional power….The pneumo-muscular reflex……How to potentiate 'muscle excitability' for further strength gains….How to safely hold your breath for greater lifting power—and when the Valsalva maneuver may be contraindicated…..Why you shouldn't wear a lifting belt…..The best-ever ab exercise?…..Avoiding back injuries and hernias…..Increasing your overall strength with the pneumo-muscular reflex….Rectal sphincter contraction for amplifying strength…. The eight most effective breathing habits for lifting weights.

Slow and steady wins the race

How to simultaneously maximize training effect, safety, and performance….The benefits of slowness.…Why gymnasts have the most spectacular muscular definition…Why ballistic cheating is a loser's game….Straining and grinding for maximum lifts….How the firing rate burst can turn you into a lifting crash-and-burn victim….How gunning the weight can kill your lift….Super slow for massive go…..Teaching your nervous system how not to give up.

Feed-forward tension—how to acquire the strength of the mentally deranged

Frantz's Third Commandment of Powerlifting…..How to trick your feed-back loop and surge to new strength gains….Pulling the brake from under your gas pedal…..Disinhibition training, the hottest new direction in strength training……Employing feed-forward tension to maximum advantage…. How 'virtual lifting' builds strength…..How to successfully ignore reality….Using internalization as a secret weapon in strength training.

Pre-tension for max power and safety

Maximal flexing of the muscles for greater strength and safety…. The three types of contraction and which gives the highest values of tension….The secret that separates elite athletes from 'also-rans'.

Successive induction: how to get a strong biceps by contracting your triceps

Why antagonist pre-tensing, or successive induction, contributes lasting changes to your strength….. successive induction for superior joint stabilization and reduced joint stress.

On shoes, gloves and mirrors

Less strength, more injuries—why it's better not to wear shoes when you lift—and what to wear if you have to…. Achieving a power boost with the positive support reaction…..sensitizing the extensor reflex receptors for heavier lifts…Why wearing gloves weakens your presses….Why mirror-gazing can be the difference between mediocrity and greatness….Blindfolded lifting for developing superior 'muscle-joint sense' and better body awareness.

Power stretching

Becoming super strong and living to tell about it….Speeding recovery and reducing injury with power stretching….Increasing muscle growth 334%—with progressively more intense stretching…. 9.4% strength increases using Loaded Passive Stretches between sets….

Why Eastern European sports scientists consider stretching a form of strength training…. The importance of Shutdown Threshold Isometrics and Fascial Stretching.

The drills

Forging your body into an off-planet rock….The only equipment you need…..Loading correctly…..Performing a deadlift correctly….Grip, posture, breathing….How to lower the weight….The five keys to an impeccable deadlift….. The Sumo Deadlift for steel glutes….

The Modified Romanian Deadlift for stronger hamstrings and granite calves…. The Duck Deadlift off a Platform for eye-popping quads…. The Snatch Pull for rock hard lats and upper back…..The Clean Pull for exceptional hand and forearm strength….The Deadlift Lockout for midsection, traps, and grip emphasis…. The Side Press—seven reasons to make it the press of choice…. The Floor Press for pec emphasis…. The Curl Grip Floor Press for biceps and lateral triceps emphasis—and for fixing wrecked shoulders….. The Barbell Curl—for those who insist.

The Power to the People! Manifesto

Getting back to the basics—the Holy Grail of true power and strength…..Power to the People!, a 'simplex' approach to strength training….the no frills power formula for everyone….On brutally effective essentials—Bruce Lee's final word.