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How To Become A Minimalist Monster

Two Lifts. Six Weeks. Lots of Patience.

Sounds like too much?

I thought so too, until I gave it a try.

19 Years ago, Strength author Pavel Tsastsouline wrote about a simplistic program that helped individuals acquire over forty centimeter arms in just a couple of months of training. The program later got popularized as 'The Russian Bear'.

Well, folks, you are about to witness the ultimate frontiers of minimalism. Using only two lifts for the next six (or even eight) weeks, on your path to more muscle and strength. If you have the courage and patience.

Which two lifts though? The deadlift is the obvious choice, being the total body strengthener that it is. Don't be too hung up with the conventional deadlift though. Although the standard, mixed grip deads enabled me to work the most muscle, if you can pull more numbers in the Sumo style, pull Sumo.

"Why not Squats though?" Good question:

The program calls for a high volume regimen and most trainees, me included, will suffer anterior knee irritation and pain from prolonged inclusion of this lift. The Squat, I find is a more technical lit than the deadlift. For lifters with shorter limbs and longer torsos who are more suited to squatting than deadlifting, do give the squats a try though for a week or two before embarking upon the actual program

Okay, so the deadlifts. Is that all?

Certainly not. You need a robust, upper body lift that challenges your pushing or pulling muscles amply and yet leaves enough room to progress gradually over prolonged periods of time. Presses, owing to their suitability to high volume become a great choice. I prefer Incline presses over overhead presses or conventional Bench Presses due to the middle ground that they provide. You lift heavier than the military press and you work more muscles than the Bench Press.

To Summarize, you will be performing:

1. The Incline Press
2. The Deadlift.

Here's what you do with them.

Set 1: 5 Reps with a weight that allows you to do about 7 heavy reps
Set 2: 5 Reps with 90 percent of the weight used for Set 1
Set 3 onward: Continue doing 5 rep sets with 80 percent of Set 1 weight until you can no longer do sets of 5 reps with correct technique. Start training three days a week With time, if you aren't recovering well between sessions, do not hesitate in dropping weekly frequency to two.

Don't worry. You needn't do countless sets everyday.

On a good day, you may go as high as 20 to 25 sets on the 80 percent sets. On a less than optimum day, you may have to settle with as low as 5 to 10. Nevertheless. Build up till you can go all the way up to 20 ish, before adding 5 Kg to your set 1 weight and repeat. The key point to remember is, 'Do not quit too soon.'

When you can't add anymore weight without sacrificing technique for 5 reps or you just can't perform enough sets with the 80 percent weight, which should ideally happen around the 6th week mark, wave down to a weight about 2 to 3 kilos down and continue with the same cycle. Or, switch to a completely different program.

As always, never forget the value of enough good calories and a lot of rest on a very demanding program like this. Do not be misled by the simplicity of the program since it may devastate you progressively as you advance.

That's all. A complete program with as less moving parts as you can imagine. And a huge success rate. Test your mettle with this fool proof minimalist program that will tax your entire body in no time flat and force you to expand your wardrobe with bigger shirts and jeans.

Enjoy the gains.