Pick up any health or fitness magazine and thumb through the pages. It shouldn’t take you long to find articles about building strength, gaining muscle mass, or losing weight. Then take your search to the internet, and you’ll find an almost unlimited number of ways to get stronger and faster, and develop a head-turning physique.
But if you’re like most people, it’s easy to find yourself trying to digest one workout after another, and never really master any of the techniques or lifts. Especially if the lifts, routines, or exercises appear to be to complicated to follow. And that’s one of the reasons Pavel Tsatsouline created Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American.
In this book, Pavel takes an old-school Soviet-style approach to teaching you how to build muscle and develop the kind of strength that karate masters, special forces soldiers, and strongmen are known for. Pavel Tsatsouline is the creator of a wide range of strength training workouts based on principles he developed as a fitness trainer for the Russian Special Forces.
Power to the People! is based on performing two essential lifts: the deadlift and the barbell side press.
Pavel begins by introducing you to some of the strongmen of yesteryear and the incredible feats of strength they were capable of. And then he dives into explaining how your body can learn to lift seriously heavy objects like a car, in addition to heavy weights. Power to the People! is based on maximizing muscle tension with progressive workouts that teach your body how to handle heavier loads.
He takes some time to discuss some of the misconceptions about heavy weight strength training. And he makes a case for building strength by following a workout program based on heavy weights, low reps, and adequate rest. And he offers up his opinion on all those weight machines at the gym and the common bodybuilder approach to isolation exercises designed to target specific muscles. It’s a bit of an understatement to say he’s not a fan of weight machines, or isolation exercises. And he makes that clear with some dry Soviet-style sarcasm and humor throughout the book.
When Pavel finally gets to the actual exercise part of the program, you may be surprised that it’s based solely on two exercises. The barbell side press and the deadlift. At first glance, it might seem too simplistic to build muscle and strength with only these two exercises.
But if you take a second look at all those fitness and muscle magazines, you’ll be reminded that there are many, many ways to build muscle and strength, burn fat, lose weight, and change your body.
Pavel provides solid instructions about how to perform these two lifts and all there many variations. Even though it’s a bare-bones style workout, these compound lifts engage most muscle groups in the body. And that’s a proven way to achieve your fitness goals. But Power to the People! Is anything but easy. Stick to the program, and Pavel will have you turning your workout into a single-one-rep max marathon that will hammer your body like a Soviet-era chisel chipping away at a cement block.
The basic program calls for logging two sets of deadlifts and two sets of barbell side presses five days a week. And he offers up a wide range of variations to keep these two exercises fresh and interesting and keep your body and muscles guessing as to what’s next.
With only two exercises to perform, Power to the People! is a simple exercise program to follow that can be completed in five short workouts a week.
You’ll need to go to the gym or buy your own barbell and weights to follow the Power to the People! program.
You can develop incredible strength and muscle endurance and improve your body composition with Power to the People! but you’ve got to be willing to get to the gym, or invest in your own set of barbells and weights. If you’re a bodyweight training purist, Power to the People! might be a good diversion from your usual workouts, but only for a while. You might follow this program for 4 to 8 weeks, and then return to bodyweight training. Because Power to the People! will no doubt make you stronger and improve the strength you need to perform more advanced bodyweight exercises.