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View Full Version : Pat Mendes/ John Broz


Brian Gill
04-23-2010, 09:04 PM
There has been a lot of talk around the internet about this guy squatting 350kg raw, snatching 200kg, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xFm9q1HBKY&feature=player_embedded
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6mRbQG-PL4

Here is the interview with his coach John Broz, who from what I can tell advocates a Bulgarian Style program, and makes claims such as "overtraining doesn't exist, your simply undertrained"

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=121212081

Thoughts on his training? I can't see how these guys can continue to train 2x/day, 6 days a week. Im not trying to claim there are drugs involved because Pat might just be a freak of an athlete, but how are they adhering to a program that seems like it was designed in the peak of the eastern bloc steroid era?

Derek Simonds
04-24-2010, 04:56 AM
I don't know that much about weightlifting but if he can jerk what he can clean shouldn't he be competing on the world stage? Maybe he is and I just don't know, I didn't google.

That was some impressive lifting.

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 08:15 AM
The body adapts to the training. Everyone, including Pat, started training 3x a week, gradually moving up to 7x (if they wanted), then started adding sessions when they felt they could handle it. And don't go on the assumption that fatigue is nonexistent in that gym. Everyone has bad days, everyone has amazing days, but weights lifted are ~90% range routinely but I'm sure John stops the movements once technical failure hits (especially on squats, notice Pat never really grinds them out). You adapt, and once your body becomes accustomed to the volume you get stronger.

If you want to get good at something, you're going to practice it every day to the best of your ability. Phelps trained 7 days a week, I'm sure Michael Jordan practiced as much as he possibly could, and Pat is doing the same. I've heard of lifters the day after winning their medal at the World or Olympic stage, getting right back into the gym to train twice a day, lifting heavy. They bust their asses day in, day out, and are dedicated to becoming and staying the best.

Dave Van Skike
04-24-2010, 10:02 AM
The body adapts to the training. Everyone, including Pat, started training 3x a week, gradually moving up to 7x (if they wanted), then started adding sessions when they felt they could handle it. And don't go on the assumption that fatigue is nonexistent in that gym. Everyone has bad days, everyone has amazing days, but weights lifted are ~90% range routinely but I'm sure John stops the movements once technical failure hits (especially on squats, notice Pat never really grinds them out). You adapt, and once your body becomes accustomed to the volume you get stronger.

If you want to get good at something, you're going to practice it every day to the best of your ability. Phelps trained 7 days a week, I'm sure Michael Jordan practiced as much as he possibly could, and Pat is doing the same. I've heard of lifters the day after winning their medal at the World or Olympic stage, getting right back into the gym to train twice a day, lifting heavy. They bust their asses day in, day out, and are dedicated to becoming and staying the best.

This isn't a bash @ anyone but the stuff I've read from Broz indicate that He does not believe in stopping @ a missed attempt. I've read interviews where he talks about Maxing Every Day and taking multiple max attempts that result in failure. also brian, if you watched to the end of the vid, you'll see Pat do one of the grindenest back squats i've ever seen from an Oly lifter...it was a thing of beauty/ugly.

i'm not being skeptical, honestly fascinated with the guy but i'd love to hear some first hand accounts of people in the upper age brackets instituting his approach or how someone adapted this approach to anything other than weightlifting.

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 10:17 AM
For the lifts John doesn't believe at stopping, allowing up to 6 misses but usually around 3 in training; if he sees some fire in their eyes he lets them go at it as many times as they want. Squats, he either doesn't let them miss more than 1 attempt if any. And daily maxes vary. Some days it can be a new PR, other days it's 50kg.

From what I know, Broz trains this way and has trained this way for the last 20 years, and is now a 40 year old Master lifter. If I recall he said somewhere his bests were 162 and 190 for the snatch and CJ respectively.

Brian Gill
04-24-2010, 10:39 AM
Interesting points Brian, but I think the comparison to Michael Jordan practicing everyday is a bit off. Jordan would be practicing his jumper, dribbling, and other skill aspects to his sport, hardly load bearing, super stressful activities like squatting or near max snatches (but I understand what you are getting at).

But you may be right though in terms of other elite olympic lifters. I'm not up on the day to day training of Oly lifters but if the majority are training like this and recovering and making gains, then I'm a lot further behind than I thought! haha

Another thing is the "bad days". I've had days where Im rested and recovered but still had bad technical days in the weight room. But his bad days seem to be fatigue related so shouldn't these days be recovery days for his athletes. (Once again Im not trying to bash his coaching and training, Im just very interested in some other insight to it)

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 10:53 AM
That's exactly right, bad days are just the body's way of making you take it easy in order to help recovery. It's like an active recovery day. As John's coach, Antonio Krastev says: "you can always lift the bar." If you haven't noticed, ABG's lifters are pretty technically sound, John is coaching them the right movements and technical proficiency. Like I said, he doesn't make these guys lift with bad technique.

Dave Van Skike
04-24-2010, 11:23 AM
have either of you talked with him? met anyone training under him?
i read, again i think it was an interview, where he advocated this approach for strongman/PL/ etc.

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 11:54 AM
I've spoken to him several times about all this.

Dave Van Skike
04-24-2010, 12:06 PM
I've spoken to him several times about all this.

What did he say about applying this approach to other strength sports?

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 12:59 PM
I don't know, never asked him about anything but lifting. However, his one lifter, Rob, plays football (redshirts for UNLV) and does lifting. From what I know he runs a fast 40 and nearly a 40" vertical. He does football training during the day and then lifts later in the evening, but John adjusts everything according to what he did during football.

His lifters do do pulls from time to time, along with other exercises from time to time, but he likes to stick with the meat and potatoes (snatch, CJ, squats, variations).

Dave Van Skike
04-24-2010, 01:35 PM
I don't know, never asked him about anything but lifting. However, his one lifter, Rob, plays football (redshirts for UNLV) and does lifting. From what I know he runs a fast 40 and nearly a 40" vertical. He does football training during the day and then lifts later in the evening, but John adjusts everything according to what he did during football.

His lifters do do pulls from time to time, along with other exercises from time to time, but he likes to stick with the meat and potatoes (snatch, CJ, squats, variations).

too bad. he said some stuff i thought might be hyperbole but would be interesting to see how far he carries it. maybe he's onto something and everyone in SM/PL should train like Siders.

Donald Lee
04-24-2010, 02:38 PM
too bad. he said some stuff i thought might be hyperbole but would be interesting to see how far he carries it. maybe he's onto something and everyone in SM/PL should train like Siders.

He talks a lot about applying his methods to Powerlifting, not sure about Strongman, in that BB.com thread.

Geoffrey Thompson
04-24-2010, 07:59 PM
For the lifts John doesn't believe at stopping, allowing up to 6 misses but usually around 3 in training; if he sees some fire in their eyes he lets them go at it as many times as they want. Squats, he either doesn't let them miss more than 1 attempt if any. And daily maxes vary. Some days it can be a new PR, other days it's 50kg.

From what I know, Broz trains this way and has trained this way for the last 20 years, and is now a 40 year old Master lifter. If I recall he said somewhere his bests were 162 and 190 for the snatch and CJ respectively.

I saw him say that he took up with Krastev when he was 29, which would be a little over a decade.

Brian DeGennaro
04-24-2010, 08:47 PM
My bad then, I guess he has been lifting a total of 20 years, not using this system specifically for that time.

Gavin Harrison
04-24-2010, 09:59 PM
What did he say about applying this approach to other strength sports?

Powerlifter- the same approach I take now and do it with the 3 lifts, but the bench would only be 3x/week. smaller muscles need a bit more time.

Strongman - I would train just like we do except drop the snatches and add power clean with push presses. 2/wk I would do grip work- no more than that. 2x/mo I would do the actual strongman exercises until getting close to a meet when I would focus more on volume and not on maximum lifts for the aerobic benefit needed for those meets.

That thread has a ton of info on the way he trains and recommends others train. I read it through, front to back, it's insane. Unfortunately, Iron Addict made personal attacks on Broz and it kinda threw Broz back into hiding from the internet and just doing his thing in his gym :(

Other points from the thread:

1. He doesn't believe in overtraining, only undertraining. Overtraining is part of the adaptation towards being awesomely strong. He refers to what others call overtraining as the "Dark Time" when your strength goes down and you feel like shit. To him, there's light at the end of the tunnel, and when you start making PRs in a completely fatigued state, you know you're getting somewhere.

2. He expects his gym to be a highly competitive gym on the world/olympic level within the next 2-3 years.

3. Back squats are stupid easy, and if you need to do more work without taxing yourself to much, do back squats.

4. Back Squats are generally better than Front Squats. Front squats limiting factor is always the upper back, never the legs.

5. However, front squats carry over to the clean, yay. BS carry over to the snatch more.

6. Squatting heavy should be as easy and natural as walking.

7. Something will hurt. Always. And you'll never know what it will be until you wake up in the morning.

8. If you're tired, train. If you hurt, train. If you have free time, train. If you're injured, go to the ER. If you're not injured, train.

9. Work up to a max, back of 10-20kg and do 2's or 3's to get to 30-50 reps total for the workout. Percents are BS.

10. More volume = more adaptation. Train more.

11. He's made over 50 attempts in a single workout before hitting a new PR.

12. There will never be a day when you walk in the gym and can't lift the bar. If it's one of those days, lift the bar... a lot.

13. Every time you train that's a +. Every day you don't train, that's a -.

14. Assistance work is over rated, unless you're bench pressing, then balancing the shoulder is important. Also, push press is better than press.

15. His lifters only do light presses, and only if their elbows hurt. Elbows don't hurt, no more pressing.

16. Start out by training 3 times a week, maxing every workout. Add another day, until you're up to 7, as soon as possible. Then work up to maxing every workout. Then add 2x/day.

17. Assistance work is overrated, unless you're training the upper body, particularly with bench presses. In this case, do rows, pull ups, etc to stretch the front of your body and provide balance.

18. Don't bench more than 3x/week. Limit deadlifting, the lower back recovers poorly.

19. If you get pinned by a snatch, you get laughed out of the gym. Or chained to the squat rack for a month.

20. Once you start training this way, you're almost never sore.

I kind of like the idea behind the training, tons of practice, not being sore, auto-regulation, etc. The limiting factor it would seem is time. If you're not AMAZINGLY dedicated (WL not your top priority), you're not going to be able to spend 2-3 hours in a gym 2x/day. The ideas of training economy, abbreviated training, etc, are completely thrown out in this approach. The thread responses by Broz are very good and interesting, imo.

Dave Van Skike
04-25-2010, 10:01 AM
That thread has a ton of info on the way he trains and recommends others train. I read it through, front to back, it's insane. Unfortunately, Iron Addict made personal attacks on Broz and it kinda threw Broz back into hiding from the internet and just doing his thing in his gym :(

Other points from the thread:

1. He doesn't believe in overtraining, only undertraining. Overtraining is part of the adaptation towards being awesomely strong. He refers to what others call overtraining as the "Dark Time" when your strength goes down and you feel like shit. To him, there's light at the end of the tunnel, and when you start making PRs in a completely fatigued state, you know you're getting somewhere.

2. He expects his gym to be a highly competitive gym on the world/olympic level within the next 2-3 years.

3. Back squats are stupid easy, and if you need to do more work without taxing yourself to much, do back squats.

4. Back Squats are generally better than Front Squats. Front squats limiting factor is always the upper back, never the legs.

5. However, front squats carry over to the clean, yay. BS carry over to the snatch more.

6. Squatting heavy should be as easy and natural as walking.

7. Something will hurt. Always. And you'll never know what it will be until you wake up in the morning.

8. If you're tired, train. If you hurt, train. If you have free time, train. If you're injured, go to the ER. If you're not injured, train.

9. Work up to a max, back of 10-20kg and do 2's or 3's to get to 30-50 reps total for the workout. Percents are BS.

10. More volume = more adaptation. Train more.

11. He's made over 50 attempts in a single workout before hitting a new PR.

12. There will never be a day when you walk in the gym and can't lift the bar. If it's one of those days, lift the bar... a lot.

13. Every time you train that's a +. Every day you don't train, that's a -.

14. Assistance work is over rated, unless you're bench pressing, then balancing the shoulder is important. Also, push press is better than press.

15. His lifters only do light presses, and only if their elbows hurt. Elbows don't hurt, no more pressing.

16. Start out by training 3 times a week, maxing every workout. Add another day, until you're up to 7, as soon as possible. Then work up to maxing every workout. Then add 2x/day.

17. Assistance work is overrated, unless you're training the upper body, particularly with bench presses. In this case, do rows, pull ups, etc to stretch the front of your body and provide balance.

18. Don't bench more than 3x/week. Limit deadlifting, the lower back recovers poorly.

19. If you get pinned by a snatch, you get laughed out of the gym. Or chained to the squat rack for a month.

20. Once you start training this way, you're almost never sore.

I kind of like the idea behind the training, tons of practice, not being sore, auto-regulation, etc. The limiting factor it would seem is time. If you're not AMAZINGLY dedicated (WL not your top priority), you're not going to be able to spend 2-3 hours in a gym 2x/day. The ideas of training economy, abbreviated training, etc, are completely thrown out in this approach. The thread responses by Broz are very good and interesting, imo.

thanks gavin. i think there's a guy over at PB who has talked with Broz as well. Might ping him and see if he comes up with anyhting more nuanced.

Denver Buchanan
05-03-2010, 04:25 PM
Link to another good thread, lots of reading.

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=122395951

Emily Mattes
05-04-2010, 04:33 PM
All I can say is that there can be merits to making a repeated max attempt, especially if your strength outstrips the lift . . . I finally made a 65 snatch last weekend, it took two hours and probably well over 40 attempts as well as lowering the weight and working it back up twice but it happened at the end. Olympic lifting is a long sport that takes a while to master but there are moments to go for broke.

Arden Cogar Jr.
05-06-2010, 12:20 PM
All I can say is that there can be merits to making a repeated max attempt, especially if your strength outstrips the lift . . . I finally made a 65 snatch last weekend, it took two hours and probably well over 40 attempts as well as lowering the weight and working it back up twice but it happened at the end. Olympic lifting is a long sport that takes a while to master but there are moments to go for broke.

Wow! Was that Victor approved? :D

But, seriously, great work.

There is a lot to be said for volume and adaptation. I believe it works best for those that are young and have more time on their hands. I would have loved to train in this fashion when I was in college and high school for that matter. But alas, all I knew at that time came from Muscle and Fitness.

All the best,
Arden

Garrett Smith
05-06-2010, 03:44 PM
8. If you're tired, train. If you hurt, train. If you have free time, train. If you're injured, go to the ER. If you're not injured, train.
Hyperbole...one can only hope.

Brian DeGennaro
05-06-2010, 03:50 PM
Yes, lots of hyperbole. All of his lifters train with him because he is there and because they want to. Basically he means you can always do something, so there are no excuses.

Denver Buchanan
05-06-2010, 03:59 PM
But alas, all I knew at that time came from Muscle and Fitness.


I know exactly what you mean. My freshman year in college, my friends and I must have wasted untold hours reading that magazine.

A few years later and wiser, we began referring to it as "Muscle and Fiction".

Emily Mattes
05-06-2010, 04:06 PM
Wow! Was that Victor approved? :D



Hahaha, I am pretty sure if I had not made that snatch in the end he would've given up on me! He was still not happy about the whole thing but maybe the PR made up for it? :D

Dave Van Skike
05-06-2010, 04:35 PM
Hyperbole...one can only hope.

when i was cycling it was, "miles on the bike is money on the bank" it's a a question of proportion and intensity. but still...it all helps.

I think one of the quotes is," the day will never come that you can't lift the bar"
same idea. if you want to get stronger, do something towards that goal every single day.

Derek Weaver
05-06-2010, 07:20 PM
Along the same lines of Dan Gable's idea of "if something is important, do it everyday" idea?

Dave Van Skike
05-06-2010, 08:21 PM
Along the same lines of Dan Gable's idea of "if something is important, do it everyday" idea?

that's been ringing in my head all week. i've squatted every day, sometimes twice and if it's wrong i don't want to be right.

seriously, i'm trying to change up my squat stance and this was the best way i could figure to do it.

Donald Lee
05-06-2010, 09:52 PM
that's been ringing in my head all week. i've squatted every day, sometimes twice and if it's wrong i don't want to be right.

seriously, i'm trying to change up my squat stance and this was the best way i could figure to do it.

But what about mixing up the intensity? You can still squat everyday and not have to max out everyday.

I think they said that the Bulgarian lifters who were tested had adrenal glands something like 11x as large as normal adrenal glands.

I have also read about a study they did on American lifters who were introduced to Bulgarian-style maxing everyday. They eventually got used to the stress, but once they took some time off (I think it was a week or two), they started feeling sluggish and overtrained. When they started lifting again, their bodies were aching and still felt overtrained.

I've experienced a similar phenomena the two times I went to OCS. You start to adapt to maxing out everyday. I had some strength drop off due to all the endurance work and lack of sleep, but my endurance improved both times. Then, I'd come home and rest about 4-7 days, and it would take me 1+ months before I could exercise again without pain (i.e., aching joints, weak/heavy muscles).

Just something to think about...

Blair Lowe
05-06-2010, 10:28 PM
Ever hear the addage that every day out of the gym, it takes two to get you back to where you were?

Take a week off and it will take 2 to get back...and so forth. I see this every day at the gym when a kid or parents decides to take a day off here, then another one there, and then let's go on a trip here, etc. Guess which kids don't progress.

Donald Lee
05-06-2010, 10:40 PM
Ever hear the addage that every day out of the gym, it takes two to get you back to where you were?

Take a week off and it will take 2 to get back...and so forth. I see this every day at the gym when a kid or parents decides to take a day off here, then another one there, and then let's go on a trip here, etc. Guess which kids don't progress.

What I'm talking about is not what you're talking about. You don't experience overtraining symptoms with what you're talking about. You can get major DOMS and want to sleep like 10 hours, but that's not the same thing.

Plus, taking a week or two off can be good for you. It's probably better if you do something physical during that time though.

Dave Van Skike
05-06-2010, 11:20 PM
Don, i'll max maybe once this week, probably a rep max or something. .I'm not doing anyhting too complicated. I'm just practicing the lift, two-a-days some days. Other days i'll just run up to a single at 405 and then bail. taking it pretty slow right now,This is pretty much how i trained before i "knew how" to train...it's good to be back at it. simple simple simple. the beginner's mind.

Daniel Gam
05-09-2010, 06:56 PM
some of you may have already read this but starting on page 4 of this thread, glenn posts multiple times concerning the bulgarian style of training, which, at least for me, answered a lot of questions

http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=55034&page=4
wfs

Donald Lee
05-28-2010, 10:56 AM
This whole Broz/Bulgarian thing is being discussed on these two boards:

http://www.reactivetrainingsystems.com/new-forum/view-postlist/forum-1-discussion-forum/topic-275-bulgarian-training

http://www.pendlayforum.com/showthread.php?t=2373

Brian DeGennaro
05-29-2010, 05:05 AM
Broz just released a website if anyone is interested.

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/ABG.html

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2010, 09:40 AM
Broz just released a website if anyone is interested.

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/ABG.html

thanks brian.