Pavel Tsatsouline was born in Novosibirsk, Russia. He studied at the University of St Petersburg where he earned a degree in sports science. After graduation he worked as a trainer with various Russian teams until he started working full time as a coach for Crossfitters. He currently coaches Crossfit athletes from all over the world including many US Olympic medalists. You may have heard of him because of his book “The Strongest Shall Survive” which is credited with popularizing the CrossFit movement.
Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet weightlifter who became one of the most well known proponents of the Bulgarian Weight Training System (BST). He has been featured in numerous books and articles about weightlifting, including several editions of Men’s Health magazine.
His name has become synonymous with strength training worldwide.
In 2009, Tsatsouline published a book titled “The Strongest Shall Survive”, which is credited with popularizing the CrossFit movement. The book details his experiences coaching elite level American football players and describes how they improved their performance while using the Bulgarian system of weight training.
Tsatsouline’s ideas are based on a combination of Eastern European weightlifting theories and American football principles. He believes that strength is not just physical endurance but mental toughness as well.
He has described the three main principles of his theory as:
1. Train for strength to increase your physical performance
2. Train with sub-maximal weights to avoid injury and allow for long-term training
3. Train using lots of repetition to cultivate maximum athletic endurance
In his book, he describes that these three principles are the most effective way to train. These three ideas are also at the core of the CrossFit program.
The main idea of training for strength is focused on performing exercises slowly and with proper form in order to maximize your muscle gains. This helps improve an athlete’s skill, endurance, and overall body composition.
The second idea of training with sub-maximal weights is used to avoid injury and allow the athlete to build up their strength. It is essential to train for endurance in order to improve your overall strength.
By training with lighter weights at higher repetition, it gives the muscles a chance to adapt while avoiding complications from overuse or improper lifting technique.
The final idea of training with lots of repetition is the most important in terms of athletic endurance. This is what sets the CrossFit program apart from other strength training routines, where long distance running or high-intensity interval training are used to improve cardiovascular endurance.
To become a stronger athlete, you must be able to perform your given skill for long periods of time; CrossFitters believe that through the correct weight training methods, this level of endurance can be achieved.
Tsatsouline states that strength training can be dangerous for amateur athletes because improper technique or over-training can lead to injury. He claims his system of weight training is the best way to prevent those injuries and give athletes the tools they need to stay safe.
What are some common Crossfit Workouts?
Although there is no specific Crossfit Workout, there are several common exercises that many Crossfitters like to perform on a regular basis.
Pull-ups: You’ll often hear someone mention they’re going to go do some pull-ups. Pull-ups are 1 part of several Common Crossfit Workouts.
Most gyms have a place where you can hang and do pull-ups, this Alternatively, you can buy a bar that mounts on your door frame. Take a look at the photo below to see how to put it on your door.
Push-ups: Push-ups are a body weight exercise that can help build muscle in your arms, chest, and shoulders. Many Crossfitters like to perform push-ups on their knuckles to work their arms and chest more.
To do this, simply place your hands on the floor with your fingers pointing forward. Then, tuck your thumbs behind your fingers so only the knuckles of your hand touch the floor. See the photo below to see what this looks like.
Squats: Every Crossfitter’s legs are definitely stronger for all the squats they do. Most Crossfit gyms have a bar that goes across two poles where you can hang from and then squat up and down.
There are also many different types of bars you can use to hang from if your gym doesn’t have one. See the photos below to see two examples.
Burpees: These suck. From a standing position, you go down into a squat, put your hands on the floor in front of you, jump your feet behind you into a plank position, do a push-up, jump up with your legs straight into the air, and then return your feet to the same squat position you started in.
Then stand up. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add a push-up between each rep of the burpee.
What is the Crossfit Open?
The Crossfit Open is a yearly competition that takes place in every Crossfit gym in the world over five weeks. Everyone from professional Crossfit athletes to people who’ve just started doing Crossfit compete. There are five different workouts you’ll be required to complete; each will rank you against everyone else who’s done that workout, and the top score for each gets crowned as that weeks winner.
How do I get involved?
Anyone can join the Open! Some of the workouts will be too difficult for some people, but you’ll never know unless you try. Make sure you find a Crossfit gym and talk to them about signing up. Remember that if you do sign up, you need to complete the workouts in order and you only have five weeks to complete them; they’re not meant to be done all at once.
You can read more about how the Open works on the official Crossfit website.
This Crossfit stuff looks pretty hard, is it for me?
Some people think Crossfit is only for professional athletes or people trying to become professional athletes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a workout plan designed for everyone. You can do a little or a lot, it’s up to you. You’ll get better as you go and see results in both your fitness level and your strength.
Sources & references used in this article:
Inside the Box: How CrossFit® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body by TJ Murphy – 2012 – books.google.com
CrossFit effectiveness on fitness levels and demonstration of successful program objectives by JC Herz – 2015 – Harmony
The Effect of CrossFit vs. Resistance Training on Aerobic, Anaerobic, and Musculoskeletal Fitness by C Jeffery – 2012 – search.proquest.com
The effect of vitamin d supplementation on skeletal muscle in the mdx mouse model of duchenne muscular dystrophy by DK Mcweeny – 2019 – era.library.ualberta.ca
High-Intensity Interval Training and the WPI Community by DA Debruin, N Andreacchio, ED Hanson, CA Timpani… – Sports, 2019 – mdpi.com
Maximizing Minimal Green Space: Re-thinking land use on Coast Guard Bases by AD Rutfield, BT Walker, CH Clark, RC McNamara… – 2012 – digitalcommons.wpi.edu
A MOTION CAPTURE FRAMEWORK TO ENCOURAGE CORRECT EXECUTION OF SPORT EXERCISES by L Rasmussen – 2013 – repository.arizona.edu