Meanwhile in Russia …
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Update 14.05.2015: Thanks to reader Nyah we have a translation.
Kirill Sarychev (KS): Hello, Friends. Today, I would like to present my guest and friend Konstantin Konstantinov. We decided to record a video and ask him some interesting questions and unveil some trade secrets he has.
Hello, Kostya. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. I would just like to talk with you a bit.
My first question is from me. When you arrived you asked me to get some sand paper and why did you so tightly pack the knurling on the bar with magnesium?
Konstantin Konstantinov (KK): I will share this little secret with you. Many who have done deadlifts have encountered the problems of the bar rolling out of their hands when they approach their final capacity. The hands tear up, you get blood on your hands. It’s all very unpleasant. This is due to the knurling of the bar. The Texas bar is a great bar, very nice to do deadlifts with, however, the knurling is brutal. And a fresh bar will tear off your skin just like that. Many experienced this when we were competing in Australia (ed. 2014?) and the first day, hardly any lifter could complete their third lift. The second day, when we got a hold of it, it was alright because it had been done in a bit.
KS: Yeah, I remember how it felt nice in my hands. I even felt that my grip was stronger.
KK: Yes, of course. I have had the professional Leoko bar for fifteen years now. I have studied how it works very well. A new bar will tear up your hands. This is why I asked you to get sand paper. I used it to wear the knurling down a bit. This saved you probably three years of training and use with bar hands and it was ready to go. Many looked at me with strange glances, but it had to be done. Thank you for understanding. And you see how well everything turned out.
KS: I would like you to share with us a secret that you told me approximately two years ago. The IV you use. What is it, and how should it be used?
KK: Yes, this is a very important part of my training for competition. I was taught this method by the head doctor of the Latvian Olympic team. A very competent man. I have been using this regularly for years now. This is not illegal, it is not doping. All the ingredients needed can be acquired in a regular apothecary, without a prescription.
You need Ringer’s Solution, for its salt content. You can use regular medical water, too, but it does not have the salts which are so important for our bodies. It also has Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and Natrium which are all very important for us.
KS: How come salts are so important?
KK: Let me explain. It’s simple. We are told that it is very important to drink a lot of water. The body is largely made up of water. It is important. Very important. For example, for a bodyweight like Kirill has –170-180kg– you need 6-8l of water/day.
KS: Just water? Not protein shakes, soft drinks and stuff like that?
KK: Just water. Pure water. Because there are a lot of drinks that will bind the water to themselves and take it out of your body. Take coffee or thé, for example, or anything that contains caffeine, really. One cup will make you lose up to 0.5l of water. Therefore, you need to drink pure water in addition to everything else. At least 3-4l per day. However, don’t forget about mineral water because it contains salts which you need. Almost all the water I drink, I add mineral solutions to which are available at your local sports supplement store. Also, I would like to bring your attention to the important pharmaceutical supplements Panangin and Rehydron. The first one is Magnesium and Potassium, the latter also has glucose added to it. You get a 1.5l bottle of water, add the Rehydron, off to do your training, get sweaty, you drink the Ryhydron solution and you are reestablish the electrolyte levels in your body.
KS: I realized how important this is when I was Australia. It was very hot down there and I did not use any of these supplements and I remember how I was walking around, getting very sweaty and when I was ready to do the deadlift I realized that my triceps and press was contracting spasmatically. This caused me to injure my hamstring when doing the lift. I later understood that this is because I had lost the minerals from my body when I was sweating profusely. This is very important, really.
KK: It is very important! It is one of the main problems that bodybuilders have when they dehydrate themselves. You can die from it! All systems in your body depend on water. However, regular water does not have enough of the salts needed. All the neural functions in your body happen through electrical impulses from your brain. These salts are conductors for electricity, so it is very important to always have enough of that to make your body work efficiently. It is important to have a good balance of minerals and electrolytes in your blood. This is what the IV is for.
You get one bottle of Ringer’s solution, C-vitamin, Actovegin, Piracetam, Calsium, Magnesium. You combine this. Get an IV. The effect is uniquely great. When I have heavy training sessions, I do this twice or even thrice a week. It helps with common colds even, you get extra C-vitamin and do hot calcium injections several days in a row and it restores you quickly without the use of antibiotics and other unnecessary medicines.
KS: And it’s all legal.
KK: It’s all legal. You can get it in any apothecary or in a clinic. You can even do it at home if you know how to, like Kirill here does. And it’s all quite affordable. I recommend it to everyone.
KS: What is the significance of Piracetam and Actovegin in all this? I am personally familiar with these, but please tell us how you see it.
KK: Piracetam is a nootropic. It enhances the function of the brain, helps it get the proper nutrients and helps improve the whole CNS. This is very important. Actovegin is made from oxblood, it’s a great restorative. It helps with injuries. You can even inject it directly into the site of the injury and the recovery will be significantly speedier. It can be used intravenously or intramuscularly.
KS: I can tell from my own experiences with this compound is that I felt especially these two substances in it. Actovegin and Piracetam. Piracetam especially. It is very cheap to buy and accessible. From it I felt an incredible enlightenment inside my head.
KK: Yes, clarity, increased focus, improved memory, better concentration. It does all this. It is important to not overdose, because it really riles up the psyche and can stop you from sleeping. I recommend taking it in the morning.
KS: Well, I didn’t experience any loss of sleep, personally. I stuck the IV in and went to bed.
KK: Well, Kirill, you’re a unique athlete in every way. A unique human even. To compare you to any mortal would be silly.
KK: We also mentioned Mildronate. Good, old Mildronate. We’ve had this since the Soviet days. It’s a great compound which increases energy levels, endurance and strength. Therefore, we add that to the IV, too.
KS: Compared to other athletes, you have a different way to prepare yourself for a lift. You’re very emotional. It’s like a ritual. What is this and how does it help you? What is this to you, personally?
KK: For me to perform a lift close to my capacity, I have to be in a state of light trancelike rage. In this state, I basically don’t remember what happens during this time. I don’t remember my actions, my thoughts. My adrenaline is through the roof, I am angry, there’s steam coming out of my ears. You could say I am in a berserk state. Thanks to this, I can sometimes add 10kg to my capacity. This is what literally happened yesterday. I came to your tournament to support you and your project, as a friend, I had no plans on competing. Just in case, I packed my singlet. To the very last minute, I was unsure whether I would compete or not. I had not prepared, there were some circumstances, I’m not going into it. However, when I felt what the surrounding atmosphere was like at your tournament, and with the help of our old friend Zahir, who slapped my back so hard that sparks were flying from my eyes, I managed to lift 392kg. I was not physically ready for this weight, but thanks to the power of will and good mental preparation I could do it. This time it added 10kg at least.
No one ever bothers me during my preparation… no one ever bothers me ever, actually. A shame. [laughs]
After the lift, all your rage disappears. The maximum capacity lifts last up to 10 seconds, and in that time you get to see your whole life pass before your eyes, think about something interesting, see a vision perhaps, some positive thoughts come into my head sometimes during the fight with the weight. I had a very interesting experience in Australia, actually. The warm-up for the competition was very tough, it was hot. But all the athletes came together as friends and Benny Magnusson and I decided to say a prayer. His proposition was to pray to Odin. Because this is the god of the vikings and the patron god of big, bearded strong guys. I don’t know… we prayed to Odin and I started to shake so much, I felt my skin crawl and for the first time I felt something otherworldly. When I went out to lift 400kg, this was the first 400kg that I would attempt for the first time for three years of serious preparation since my injury. The doctors told me that I would never lift again period. But I didn’t listen to them, and didn’t pay them any mind. I always try to think positively, so I trained and gave it my all and I managed to get to this number. However, when I went out to lift these 400kg… they were so fucking heavy… and a thought came into my head: “if you don’t lift it now, you will never lift 400 in your life again” suddenly, I felt as if someone was helping me lift these 400, as if someone was helping me get through the sticking point, then I pulled and opened up and got the lift. This was the first time ever in my life that I felt anything like this.
Camera man: What did the prayer entail?
KK: I don’t know. He was saying it in Icelandic. But the point is not what he actually said, but that we both felt something. And it also helped Benny, because Benny was spent and he pulled 420kg up to his knees, stopped for a while, and then finished the lift. I can’t believe how he managed this. It’s incredible. But he did it.
KS: It’s a shame that [Benny] got into a streak of bad luck and injuries.
KK: Yes, it is. But I spoke with him since and he is a strong-spirited guy who does not let his head droop in sadness and he will recover and continue lifting. Of this I am certain.
I asked him, “Benny, many powerlifters think that your 460kg deadlift was done with fake plates.” he laughed and told me: “That’s ok. Let them think that. I pulled 470kg in my gym twice. So, 460kg wasn’t that much for me, really.” Moreover, I think that Benny is a unique athlete. He’s for sure the best deadlifter in the world right now. A lot of people are touting Eddy Hall right now, and I agree – he’s a young, strong guy. But, he did the lift with straps and there’s a big difference between lifting with your bare hands and doing it strapped in even if he did it beltless. All that he lifts with his bare hands, that’s his. It will be him an honour and pride. But as of now, this record was set with straps, and that’s not a competition weight, that’s a show.
KS: Yes, we were discussing these new straps previously. They’re special.
KK: Yes, they’re looped. Fantastic straps. Very comfortable. Especially for people who are bad at using regular straps. With these it’s really simple. Put it on your hand, pass it under the bar and put your hand through the loop again. You’re strapped in. You pull. Nice and comfortable. Their benefit is that they are longer than regular straps, so the bar can roll to the end of your fingertips and rest on the hanging straps. So this subtracts from the height of the pull by 5cm, sometimes up to 7cm. This is great especially for guys who use the sumo stance. When using the Texas bar (ed. which has a lot of give) and thick discs you can add from 10 to 20kg to your lift due to this.
KS: What do you think, if we continued to use the rigid IPF bar, like before, would we have the records that we have today?
KK: No. Never. Not even close. Benny was also pulling those 460kg with big, metal discs. There was no more room left on the bar. So, if we were to replace those discs with classic thin Eleiko discs, that record would probably be 5-10kg lighter. If we also replaced the bar for a rigid IPF bar, I think the difference would be 20-25 kg.
KS: Ok… so what’s the biggest deadlift done on an IPF bar?
KK: On an IPF bar, I believe [Andy] Bolton pulled 420kg. That’s the biggest lift on that bar, as far as I know. I don’t know what kind of discs he used, whether it was done in competition or in the gym, but I read this. I haven’t seen a video of it or anything.
Personally, I use an IPF bar for training. Because I like it. When you lift some kilograms on it, you know it’s your work and your work alone.
KS: Leoko bar?
KK: No, it’s an old, classic IPF certified bar from Leningrad (ed. These are the barbells which were prolific in the Soviet union, made in a factory in Leningrad which started making them in the 20s or 30s before Eleiko and other companies existed) which I ordered fifteen years ago. It’s awesome. It’s good and old. Built to last. I love it. You have used it one time for benchpress when you visited my gym one time.
So, when you train with this bar and you then get a Texas bar in competition, you can easily add 10 kg or more. Especially with the technique I use, which is very explosive, the whip helps you a lot.
But to say that everyone should use an IPF bar to deadlift is also wrong. The IPF bar is normalized. It is made for all the exercises; bench, squat, deadlift. It is also fairly thick, 30mm, and not everyone has monster hands like we do. Therefore, a thinner bar is better for deadlifting. So, if you put these nice thin discs on it, it looks quite good.
KS: My last memory of the IPF bar was from 2009. I ordered it loaded with 360kg, started pulling and my latissimus detached. I think this was because of the rigid bar.
KK: This could be, yes. Could be because you weren’t sufficiently hydrated.
KS: This was winter time. Everything was in order.
KK: Could be you were not accustomed to the rigidity of the bar. Perhaps you were using an olympic bar in training and this was a shock to you. I have a thin bar, but I never use it to train. When I train I use either the IPF bar or the olympic bar.
KS: You talked about how to get your psyche amped up. How about how to calm down your psyche? What do you do?
KK: Well, I can start off by saying that alcohol, which many use, is not the way. First off, it is a depressant. It does not relax your psyche. In my opinion, alcohol and powerlifting cannot be combined by principle. It also binds a lot of water and takes it out of you. This is one of the primary reasons for a hangover. So, if you want to recover from a hangover quickly, drink a lot of water and get minerals and salts into your system.
The psyche needs to be relaxed of course. What I use to relax my psyche, I won’t share. But I do this. It is important to do. Because when you’re amped up, it can stop you from training, beating personal records and even living a normal life. You have to relax your central nervous system no matter what.
KS: Therefore… sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.
KK: You might find this strange, but I like to recite poems. I like poetry and have since I was a child. My favourite poet is Vladimir Mayakovsky.
KS: Are we going to hear any now?
KK: Yes, why not? I’ll read something recent.
KS: Wow. Your performance was in the same spirit as when you are about to lift.
KK: That’s the only way.
KS: As the organizer of my first tournament, I would like to ask you one question, because I think you will be honest with me. I have heard a lot of response from people regarding the event and everyone is super positive. It’s very nice to hear, of course, that people appreciate my efforts. But you know that critique can help you. So, I would like to ask you what you think was not well done? What would you add, if anything?
KK: I can’t really say anything bad about it. Everything was very well done, indeed. But there was one thing that I missed, personally. And this was a beautiful, naked girl on stage, as eye-candy. Even more than one. The competition was way too brutal, in my opinion. Big, angry guys lifting enormous weight, setting tremendous records. If to this you would add a bit of a female presence. Not necessarily completely naked, maybe just topless… or in bodyart… or even a bikini! This would be a nice, creative touch and add some piquantness to the event. What do you think?
KS: Well, why not? Lets try to have five … or ten girls next time on stage.
KK: Couldn’t agree more.
KS: Right. What are your future plans?
KK: I have plans, of course. I don’t plan to stop competing. I will do everything in my power to continue lifting, lifting to my full capacity and to do so for the foreseeable future. I don’t really give a fuck about numbers… whether it be 390kg, 400kg, 410kg.. the most important thing is to give 100% of what you got in every competition you are in, so that you can look in the mirror and not be ashamed of yourself.
So, when you will have the next competition in December this year, I will come and support you your endeavors, the athletes who will compete in that event and be apart of it. I don’t know yet if I will compete in that event, but I will attend it for sure. God willing… or Odin, or Jah.. I don’t know who will help me this time, but I hope they will let me compete. I really want to compete. I have a need to do it. But we must not forget that at any-time anything can happen to any of us. There is a chance that tomorrow will never come. So, if you have the opportunity and the strength to set a new record, never put it off until tomorrow.
KS: Thank you, Kostya, for this candid interview. Thank you for touching on such non-standard subjects. What did I learn from this? What you need to do to be strong? You have to drink a lot of water, keep an eye on the levels of salts and minerals in your body, like naked women….
KK: …and have some luck!
KS: Yes, and have some luck.
KK: And be more positive!
KS: Yes, indeed. Some don’t have enough of this in their lives. Ok, guys. Bye.
Camera man: Godly.
KK: I think this will turn out fucking awesome, because we didn’t talk about any of the regular crap.
Camera man: “How did you come to the sport of powerlifting?”
KK: Fuck that. Who needs that shit.