Once again many thanks to reader Soiren.
Just like he did with the Klokov & Akkaev in Camp Chekhov, the Checking in with Akkaev or the Russian’s Way to the Olympics videos, he took the time to translate some of this 60 minute Mikhail Koklyaev interview (video below).
It is great to have people like you on board!
Here are some of the the things Misha had to say:
What can you say about the performance of our country on London Olympics 2012?
I want to separate my answer to this into two parts: one part is a good one, and the other is a not so good one.
The first part is in regards to those athletes who had been preparing and went to the Olympics, not to those who had been preparing and didn’t go there. Those guys did really good job and it was really titanic work they done.
Without any commanders and without any commands, without any tactics and strategies – only will and talent I watched our team competing and I noticed one thing – noone had a fire in their eyes, only fear.
They were like penal battalion, who are going to the last fight and are scared to ever step back, or they will get shot. they lifted with help of fear, and actually fear is a great power.
Big thanks to our team and what they have done for the country. I think that considering our current condition of national weightlifting community it was an excellent performance, even without a single gold.
If there were good commanders – there would be golds. That is all. And i am not grudging that I didn’t go there. We may dream all we want, so what? I wasn’t Olympic champion nor wasn’t world or European champion, but I don’t feel sad because of that. I have a barbell and plates, when I need to I can snatch, when I need to I can clean and jerk, so that’s it. That’s for the first part.
The second is in regards to our authorities [implying coaches]. But about authorities we either speak good, or nothing. So I will speak nothing. That is it, such a short second part.
What can you say about breaking plateaus in strength training?
The first thing I want to say is that if you are plateauing, it doesn’t mean that it is time to up your mega-vitamin doses, if you’re taking them [implying PEDs]. You should look closely to your routine and training process. It definitely worth changing the plan.
The best method to change your plan is (and it works 100% of the time) – to cut intensity (as in weights on the bar) to around 60-70% and work on volume – reps and sets.
Forget about PRs, forget about shit like “I deadlifted 300kg today, and i am going to deadlift 350kg in half a year following this plan”, forget it.
Just cut your weights, stop going for 1RM once or twice a month. If you have a plateau, then you can say that you’re in the pit.
It takes a lot time to escape from there, and actually I am in the same place right now. Before the Worlds championships 2012 I was in the best shape, but then at some moment I forgot the need to stop and as a result I didn’t even get to a final during World championships.
So, to escape a pit of plateau you gonna do volume. Relatively little weights, and more reps. That’s it.
And don’t be afraid of your upcoming meets, lower your weights nonetheless. And increasing your mega-vitamin doses and supplements won’t work until you change your plan. Sometimes you should just forget [your ego] and work like a robot with little weights for volume
Soon it will be time when your body will tell you when you’re ready for PRs. You will walk across the gym and see a 320 kg barbell on the floor (and your previous PR was 300kg), and you will know intuitively that you can lift it, when you’re ready.
For example, if you squat – squat 5×5. My best squat is 360kg, I take 270-290kg and squat 5×5. Every workout. The same with deadlift. My best DL is 415kg [Interview was done prior to his 417.5kg Deadlift], and I don’t put more 320-330kg, and this is not even more often than once a month. Usually it is no more than 300kg. That’s it.
Question about recovery. What to do for post-training soreness in joints and ligaments?
Well, there is some trivial inflammations. For example, a few months ago I had a pain in my elbows, especially at presses. So I went to a doctor, asked what should I do.
Even while resting I still had an ached elbow. Doctor said, that it was just a trivial inflammation, and I should just warm-up more.
It will go off with time. So I began doing a lot of warm-up.
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Did triceps cable push downs with very little weight and for a lot of reps: 15, 20, 25, even 30, before my press workout.
Or did overhead extensions with 8 kilos for 30 reps, 3-4 sets. I warm-upped for 30 minutes, and the result was no pain during bench press.
So there is different types of pain. If you have a real injury, like you tear something (for example when it crackled while you were lifting), then it is real clinic and you must see a doctor and take a break from training.
Then there is a pain as a result of too much loading, and you should begin stretching it.
As an example if your knee is hurt (a ligament just above your kneecap), begin to massage your hips, stretch them. And also lower back.
Because legs are connected via… um… butt (laughter) so legs are connected via butt, and butt is connect with lower back, so stretch it all.
In all seriousness, one chiropractor after I said to him that my knees were hurt, said to stretch my lower back. I began stretching lower back, then he said to stretch groin area. After it he told me to stretch quadriceps, and then the pain in the knees was gone. That’s it.
If the pain is under the knee cap… It is treated easy, guys: just forget about big kilos.
Start to work those muscles purposefully, as in pumping it. Sit on the leg extension machine and do it for high reps. If you don’t have it – take a dumbbell and do the same on a bench. That’s it
There should be a prophylaxis. Warm-up, stretch, use warming gels. To treat an injury you should first take off an inflammation.