Monday, May 12, 2014

Uncovering the Soviet Strength Ruse II: The Socialist Insurgency in American Athletics

The Start of It All

In my first post regarding the Soviet influences in American strength sports I gave a brief overview of the connections and its conspirators. I spoke about how it made no sense that the Russians would share with us their secret training methods of the 1960’s to the 1980’s, where they largely began dominating nearly every Olympic sport. I spoke about how since the implementation of these so called “advanced” training methods the U.S. performance in strength sports has been on gradual decline. Then I spoke about some of the suspected conspirators in this modern age of Soviet insurgency.

Today I will show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes. And in doing so I will prove to you that nearly every American athlete, even those beyond the traditional strength sports of weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman, has been poisoned from the well of socialist training propaganda. That poison has left them trapped beneath the glass ceiling of performance of which our Russian enemies have broken through long ago.

It all began in 1961 where the U.S.S.R. had a few very influential sports-scientists, namely: Yuri Verkhoshansky, Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk [1], and Vladimir Issurin. These three individuals are credited with the invention of plyometrics [2], transfer of training, [3] and Block Periodization [4]. Three components to modern training that surely have had a sobering impact on the sporting community as a whole. These three men began what ultimately led to the decline of western athletic performance.
Yuri Verkhoshansky doodling on a chalk board for 
the easily impressed and gullible American coaches and athletes.

From the 1960s-1980s it was one man, Michael Yessis [5], an American born biomechanist, who did a large part of the translation of these Soviet training methods. It was during this time he, along with other coaches and athletes, went to the Soviet Union to study the socialist's training methods while at the Moscow State Institute of Physical Culture.  While there he made contacts with the three major Soviet sports-scientist- grandfathers of this socialist strength propaganda. He then began the flow of misinformation; a deluge unto the world of sports as we know it. 

Whether or not Mr. Yessis was knowingly spreading Soviet lies or was simply a pawn used in benefit to the proliferation of communist deception, we will never truly know. But what we do know is that he translated the following Soviet works: Transfer of Training (Volumes I and II), Block Periodization Training, Special Strength Training: A Practical Manual for Coaches, Running and Hurdling, and many other pieces of socialist sporting propaganda.

Additionally we know that Mr. Yessis has had a massive impact on a vast array of sports here in the United States. From the NFL to Olympic sports the spread of his Soviet lies have been felt. He has written over a dozen books across multiple domains of athletics and thousands of articles for everything from the rag Muscle & Fitness to the NSCA Journal.  

Once Michael Yessis let the Russian cat out of the bag many other American coaches and athletes began to jump on the Red bandwagon. He sold it like a popsicle in Hell. People were jumping at the chance to study under these Soviet coaches, train at their training centers, and learn these so called “advanced” training methods.
Soviet domination from the platform 
to the race track.

Phase Two: Recruitment

The Soviets were highly successful in their efforts to undermine the U.S. advancement of physical strength. And in doing so they created an avalanche of misinformation that is still falling to this day. Devouring athletes from all disciplines in its wake. We’re about to move onto the more well known and critically important persons and factors in the failure of U.S. performance in strength sports.

Fast forward a decade or so and another major player in this unfortunate explosion of Soviet propaganda came on the radar. That man was Dr. Frederick C. Hatfield, who in 1983 traveled to Moscow on a so called “fact-finding mission.” [6] While there he supposedly encountered a unified Soviet front against the Americans regarding all things athletics.

Dr. Hatfield, or Dr. Squat as his code name is known, went to Moscow to learn first-hand the tactics, techniques, and procedures of these allegedly secret training methods. But they were never secret to begin with. They were exactly what the Kremlin wanted him to learn so he could take those “lessons” back to the U.S. and begin deconstructing the American athletic community from the inside. 

In the sourced article Dr. Squat states that since the 1950’s the Russians had started their domination of strength sports. Specifically weightlifting. Well, that’s a conveniently incorrect statement. In the 1952 Olympics the U.S. won four gold’s versus the USSR’s three in weightlifting. Again in 1956 the U.S. remained on top with a four to three rout of gold’s against the Soviets. Then in 1960, one year before Michael Yessis began his treasonous relations with Yuri Verkhoshansky the Soviets ousted the Americans. In fact, they trounced us. In weightlifting the god hating socialists took home five gold’s to the American’s one.  The last remaining gold went to Poland, a Soviet state. Essentially the Soviets went from sucking at weightlifting to dominating it over night.  [7, 8, 9]

And magically so did Dr. Squat. Coincidence? 

But what does Dr. Squat have to do with this connection? He’s not a weightlifter. He wasn’t even on the scene in 1960. Well, we have photographic evidence of him meeting with Yuri Verkhoshansky. And he wouldn’t want to betray that trust and subject himself to a KGB investigation. Fred Hatfield had already defected from the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. why would he risk repatriation back to the Americans?

He wouldn’t. 

Codename Dr. Squat took what information was given to him and started up his own propaganda mill here in the United States. He went on to write multiple best-selling books about training and in total over 60 pieces of pro-Soviet literature. In 1983 and 1986 he won the IPF World Powerlifting Championships. At 45 years old he set a world squat record of 1014 pounds. [10] A feat so far ahead of its time it is unquestionable whether or not he had access to the actual secret training regimen of the U.S.S.R. Had he been training with what lies he was spreading then his competition would have been much more fierce, and his squat hundreds of pounds less.

He also went on to found the International Sports Science Association in 1988 [11], which is just two letters short of U.S.S.R. How serendipitous...

After the 1960’s the United States began to lose their grip on weightlifting. The remainder of this article will mostly focus on powerlifting. The last bastion of American performance… until that too collapsed under the influence of faulty Russian science. 

By 1964 the Soviets had a stranglehold on weightlifting.

The Man Who Killed American Powerlifting

The next spider in this web of Soviet lies is Louie Simmons, founder of the infamous Westside Barbell and it’s namesake conjugate training system. Louie started powerlifting in 1966, and by his own account, he sucked. In fact he sucked so hard that great American lifters like Larry Pacifico attempted to help him by giving him training advice. To which he ignored. Instead he went on to purchase books from whom would you know? Yuri Verkhoshansky. Translated by… Michael Yessis.  [12]

The plot thickens.

Louie claims that his Westside method is a superior mix of both the Soviet training system of cycling through various exercises and the Bulgarian system of using near max lifts frequently. However, both of those systems originate from behind the Iron Curtain. Louie’s infamous Westside conjugate system is merely the stitching together of Soviet misinformation.

Louie will point to his system being based in science. Thus making it better than the rest. But the reality is that his basis is built upon the textbooks he purchased in a back alley from Mr. Yessis. And the science contained in those books is failed. On its surface the concepts seem legitimate. However like I pointed out in my first post, does it make sense that the Soviet Union would spend an enormous amount of money developing its sports-sciences only to share it with their arch rival, the United States?

Absolutely not.

The Soviets were conducting scientific experiments on their athletes, this we knew. But unfortunately the Soviets knew that we knew. And in order to combat our attempts at athletic espionage they fought back with deception. Rather than hide in secrecy they threw a diversion. They invited our best and brightest behind the Iron Curtain, showed them a dog and pony show of science, and sent them back. Meanwhile the actual scientific progress of Soviet athletes remains unknown. Hidden deep within the red walls of the Dynamo Barbell Club. Protected by their diversion.

And since the 1960’s we’ve been so gullible to believe that the Russians would tell us the truth about their actual training methods.

Besides the connection to Verkhoshansky and Michael Yessis, Louie Simmons is connected also to Codename Dr. Squat. It is known that he has read and implemented the lies spread by this Soviet conspirator. [13] Nearly every piece of information Louie Simmons publishes is “backed” by Soviet lies. Lies in which we are not sure whether or not he believes himself, or knows their true origins and purposes.

Louie Simmons looking only
moderately suspicious. 

There is no solid photographic or written evidence of Louie Simmons meeting personally with any of the above mentioned Soviet sport-scientists but we could easily assume he has. We have a few anecdotal accounts and blurry images, but nothing solid. He is a very careful and methodical operator. 

From the 1990’s to the early 2000’s Louie Simmons and his Westside barbell training system dominated the American powerlifting scene. Since 1974 the United States has won gold in the Powerlifting World Championships a total of 62 times. [14] Which seems like a lot. Except during the Westside Barbell era (which I’ll graciously label as 1990-2005) the U.S. only won a total of 34 gold’s. Won by only 16 different athletes.  Contrast this to the countries of the Iron Curtain’s total of nearly 150 gold medals from between 1973 and 2010.

The last time the United States dominated the World Championships was into the mid 1980’s. This coincides perfectly with Dr. Squat’s rise to powerlifting fame and Louie Simmons beginnings. It is clear that after about 1985 Americans started getting weaker in comparison to their Soviet foes. That year, 1985 is what I’ll call Year Zero. The year the Soviet deception mission was realized.  The goal to sabotage American strength training by replacing it with their faulty methods had become reality. 

Those damn Russians also somehow convinced us
it was beneficial to become morbidly obese 
in order to gain strength.

The Aftermath of Year Zero

Fast-forward nearly 30 years from Year Zero to 2014. The raw powerlifting scene is exploding with popularity. The number of powerlifters seems to be growing exponentially. The popular lifters of the day, with their widely known and practiced training programs include: Jim Wendler of 5/3/1, Brandon Lilly of Cube Method, and Mark Rippetoe of Starting Strength. [15]

The first two trained directly under Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell. The last one trained under Bill Starr, a known associate of Dr. Squat. [16]

In this modern era of raw powerlifting we have a litany of training programs, but unfortunately due to the success of Year Zero nearly all of them are based upon faulty Soviet science, thus the reason why so many American athletes fail to reach the top tiers of powerlifting success. The few who have set modern all-time World Records are all in the Soviet Strength Mafia (SSM).

I have two theories as to how these people make continued powerlifting success. The first is that they knowingly train under Russian coaches, receiving their programs via cyphers passed by couriers and messages broadcast from secret Russian radio stations. [17] The second hypothesis is that the lifters training via cyphers and radio transmissions influence other athletes in the SSM. Whether this second type subconsciously or knowingly understand what is going on is what I haven’t discovered.

What's that? A copy of Starting Strength? 
Nope. It's a secret radio to collect Russian Programs.

All the big name athletes in powerlifting these days are part of the SSM. They operate as a guerrilla force within the borders of the United States. I’m sure you’ve heard of a few of them: Jim Wendler, Brandon Lilly, Sam Byrd, Dan Green, Chad Wesley Smith, The Lilliebridge Family, Derek Kendall, Mike Tuchscherer, Richard Hawthorne, Pete Rubish, Mark Bell… and many more. Chances are if they’re in the Top 10 of’s All Time list, they’re in the SSM.

There are two easy ways to identify a possible SSM member. First, are they in any way associated with Juggernaut Training Systems or Westside Barbell? Second, are they affiliated with the supplement manufacturer Animal? A yes answer to one or both of these questions will solidify whether or not an athlete is an SSM member.

These athletes pass misinformation, whether knowingly or not, to the masses of lifters here in the U.S. This Soviet propaganda goes on to provide just enough progress to satisfy these amateur lifters but will ultimately never lead them to the kind of world wide powerlifting success the Soviet insiders of the SSM have achieved.

These programs work, but not nearly as well as the true Soviet science backed programs. A premature plateau is imminent. 

The only secrets we know are the ones
they've told us. 

In conclusion, the Soviet propaganda war machine against American strength has proved successful. It did so by having the Three Grandfathers, Verkhoshansky, Bondarchuk, and Issurin. The Three Grandfathers recruited Michael Yessis and Dr. Frederick C. Hatfield, codename Dr. Squat. These two are the bosses, or “Godfathers.” These two Godfathers proliferated the Soviet sabotage throughout the U.S. across many sporting events. Everything from swimming to strongman has felt their knife of influence. In their efforts they went on to recruit Louie Simmons, a Brigadier, who then carefully enlisted a crack team of lifters at Westside Barbell. 

While Louie Simmons was developing his guerrilla athletes at Westside the two Godfathers went on to recruit other influential Brigadiers, most notably Bill Starr. Bill Starr went on to mold Mark Rippetoe, author of the seminal work Starting Strength. He is also a known collaborator with Glenn Pendlay, possibly the greatest modern U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Coach. Back at Westside, Louie Simmons was busy spreading his own Conjugate System. He also tutored both Jim Wendler and Brandon Lilly. These four Boyeviks, Rippetoe, Wendler, and Lilly, to a lesser extent Pendlay, are the ringleaders of smaller groups of lifters (known as Kryshas) as well as spreading their own faulty training systems: 5/3/1, Cube, Texas Method. The other lifters, the Kryshas are numerous, and growing.

We may never recover from the events that lead up to Year Zero. But one thing we can do is educate ourselves against the Soviet misinformation machine and the members of the SSM who are responsible for its propagation.


Monday, May 5, 2014

The Machismo Filler

From time to time I’ll get an email or a message on reddit asking the question, “why don’t I write an ebook?”  Well the first thing that comes to my mind is why the hell would anyone buy an ebook from a dude with as little education and experience as me? So I responded to the questions with that reason.

However, this week it was pointed out to me that my rationale doesn’t make a lot of sense. With more and more people having success after following my method it seems obvious that I would compile all of my thoughts and publish them in a nice, handy, convenient little ebook- or hell, a physical copy even. At least something a bit more substantial than what is currently available. After all I’m already responding to emails and messages every day.

Maybe then the number of people seeing success with my method would grow! Maybe then I could stand to make some good money off of it.

But still, I found myself against the idea.

So I thought of more reasons and the biggest one that struck me was this:

Most training books I read are filled with hyper-masculine overtones that essentially boil down to- Train Like a Man.

I think that is the biggest reason why I, at this time, refuse to put out a “real” strength-training book of some sort. This could certainly be my personal selection bias, but there are a small handful of training manuals out there that aren’t at least sprinkled a little bit with this nonsense. And the worst of them seem to build their entire reputation upon how “manly” they are; which then clearly makes their training practices better. Because after all, they’re manly!

At best this sort of tripe is used as page filler to artificially lengthen the material. (Second only to maybe page after page of spreadsheets.) At worst it’s used as the foundation on which the training ideas are based because “that is how a man trains.”

What the hell does that even mean?

What does being a “real” man have to do with lifting weights? Nothing. Ardent supporters of this Macho Man Randy Savage authorship style are quick to exclaim, “Lifting weights toughens you up!” “It takes discipline to get under the iron every day!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Please. Get over yourselves. Lifting weights is easy. You go into a gym, move around a little bit, maybe get sweaty, and leave the place feeling more in love with yourself than you did before you entered.  Maybe from time to time you’ll sustain an injury and then you can’t train. Then you become a little saddie cause all your gains are lost.


What makes the dedication of consistently lifting weights more masculine than the dedication it takes to get better at playing piano? The latter is certainly very difficult to master. Progress is much slower. Unlike lifting there’s no special equipment, supplement, or drug you can buy to take you from playing Greensleeves to Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. And what, because the guy has soft hands and an ear for Liszt means he’s somehow less of a man than the guy in the squat rack?

The guy who lives and dies by his pre, intra, and post workout drinks? The guy who spends his time looking at half naked pictures of men in muscle rags? The guy who spends hours reading about how to better contract his deltoids? The guy who lifts to get stronger to impress other guys? The guy who lifts to get bigger to further impress other guys?

That guy is somehow manlier than one who doesn’t lift?

Why? Because his hobby requires a more physical effort and therefore his discipline means more? This idea that lifting weights makes men, men, is pretty fucking ridiculous.

I know I’ve built a huge straw man here.  Yes, it is absolutely possible to be both a great pianist and a great lifter. But that’s not the same kind of person who spouts this machismo garbage. And the kinds of guys who believe that nonsense are the same kinds of guys who buy training ebooks.

The ones who are not so discreetly securing their manliness in the size of their traps and biceps are the ones who are buying up materials on how to make those safeguards to their masculinity bigger and stronger.

Those who are not do not purchase training manuals. Why? Because like I said, lifting weights is stupidly easy. And with anything that easy it is pretty hard to justify the purchase of a manual on how to do it.

That’s exactly what I want to avoid should I ever publish an actual training manual of sorts. It adds no value to the material. It puts off potential customers. But by not adding in these chauvinist overtones I’ll be putting off even more customers. So really, it’s a lose/lose scenario.

Either I put all my ideas into an ebook, make a meager sum, then 80% of the buyer’s torrent it (thanks, assholes) or I fill it with dick swinging feel-goods and make a pile of cash.

Then I’m phony as hell. No thanks.

Honestly, that’s not the kind of message I want associated with the GZCL Method. And really, I’m feeling pretty good about helping others for free. I’m sure I’ll reap the benefits in time.

Grok lift rock. Grok man now.