Some years ago I read about the Polish wrestler Ivan Putski. Dr. Terry Todd, the powerlifting legend wrote a two part article on Putski in one of the York magazines. Dr. Todd said that Putski’s legs were incredible and looked like “….what John Grimek would look like if he slowly trained his way up to 270+. Part one, is an introduction to Ivan, and Part two was his routine. I have no access to Part two other than memory. It really doesn’t take much photographic recall to sum it up. It was basic, powerful, and effective. It produced an athlete who lasted in the wrestling ring for many years and transferred his look from a power athlete, to a World’s Strongest Man competitor, to a bodybuilder-like physique. This routine was based around Putski wrestling and traveling later in the week. I think this had an indirect effect on it’s effectiveness. He had to rest more and the rest helped him go through these challenging workouts since he had an instinctive feel for his recovery. It produced incredible strength since he was able to put his back against the wall and hold back a Cadillac while the car was accelerated until its back wheels were spinning. There is a component to it that was unbalanced so I will try to fill in the cracks with some ideas.

Putski’s Monday– This was a leg day. That meant squats. Lots of them. Ten plus sets of squat for 6 to 10 reps per set and more as your tolerance develops. This is hypertrophy range and not a pure strength range. If you want body size. This means getting pumped up with heavy weights, adequate rest between sets, and volume. Volume!
After the squat session Putski would drive to a football field and run the stairs. This anaerobic activity after squatting led to his thigh development and his 20 inch calves.

Putski’s Tuesday– This was a pushing day. Lots of pushing. Putski would do set after set of bench presses with around 400lbs. Once again 6, 8, or 10 or more sets. Rest enough to recover and do it again and again. Adjust the poundage for yourself since 400 pounds was a percentage of Putski’s one rep max that developed hypertrophy and not pure strength. After a brief rest, Putski would do standing Push Presses. He did set after set after set of them with around 300lbs for 10 reps sets. This was after all the benches.

Putski’s Wednesday– This was his arm day. Similar sets and reps, but he trained arms exclusively and did no pulling for his low back or upper back. This was the unbalanced portion. He used barbell curls, concentration curls, overhead tricep and supine tricep, for superhuman levels of sets and higher reps. I’d strongly recommend that you choose exercises that distribute the load over a larger area. I would think that high pulls with a barbell, dumbells, or kettlebell would be great for the spinal muscles, lats and traps. Tack on some chinning work with bodyweight or added weight, but remember to go high with volume and reps in both the high pull and chins. I recommend chins over pullups since you can handle more weight and it balances out he grip since the high pulls are all done pronated and the chins supinated.

That’s it. That was Ivan Putski’s week. He left town to wrestle through the weekend. This simple program gave him incredible power and size at 5 feet 9 inches, and 270 pounds.

To sum it up.

  • -One Leg Day, One Pushing Day, One Pulling Day
  • -Two Exercises Per Session
  • -Simple Exercises. No Exotics. Basics Always Work
  • -High Sets. Period
  • -Higher Reps Than A Pure Strength Workout

To further define it.

  • 1.Squat,Stairs. Alot
  • 2.Push, push, and push some more.
  • 3. Pull, pull, and pull again.

The other four days can be spent doing mobility, sport, or recreation. Sleep 8 hours a night and nap daily. Eat adequate amounts of calories from lean protein, greens, berries/fruit, and healthy fats like Olive Oil, Avocado, and nuts.

That’s it. Now see what you can do with the PPT or Polish Power Template.