“More Reds!”

August 15, 2011

Today, during my morning workout, I thought it would be a good idea to take “Bulgarian jumps” while front squatting.  A “Bulgarian jump” is a phrase that my friends and I jokingly use for only adding 25kg. plates to a barbell.  Naturally, these workouts don’t usually last more than a few sets.  One or more of us will usually sit down and watch from a resting bench, barking in our best Bulgarian accent, “More Reds! More Reds!”  This is meant to imitate the famous weightlifting coach, Mr. Abadjiev, from the most likely fabricated story of when he toured the US Olympic training center.

I really don’t care whether stories like this actually happened or not.  To me, stories should represent more than just fact or fiction.  Storytelling is an integral part of weightlifting culture probably dating back to when man first began lifting things for fun.  Just as the epic poems Beowulf  or Gilgamesh were passed down through verbal tradition, I love hearing old timers talk about modern day lifting heroes who lived and walked the earth back when they were still in the iron game.  A good weightlifting story should accomplish at least one of a few objectives:

1) It should entertain.  Duh, it’s a story.  Stories suck if no one wants to hear it.

2) It should inspire.  Stories of clutch lifts, personal record attempts, foreign training halls, coaches, great battles between two or more lifters, or impossible feats of strength all are great sources of inspiration.

3)  It should be about real people.  Whether it was a PR attempt that you or your friend made after accidentally misloading a bar or a famous lifter smoking or drinking between sets, having names in your stories adds to the drama.  “The old Russian lifters used to . . .” is ambiguous and takes away from the truth that the storyteller may or may not actually know.  Had you said, “Back when Vasily Alexeev was training . . .”  the story would now have some weight behind it.

Apparently Alexeev used to do some river lifting.

So the story goes that Coach Abadjiev was flown out to Colorado Springs to assess the facility and the training program of the resident Olympic lifters.  He spent the entire length of the trip without saying a word to the coaches, who by now had surely began to worry that they had wasted their time and money flying this man over.  Before they left, the American Coaches asked him, “What about our facility? Our program?  Why aren’t we more successful?”  To this Abadjiev replied, “My friend, your program is fine.  In Bulgaria, we have more reds on the bar.”

Fact? Fiction?  I don’t care.  But in Bulgaria, they use more reds.



Snatch:  I worked up to a nice and easy 130kg.  This is the 1st time that I’ve hit this since Nationals.  I’m getting my rhythm back on my lifts, which is nice.  Then I hang snatched 100×5.

Clean and jerk:  hit 140. Missed 50.  I adjusted my grip and stance slightly.  We’ll see if it works out or not.

F. Squat:  70kg, 120kg, 170kg. Done.


Clean and jerks:  took it to 2 singles at 140 and one miss at 150.  Went back down to 100 and worked back up doing 1x clean, 2x jerks (with the second one being rack behind the neck).  I took these up to 140 again.

Press:  Took it up to 100kg. Missed 110 and then did a Benbata set of 20 at 50kg.

Glute ham raises, pull ups, etc.

9 Responses to ““More Reds!””

  1. Melissa said

    I just recently started reading your blog and I have to say, of all the lifing sites/blogs I think yours is my favorite. Excellent post.

  2. Penn said

    I actually loled at that story. Most genuine lols from the net now come off incredibly crass jokes I get through StumbleUpon. But that, that was a gem.

    Sometimes I wonder if red plates make lifters stronger. What I mean is, everyone’s training initially revolves around putting a very basic amount of weight on the bar so they don’t look like a total bitch. Most guys would rather step in dog crap than be seen struggling to bench less than a 45lb plate on each side. Powerlifters will sometimes joke about how nickles, dimes, and chip plates are for “chicks.”

    I noticed when I was in commercial gyms in the Netherlands often times their “plate,” “biscut,” or “cadillac” was not a 20kg or a 45lb plate but instead was a cheap, yellow 15kg bumper. Guys where weaker there and I felt it had something to do with the fact that in order to meet the minimum requirements of manhood there, the bar was set lower since the big plate was smaller, as was the next goal of doing 2 plates.

    So it makes me wonder if people in weightlifting gyms have higher expectations right off the bat just because the plates weigh more. I mean, if you don’t want to feel like a total ass-hat in a weightlifting gym you need to have at least 1 real red plate per side.

    • Brian said

      I could disagree Penn.

      imo, having the most plates per side, regardless of color is the most badass. Therefore, adding multiple quantities of yellow green & blue plates is better than fewer red plates.

      • bclaridad said

        Oh, don’t get me wrong. I like a good amount of color to a bar myself. But I at least like to have one red on each side so no one can give me shit about taking all the yellows. I have a small obsession with lifting “rainbow” bars (one of each plate or 160kg.).

    • Brian said

      the Poles display this “more plates is better” theory in their training series titled “Siodme Poty” (which some argue loosely translates to “come at me bro” )

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