Boris Sheiko is a Russian Powerlifting coach and a legend in the powerlifting community. Boris is known for his selective coaching (he chooses you – you don’t choose him) and his demand for complete discipline and commitment from athletes he chooses to coach.
His program’s are renowned for high volume training focusing on competition lifts rather than variation. IF, you can complete a Sheiko program you WILL achieve great results, but the key word here is IF. Not many people complete a Sheiko program nor sticking around for his coaching.
The reason that the programs are called “#29”, #30, #31, #32, #37, #39, #40″ as each of these training blocks are examples from a Sheiko book. They are templates, this is not a cookie cutter style program like StrongLifts 5×5 or Wendler 5/3/1 and were never designed for mass use. The reason why limited amount of information regarding these templates and the book is available is because it all had to be translated from Russian to English. This is a process, I speak some Russian and it shares no similarities with English. The below is to a book I’ve read and found very helpful written by Boris Sheiko called ‘Powerlifting Foundations and Methods’. It’s definitely a must have for all starting powerlifters as key reading material.
I have split the seven templates into two options that are split into four training blocks and each last sixteen weeks. Firstly let’s categorize each template into a training block based on it’s characteristics:
|Training Blocks||Number||Block Characteristic|
|1. Preparatory Phase||#29 & #37||Medium Volume – Medium Intensity|
|2. Accumulation Phase||#30 & #39||High Volume – Medium Intensity|
|3. Transmutation Phase||#31 & #40||Medium Volume – Medium-High Intensity|
|4. Realization/Peaking Phase||#32||Low Volume – High Intensity|
Two Pathway Options
|Option 1 (Volume)||Option 2 (Intensity)|
|1) #29||1) #37|
|3) #31||3) #40|
|4) #32||4) #32|
Differences Between Pathways
- Option one block 1 has the same intensity as option two block 1, however, greater Deadlift and Squat volume.
- Option one block 2 has pretty much the same intensity range as option two, however, option one has greater squat and bench press volume than option one but less deadlift volume than option two block 2.
- In general option one for each training block has greater volume than option two for the bench press and squat.
- Option two has a more aggressive Block 3 transmutation phase with greater training intensity percentages and volume than option one. It’s definitely more challenging than option one block 3 transmutation phase.
Option Conclusion Summary
To conclude I would say that option one is the volume cycle and option two is the intensity cycle. If you are looking for more squat and bench press volume in your training then option one is the right choice. If you are looking for more deadlift volume and greater training intensity, then option two is great choice. But the differences between both options are so slight and small, you could run each pathway option in sequence. I.e. Option one would be the first 16 weeks, then Deload week 17, then run option two for 16 weeks. This would provide you with a 33 week macrocycle.
My Experience with Sheiko Programs
I ran this program as an advanced lifter, I followed my above suggestions and ran it as a 33 week program. I suggest the following:
- 7 Day Deload
The above is 33 weeks and you WILL 100% add to your personal bests (PBs), especially your bench press. I can’t remember the exact number for my PB’s, however, I added approximately 15-20 kilograms to my Bench Press, 25-30 kilograms for my squat and 35+ kilograms for my Deadlift. I found the bench press volume to be a BITCH! Yes – it was hell, especially option one (29-32). The deadlift volume and intensity was not too demanding, however, the squat volume definitely took its toll on my knees.
I found the Deadlift variations to be helpful in breaking through sticking points (Deadlift up to knees, Deadlift from the box, and deficit Deadlift). I liked the selection of accessory exercises such as; Good Mornings, Dips, Dumbbell flyes, French Press, lunges. I find these old school style accessory/assistance exercises too have more carryover than cable exercises for powerlifters. They help to break through competition lift sticking points, improve joint health and add muscle mass.
My advice would be to mentally prepare yourself for this routine whether you choose to run 29-32 or 37-40+32 or run both simultaneously. The volume will kick your ass! Training sessions will be long and taxing mentally and physically. Especially if you haven’t doing a high volume program before. But the gains you stand to make are worth it! Just don’t give up!!!!
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