People who have worked with him call him the Evil Russian. In the 80’s, he was a physical trainer for the elite Soviet special-forces units, Spetsnaz – preparing Soviet soldiers to fight in Afghanistan.
Pavel Tsatsouline is now an American. He owns Advanced Fitness Solutions Inc, specializing in fitness and conditioning, in Santa Monica, California. This Evil Russian commands the respect from his peers and also his followers. From martial practitioners to soldiers, they avidly seek his advice and follow his suggestions.
Lean and wiry, 6 feet 2 inches tall and a lean 187 pounds. Born to a ballerina, his power is well complemented with grace. You couldn’t find a better advertisement or testament to the fitness program he advocates.
Now Pavel Tsatsouline helps train troops in the U.S. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, working with the Marines at the Quantico [Va.] U.S. Marine Corps Reservation.
Pavel Tsatsouline’s approach comes entirely from his own experience training in the Soviet Union. He is the author of several fitness books and videos. He often emphasizes that “tension and power are the same thing”. He explained that there are two ways of gaining strength. Simply build yourself a bigger muscle, or learn to contract the muscle that you already have even harder.
Pavel would use this example to demonstrate what he means. Find a partner and squeeze his hands as hard as you can. Then flex you abs muscle as hard as possible (like bracing for a punch) – then contract them as hard as you can. Your friend is going to notice that you’re stronger.
Training with the Marines, he focused on exercise that employs the same principle. In a matter of minutes, the trainees add about a palm’s length to their toe-touch exercise. It is all about the muscle tension, he said. Learn how to increase muscle tension and you will increase the muscle flexibility.
In short, the training provides is greater strength and ability in a relatively short time. They are designed to produce rapid gains. Marines do not have the luxury of spending 10 and 20 years achieving mastery. They have to prepare a troop of fighters in a matter of months and need to get them in top condition for the battles coming ahead. The techniques that Pavel teaches are especially tailored to deliver the instant gain that they need.
Another technique from Pavel is to limit the repetition during workout. Naturally the body will be under stress as you train hard. But training hard does not mean training to muscle failure. Instead of performing sets of 10 repetitions until you can’t do another, do three repetitions with a weight you could have lifted for 5 repetitions. This technique is used by top power-lifter and strength athlete, and has been proved to be a lot more effective and safer.
One thing that can’t be left out when one is mentioning Pavel Tsasouline is the Russian Kettlebells – the cannonballs with handles. They have been around for decades, used by the Soviet Union since the 60’s. Pavel teaches the old Russian art to the Marines, SWAT teams and the nuclear-security teams of the Department of Efiergy. Kettleballs help you acquire body skills for doing a lot of things. As Pavel would say, train with kettleballs, improve whatever physical abilities you need.
To learn more, check out Pavel Tsatsouline’s books and DVDs, or even sign-up for one of his Seminars.