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5 secrets from Pavel Tsatsouline and Jim Wendler to make you stronger [Article,Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jun 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM

5 secrets from Pavel Tsatsouline and Jim Wendler to make you stronger

These two are titans of strength training which you will find all over the internet with different pieces of advice. While Pavel takes a functional approach to strength using kettlebells as his main tool of punishment, Jim is a big fan of the compound lifts as he was a powerlifter and football player. When you combine Pavel’s ideas for your warm up with the Wendler 531 program I personally think you get a very nice well-rounded program which makes you a better athlete.

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Cossack squats


Cossack Squats with kettlebells are a tool that Pavel Tsatsouline propagates in his books and as an ex-Spetznaz trainer and now an advisor to the US Military for strength training. I online see a few people doing them but they are a good tool to increase mobility in the ankles and hip. I now use them on a consistent basis for my warm ups to address mobility in the hips. A bonus of this exercise is also that the hips are moved to the sites which the  Agile 8 warm up recommended by Jim Wendler does not do. 2 sets of five repetitions are usually enough to get yourself fired up. If you want to know more about Pavel you can also check him out on YouTube, in Tim Ferris book Tools of Titans or in the matching podcast.





Halos, either done with a kettlebell or plate, help you to activate your shoulders and prepare them for heavy bench pressing and other upper body exercises by getting more flexibility and range of motion into them. Chris Duffin explores this idea even further with his Shoulderök product. 2 x 10 repetitions with a weight you can control easily (usually 5 or 10kg) will do the trick.



Grease the groove


Greasing the groove is a concept of Pavel’s which helps you especially on the pull-up. Whatever your repetition maximum on the pull up for one set is take half of it and try to implement as many sets as possible during the week to get the overall volume up. If you combine this approach on a number of repetitions with Jim Wendler’s advice to fill the rest time between heavy sets of squats, deadlifts and bench presses with pull ups than you got yourself a nice routine going.


Wendler 531


I personally find the Wendler 531 program to be the best strength program you can sustainably run for a long period without having to think about it too much. The only prerequisite for that is that you get the calculations right. To achieve this I have attached a calculator to help you out. The rest can be done on autopilot for numerous times. As Wendler does not get into too much detail around flexibility and warm ups combine his excellent program for the compound lifts with techniques from the Russian master of the kettlebells and you are good to go.


Accessory work


Whatever your weak spot is you should do the most of. Usually, you are covered by doing 3 x20 of glute ham raises, good mornings and calf raises. There are also other options available like the boring but big challenge in case this is not enough for you.




If you take Pavel's ideas for explosiveness and mobility and combine them with the lifting schemes of Jim Wendler you have a pretty solid all around program from my perspective which gets you big, strong and fast. I believe that is what you want since you read this. 


Further reading




Topics: Lift stronger, Jim Wendler 5/3/1, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman