The Rudnev System

Originally Posted 2, 2011


Jason and I have been training and preparing for this trip for a long time. We started working towards it in May of 2010. When we first put it together we just wanted to come out and train with Coach Rudnev. We were hoping to spend a week or so lifting and if he felt ok about it we really wanted to learn more about his training method. It was a little after that when we decided to ask if there was a competition we could compete in.

Training for the comp has kept Jason and I focused on this trip. There is a unique perspective you gain by spending time under the bells and there is no way around that. But we never let out of our minds what the meat of this trip was.

We have been training twice a day every other day. Hard kettlebell training in the morning and gpp/stretching/running in the evening. On the other days we have been (among other awesome activities) in the classroom.

So far we have been able to spend 2 four-hour days in class working on programming. We are joined by his wife Natalia who is our translator (she is an English teacher and we are using her classroom for studies). Thank you Natalia!!! We are expecting 3 more classroom days before we leave where we will also cover contest preparation, competition strategies, recovery, and nutrition.

The programming is beautiful. Rudnev said that he developed his system out of necessity. He started out training like the rest of us, long hard sets all of the time. He achieved a level of success and then stopped. His training and progress flatlined. So he started working on his method, which is very similar to other periodization models we know. Macrocycles, Mesocycles, and Microcycles. (He went back to school to study physical method and education to become the best coach he could be and ended up teaching full time at the Far East Military Institute in Blagoveshchensk Russia.) The interesting part of the programming is the mathematics. He has the training broken down into equations with different moving variables.

A few examples of variables are:

(If the sportsman cannot complete a ten minute set already)

1) Sportsman does not have enough static strength.

2) Sportsman lacks necessary flexibility.

3) Sportsman lacks both static strength and required flexibility.

It starts out complicated but as you move further along things begin to fall into place and we begin to have dialogue like this:

John: “So if I can do this here, than I can do that?!?!”

Sergey: “Of course”


There is the general protocol for sportsman who already have good results.

Then, there is the protocol for the beginners.

The beginner protocol involves addressing the variables I have mentioned above as well as other things like available equipment, age, mental makeup, work schedule, and available training time. As you can imagine, there is a much higher level of skill required to coach a sportsman with many variables. A professional sportsman with Kettlebells in every 2kg increment and infinite time who can already go for 10 min is the easiest to train.

If anyone reading this has read any of my other entries you know that I have spent most of the last year working on my personal variables. I am almost ready to really train. I had never made the progress I desired. I needed to address these issues. Rudnev says that the hardest one to overcome is the lack of flexibility, then (by a great distance) the lack of static strength). I have to overcome both. So for those of you having trouble with these common problems, there is hope :-)

All of that being said, there is a certain artistry and imagination required to be a great coach. Rudnev will blush as he tells you this. He enjoys his work and this is clearly his favorite part. He is an artist.

Coach talks about his system and how when you look at the training cycles you will see they resemble a heartbeat on an EKG machine. He says “this is the training of a living man, a man with a heartbeat, not a dead man.” He has worked on his theory and method for over twenty years. He talks about the thousands of sportsman he worked with over the 14 years he was at the Far East Military Institute and how he used that time to work and shape his system with their help. He recorded the data over 14 years.

Coach Rundnev outside the sports hall at The Far East Military Instistute.

Coach Rudnev has used his system to coach:

42 Master of Sport

8 Master of Sport World Class

1 Honored Master of Sport


He smiled and started to talk about the most important variable. The Sportsman. “This is not awesome John, it is a lot of work.” He makes it clear that the sportsman is the one who is responsible for the work. The sportsman is the orchestra with all its moving parts and he is the Maestro.

He is the Artist.