Bulgarian Wave Loading is credited for the huge successes Bulgarian lifters have had at major weightlifting competitions like the Olympics and World Championships. Many persons wondered how come they seemed to be so much stronger than athletes from other parts of the world. On closer analysis their admirable successes stem from the fact that alternating heavy sets of weight lifting with lighter ones conditions your body to adapt to the heavier weights when asked to do so. Spinoffs from this quite naturally include strength gains which emanate from the improved self confidence which makes you believe that you are much stronger.
The Bulgarian wave loading technique has the advantage over more traditional styles of pumping iron. Consider this scenario: You are lifting certain weight for 6 reps, 4 days a week.If the outcome you desire is not achieved what do many lifters do? They increase to 6 reps for 5 days. Same load, more often, and the result? No significant improvement in strength. The road to increasing strength and power does not involve lifting maximum weights 7 days a week. In fact when you do this it often results in your body hitting a “weight bump” without the necessary accompanying improvement in strength.
In the Bulgarian wave loading workout lifters go for their daily maximum every 2 training sessions but the important point to note is that this daily maximum is the weight that challenges them most for that day, and not necessarily their personal weight lifting maximum! Therefore their daily max is a percentage, say 90% for example, of their PR. Here is a typical Bulgarian wave loading regime:
• For set 1 start with a weight that is 60% of your PR
• Set 2 is a repeat of set 1
• Set 3 is also a repeat of set 1
The first 3 sets are actually used as warm up to prepare your body to tackle heavier weights.
• Do 4 sets during which you gradually ramp up to your daily max
• Do 2 sets. In each of these sets the weight being lifted is 40 lbs less than your daily max and the number of reps is 3
• Do 2 sets. In each of these sets the weight being lifted is 25 lbs less than your daily max, but this time the number of reps is only 2
The Bulgarian wave loading exercises mentioned above represent a “heavy” session day. There are “lighter” days when a load of about 65% of their PR is lifted and instead of having a pre-determined number of sets to do a lifter will adapt the Bulgarian wave loading system to his capability by focusing on as many sets as he is contented with doing for that particular day with the 65% PR weight loading.