The Litvinov Workout

The Litvinov Workout

5 Rounds ( 3 min brake between rounds)

8 RM Front Squats followed by 200 m «sprint»

The Litvinov Workout
by Dan John

An amazing thing happened in 1983. I went on a date. Okay, that was a joke, because everybody knows that during the 80s I was covered with black and blue marks from being touched with ten foot poles.

Actually, the World Championships of Track & Field began in Helsinki, and the list of winners is a «who’s who» of the sport. You’d find the names of Carl Lewis, Mary Decker, Edwin Moses, and Sergei Bubka littered among the gold medal winners.

It was also the year of an important failure. John Powell, who’d led American discus throwing for a decade, failed to make the finals. Powell came away with two important lessons and inspired a generation to rethink training from his observations.
The Two Lessons

1. The discus trials were at nine in the morning. Powell had never trained – ever – to throw at nine in the morning. He thought he could just walk out and throw the qualifying distance.

He learned after the competition that it took him a lot of time in the morning to get the snap that he had in the mid-afternoon. This is a good lesson for a lot of us who take performance for granted in life and sports.

2. When Powell looked around to see how the rest of the world was training, he noticed that his training hadn’t advanced much, if at all. He noted that the throwers from the rest of the world were leaner, faster, and more muscular.

Especially impressive was the young gold medal winner in the hammer, Sergey Litvinov. If any of you are interested in becoming leaner, faster, and more muscular, keep reading.

From Powell’s observations of Litvinov, I put together some training ideas that completely reshaped my approach to training athletes and completely reshaped my athletes. It’s such a simple training idea that you may discount it at first. Let’s start by looking at what Sergey Litvinov was doing that awoke Powell’s imagination.

It’s truly a simple workout. Litvinov, a 5′ 10″, 196 pound hammer thrower, did the following training session:

Eight reps of front squats with 405 pounds, immediately followed by a 75-second 400-meter run. Repeat this little combination for a total of three times and go home, thank you.