Sheiko Training Overview

by Travis Hlavka

The Sheiko program is very complex and can be confusing. I actually found what is supposed to be a “prep workout” for the program, but it did not prepare me for the intensity of this routine to say the least!

The program is named after Boris Sheiko, a Russian strength training coach and expert powerlifter. He has trained several national and international champions.

The Sheiko training philosophy is based frequency and volume. LOT’S OF VOLUME. It’s pretty much just squat, bench, deadlift. (But does include some other minor assistance exercises). You will also be doing a LOT of sets….10-12. The nice thing about the number of sets is that you get a lot of practice so you get very good at the movements.

Like I mentioned before, the routine is very complex and you MUST keep a journal. (You should keep a journal anyway, but it’s a must with Sheiko). By tracking your progress closely, you can measure your results easier and progress to even more intensive Sheiko routines later. (Each of the Sheiko routines run 4 weeks in length). After 4 weeks, you max out again and use the new numbers for your next installment of the program.

One thing to watch out for is the terminology. I thought I understood it but was confused on the difference between deadlifting “from” boxes and deficit deadlift. I thought those sounded like the same thing so I was doing waaaay more weight while standing on a 4″ box than I should have been doing. Ooops. Oh well, now I know that deadlifting “from” boxes is the same thing as rack pulls, and deficit deadlift is obviously deadlifting while standing on something like a box a few inches high. Lesson learned.

Another lessoned learned from the Sheiko routine was that your body should be as close to 100% as possible. But even then there’s no guarantees. I felt good when I started but was dealing with a small hip popping problem and it seemed to start popping even more on the Sheiko program. It didn’t hurt and didn’t bother me at all when I lifted but it made me nervous. This hip thing came from another lessoned learned: Don’t over do box squats and sumo deadlift. (I’m a conventional deadlifter because it’s more comfortable for me and I feel stronger. But sumo style really strengthens your hips well.)

Overall, I really love the intensity and volume of the Sheiko routine. When I start it up again I’m definitely going to be “ready”. Preparation for that much volume is key and shouldn’t be taken lightly. (No pun intended). At the time, the Sheiko routine got me the biggest numbers I’d ever had on squat/bench/deadlift.

Click here to get the Sheiko spreadsheet that I cleaned up and used for my workouts.

Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

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