Villain Challenge 5
by MOA and Johnny Pain
Several elite units were created by the Soviet Union at the onset of the Cold War, each with a diverse mission set, from sabotage of Western nuclear weapons to partisan warfare in the mold of the Werwolf units employed by the Nazis in the waning days of World War II. Known as Spetsnaz, or Special Purpose Regiments, these commandos ignited the Soviet-Afghan War with simultaneous attacks on Kabul’s communications hub and the Tejbeg Presidential Palace, where they massacred the Afghan President and his 200 bodyguards.
Documentation on the training of both Military and KGB Spetsnaz is scarce at best, but thanks to men like Pavel Tsatsouline, we have anecdotal information on physical assessments such as the vaunted pull-up test. According to Pavel, one of the regular physical fitness tests in Spetsnaz units was 18 dead-hang pull-ups performed in combat fatigues, boots, and 10kg body armor.
Keeping in line with Villain training ideology, the test will be modified a bit to make it a Villain Challenge. We will do chin-ups, palms facing inward, instead of pull-ups. This is to increase range of motion, involve more muscle mass, and because those on the Greyskull LP will already be doing weighted chins and/or frequency method bodyweight chins. Also, since Soviet canvas fatigues and heavy leather boots are in short supply here in the West, the weight will be increased from 22lbs. to 25lbs. As far as equipment goes, weighted vests are unnecessary as a standard dip belt can be used for this Challenge. If you don’t have a dip belt, a length of chain and carabiner will work in a pinch.
Training for this challenge is very straightforward, especially if you’ve been doing frequency chins throughout the day and weighted chins at least one day per week. Every day, perform multiple submaximal sets of chins throughout your waking hours. Alternate increasing your reps or sets by one each week. Thus, two months of frequency training might look like this (below assumes a single set chin max of 8 or 9 to begin):
Week One – 6 sets of 6 reps
Week Two – 7 sets of 6 reps
Week Three – 7 sets of 7 reps
Week Four – 8 sets of 7 reps
Week Five – 8 sets of 8 reps
Week Six – 9 sets of 8 reps
Week Seven – 9 sets of 9 reps
Week Eight – 10 sets of 9 reps
Your frequency sets should be done with a few reps left in the tank. Don’t do max reps; if you need to start kipping, terminate the set.
If, for whatever reason, it becomes impractical to do 10 sets of chins throughout the day, or the reps get too high too quickly, ladders are an excellent way to build volume without having to be within the vicinity of a pull-up bar all day. Ladders are performed as follows:
Perform 1 rep; rest for about as long as it took you to do the rep
Perform 2 reps; 1:1 work-rest ratio
Perform 3 reps; 1:1 work-rest ratio
…and so on. When you get to the “top” of the ladder, which again will be a couple reps short of failure, start over at 1 rep and work back up. Three ladders with five rungs each give you 45 reps in one short session! Perform a few ladder sessions a day and you can easily achieve the same volume as with the standard frequency method.
At least one day per week, do two sets of weighted chins working your way up to at least 45lbs. of additional weight for 8 reps per set. Those of you following the Greyskull LP will do them on Pressing days, getting in two sessions one week and one session the next. Loading can follow a similar scheme to presses, with 5lb. jumps per week until micro-loading of 1-2.5lbs. becomes necessary. Once you hit 45lbs. for two sets of eight, go balls out and test yourself the following week.
Now get after it, Comrade!
MOA is a professional gunfighter who travels to exotic locales to refine his craft. Having completed some of the most physically and mentally arduous training in the US military, he is uniquely qualified to answer questions pertaining to all aspects of military fitness and UDT-short sizing. Johnny Pain has dubbed him “the CJ Caracci of the StrengthVillain empire.”