Today's guest is the streetlifter and world record setter Matvey Zlatoverkhovnikov, also known as Mathew Zlat from Russia. We're talking why building muscles isn't same as gaining strength, how he trains and what he thinks about bodybuilding. | MATHEW ZLAT | How to do 195kg Dips and 125kg Pull Ups

June 11, 2020 25 min read

MATHEW ZLAT | How to do 195kg Dips and 125kg Pull Ups | The Athlete Insider Podcast #8 

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The text of the interview (translated automatically): 

most people think that's resting more than three minutes between sets is bad like I don't know why they think that like why why because when you rest a lot when you rest like five six eight ten minutes you are able to do more total volume and as a result you get like you get more results like get better outcome of a session and why would it be bad yo guerrillas welcome to the next episode of the athlete insider podcasts I'm really happy to be here today with a really special person from Russia and yeah Matthew is here to share his story to share his workout advice and like to give you a short introduction on who Matthew is Matthew is like one of the strongest street lifters like weighted calisthenics athletes in the world right now with with insane records like the 195 kilo dip and the 125 kilo pull-up and today hopefully you will share some some insights on yeah like on your training on your day to get people to know you better so welcome Matthew thank you so much welcome everybody I'm glad to be here and I'm glad to have you here yeah because it's a really big honor a lot of people were asking for you and yeah so here we are so the first question how do you present yourself to somebody who doesn't know you well I just present myself as Matthew so like Matt Lee in Russian or Matthew do English speaking English speakers and if they ask about what kind of sport I do what kind of activities I do as a weighted calisthenics athlete and the one the dude who trains on the pull-up bar and it bars with heavy weights it's basically the easiest way to explain my sport to run the person who doesn't know what straight lifting is okay and I bet like a lot of people think you are some kind of bodybuilder you just do like the the normal bodybuilding air yeah they called me like local mr. Olympia or something because I can imagine like you you don't look like a typical calisthenics athlete like of course like more like a weighted athletes but like you are huge like how what are your measurements how tall and heavy are you right now I'm 182 centimeters tall around 98 99 kilos bodyweight I dropped around 7 kilos so far in this season because I was like 105 106 at my heaviest but it was really fat so I have to drop some body weight right now I'm feeling ok yeah sorry yeah nice so that's like really insane I'm happy that you fit into the the image so yeah really happy to have you here so for the people who don't know your story like too much how did you come to she waited calisthenics how is your like your journey and calisthenics and fitness and strength training well my journey is quite a long one actually and it started to all the way back in 2012 when I one day I was just I just decided to try myself and see how strong I actually am and try doing push-ups in the morning and I only managed like 15 reps and it was very disappointing for me I was extremely disappointed that I decided to get better like and for a year every morning I did push-ups I went from 15 to like 70 75 and then my grandmother she knew some kind of like not a strength coach but rather a physical rehab coach something like this like a physiotherapist and she gave me to him to like to bring up some weak points but this dude so so potential in me and I started training heavy interview like I did everything squats dead lifts bench and at the age of 13 years old and a body weight of around 73 kilos I managed to bench 105 like all the way back and it it was like it was a very crappy day actually and it wasn't my real max but the coach just said that no we are not going heavier it's dangerous but that like ready to go for more and then I had to take a break for around six months or so because I experienced my first problems with Archer like with hypertension with high blood pressure and this set me back quite a bit but this also made me switch the focus to calisthenics because like my parents were against me training like with you in the gym right they are just no normal people so in the mind of a normal person like the gym is associated with extremely heavy unhealthy lows but body weight training is associated with something okay but in reality it's just load so I used this exploit to continue training because I fell in love with it like the first heavy session in the gym so I found some local guys like showed off a little bit with my pull-ups like I learned one pull-up actually at that age early 14 years old and it felt great because everyone was impressed and it was extremely easy to make friends when you can just show something crazy on a pull-up bar like and it's just I just got sucked in like I've made some really really great friends and switch the street work out like I did Street workout for around seven or eight eight months until like the new year of 2015 then it became really cold and it rained on the streets and I decided to go to a gym but promised to my parents that I won't do anything like barbell dumbbells related just to bodyweight training in the gym because it's work and also in February of 2015 I got to like to try weighted calisthenics for the first time and I like it was love it was just something that I was made for it is I really felt that like my first tries with dips it was 20 kilograms for 11 reps like and back in the day I did dip from the full range of motion so like shoulder almost down to the bars themselves like it wasn't like a 90 degree tip like I do right now I like in the beginning I always did the dips with full range of motion and actually it served a very good purpose later because my joints were always prepared for some extra inches like extra centimetres of range of motion and I never got injured because of this and on the pull-ups my first try was 32 kilograms for six reps and then I tried dips with 32 enough about six reps so like my first results were 32 for 6 on both movements well with what 8 14 14 okay and a nice yeah okay like and then I j-just could have got seven eight nine reps like the forty kilos then I learned the from flavor because of my basics most of it attempts never really trained it but when I started training it it became even easier then one-arm pull-ups came into play I started training them also went from three to seven eight reps in like two or three weeks try 10 kilograms got two reps tried 16 but one rep then a bit later about two reps with sixteen on the left like also got some crazy stuff like one finger one-arm pull-ups like then later I tried it with 16 kilos at 15 years old and succeeded it was in a competition and I never actually 2017 when I did it for a video also like two times in my life I have ever tried this thing crazy and when people want to watch it I think a lot of things are also what like visible on YouTube on your YouTube channel where you are younger I think it's really interesting to watch to watch the the young Matthew with long hair like it's it's nice to watch sorry for everyone who was interested like Matthew's YouTube channel will also be in the description and it's it's nice to watch yeah that's true so and like what is your secret like just being like really directs like what do you think is your secret to be making so much improvement in such a short time like the genetics is it your training form what is it well I never really had a secret I just got it quite easily like if I really pushed something it went it really went with me like it it's true for me like in general life as well so like if I push studying it goes well if I push language-learning it goes well if I push training goes well so I was just kind of used to this mentality already when I started training so I expected improvement and I got improvement so like I didn't have that limit in my head that like this thing will be hard no like I just but still sometimes I surprised myself with how much I improved in a short time and it I don't know maybe maybe its genetic but I have never laid myself back and never abstained from hard work in the gym my problem was actually limiting myself because I like back in the day I really tend to go into overtraining not recovering well like I always love to push myself very hard and later I got the point that like organizing this properly is the key like when you have that fiery temper in yourself and you also apply like old brain cold analysis and this like the total that you get is perfect for progress so it has to be balanced like you have the temper you have the desire you have the passion and you have the cold minded approach the programming the thought you put into this and with this approach you get the best results maybe that's the kind of secret but I think it's from the surface okay what I'm interested in is is it difficult for you to be the first one doing things because there are some like if you watch at the numbers that you're lifting your for requests on numbers you're the first human being like at least known or recorded who did stuff and is it difficult in your mind choose not think it's impossible for a human being mmm-hmm it takes some time to expand my limits like back in the day I thought that 100 kilo bullets was hard like work hard and but as you get stronger and stronger and stronger like your mental limits also expand so I guess now I'm basing things more of my personal feelings of my personal experience rather than like some kind of world record or anything because I have my own standards right now like I realized that if something is impossible for a lot of people did doesn't mean that it's impossible for you so it's that kind of mentality like basing things of your possibilities your ability and it's useful not only for like breaking World Records but also for regular people also tend to like have like pro athletes world record holders like the best people as their role models and trying to like be similar to them like to be the same but the thing is that you always have to ground your vision of yourself basically based on what you can do and what like your body is capable of okay for me okay do you have the situation sometimes that somebody says to you a 200-kilo dip is impossible like it's impossible Matthew you should you should like not try or other situations like that well after I boosted my dip from 185 to 195 in two weeks then nobody had notion anymore but it was just like that jump actually exhausted me so I failed after like it was like it's a natural athlete you have these jumps which are rare and sometimes you can really boost your progress but then you have to pay for it with like months of stalls so but yes after the 195 know what nobody even thought that 200 is impossible okay nice and like I remember being in Vienna last year and sitting there with Adam Roth who just like had you as an athlete on his competition at the Czech workout pedal and he was like completely blown off by the performances that you showed so and he talked me told me that you're a lot into planning your like your you're planning a lot your your work cause you have a really strict workout that's like at least what I remember you want to talk about like how you structure you and plan your training oh yeah why not like we won't go into like a lot of depth in here but I can say some basic things some like outlines some basic principles but not okay so like what does your training schedule look like and how do your planet like right now I am basing things off with like if I have a three week cycle right now like one week is structured a bit similar to the Texas method program and I think that the Texas method are you familiar with it actually no and I think most of the visitors also some of them aren't as well well so basically to explain the Texas method is a classic powerlifting routine for intermediate level athletes and the main like like the main pro of this method is that it's really simple but it's really efficient so it's a weekly cycle basically you have the loading phase like a hard training session in the beginning like the original Texas method has five by five on Monday so like five sets of five the heavy session then you have two sets of five light to light sets with a lot of works in reserve on Wednesday the easy session to deal owed and then you have the max out session on Friday way where you take your five rep maxes so I have modified this scheme basically I my light session is on Tuesday not on Wednesday so I have two sessions in a row and it's not like a deal out session but rather rather like an assistance session where where I do my post work so I right now I put a lot of effort into my post training and it really helps me especially on the dips like if you want a big dip you have to do both perhaps to strengthen the most vulnerable part of the motion like and the three-week cycle is basically I altered the load between weeks so one week is three sets of everything the next week is four sets of everything the next week at my max performance is five sets of everything and like if I take six sets maybe I will recover but it won't be sustainable and I cycle this so during the light we can recover and then I accumulate the load to push myself and then I recover again adding some weight every week so right now it works something like this okay and do you have like do you train with a workout book or like printed tables or how do you do you enter and everything in your mobile phone I just remember everything okay okay I if I need to like remember everything like to the point of technique or like a given rep of a given set on a given day and I usually just record everything and have it on my phone as we do okay and I can imagine that you need to eat like a lot a lot of calories so how is it possible like what is your nutrition like how is it possible for you to keep or to like to gain even masks well actually that's not true and if compared to my friends I usually eat like around the same or even less okay I can bust I can bust a great session on like almost empty stomach and it's easy for me to like eat not a lot and usually I like I experimented a lot with different kinds of food before trading right now I'm eating oatmeal before training and it works great like it's really charges me up with the right type of carbs and I feel great and energized before training and then like later in the day I just eat something like chicken different kinds of grains pasta whatever like regular food regular food and back in the day L also used to eat a lot of chocolate and bring up the calories by this but it was just like an addiction and right now I don't really chocolate and that's why I dropped like seven kilos I'm trying to lose weight right now but usually yes it's like chocolate is either break your eating habits something like this okay and you also like you do you offer personal training but you you have like your you have your workout plans that's right like and do your also forums like online coaching I I don't really do that as of now because I don't think I'm ready for like serious coaching because I think I still have to improve to really take people on so right now I'm coaching only one person like for money and two friends for free clear band Artem stroke of maybe you know him there what the dude with a 60 kilo muscle upon the ring Wow crazy like like Perry did this and also our tomb later did this like and basically our tombs training was planned by me nice so right now I'm just accumulating practice to later just be a good coach because I don't think that right now I'm capable of really taking people and providing them like quality service I still need to improve like online coaching is a serious thing and you have to be very responsible when you started so a bit later yes I will do this but right now I'm still accumulating my practice and experience ok so if people want to learn from your experience right now they can like learn by online by the programs that they can buy well the problems of just ask me like I answer almost everyone if the question is adequate ok awesome so if ever anyone is like interested in his and Matthews workout programs we will also put a link down below another video basically just Instagram every website ok ok that's good we'll do that so what does the day one day in one typical day and the life of Matthew looks like like how does it what do you do during the day well right now it's actually quite laid-back and easy because I quit University likely here ago because it was messing with my mental health first or something but right now I'm in this intermediate stage of life where I'm basically deciding what I'm gonna do next and basically right now I don't do anything but training and spending time with my friends or by myself like I wake up eat my meal either go for a walk or for a training session have a different meal go for walk like read something online or watching videos and maybe go for another walk and then go to sleep something like this very simple nothing really complicated okay and when you say you go for a walk you don't mean cardio but you like you just move well it's a kind of cardio because I walk quite a lot every day but it's not like an intense cardio is just regular walking but I can walk like 20 maybe up to 30 kilometres per day and it's normal for me oh god that's crazy do you have a counter on your mobile phone who counts the steps you do yes like my daily average is around 20,000 that's insane like I have to admit that I like I track my steps as well and I like I my goal is 5000 every day because I like em be in the office and most days I don't like I don't achieve this so 20 thousands for me is crazy well actually like back in the day when I was training at the gym not at home like to the gym and back it's six thousand steps for me that's the the bad point of doing everything by bike by bicycle so yeah well bicycle is also really good yeah it is like of course but the the watch doesn't count that's that's bad for the ego it hurts my ego that watch doesn't counter the bicycle steps oh yeah okay nice so something that I was interested in is do you think everybody is able to do the performances or would be able to do the performances that you show with the same training with the same diet and maybe also the same I like body type well with the same body type probably everyone like there is nothing special about me I have seen many guys with genetics better than mine like for sure definitely for sure and I think that my case is just one of passion and old mind approach like because like my genetics are good but not like one out of a million like they're not super great so I think that the case is that like so far nobody has been so obsessed as I it was like this is the case maybe like some people like Andres Mario who recently broke the chain of world record he is also access to this degree but really is just about how hard you go okay okay wow that's yeah yeah that's that's crazy it's like it's it's hard to believe because like it's like did you ever train like twice a day or is it like how how does somebody from the outside see your you see your passion like how is it like how does it transmitted into the day well actually like a lot of people think that I train every day or several times a day but when they hear that I train like three times a week like a normal person they go surprised and basically training makes me happy like when my training is good I feel happy and this is the way it transfers to my everyday life like when I had a good training session I usually don't whirl with anybody I'm just happy and chill something like that and don't you have the the try to work out every day if it makes you happy or is it like what do you do on rest days is it like aa demo well it's a bit of that yes but like training every day doesn't work unless you split it somehow but I have only to exercise it is in my workout so split options are quite limited and also as like as it works the best for me to do pull and push in a single workout so splitting even more limited so I'm stuck with having rez days and I think it's fine like one thing is that it makes you happy but the main thing is getting them results so without the result the training is pointless so you gotta do what you gotta do okay so you wouldn't have so much fun in the training if you wouldn't have the results right like the to my training is purely for the results like the fun is about setting PRS and getting results the process is good yes but the results are much better okay and until now what was the the most rewarding moment in your athletic career probably the cww of 2019 when I was in Czech Republic it was great it was great and I also surprised surpassed my expected performance on the pull-up but the dip was kind of like in the high because my main goal for that competition was to dip 180 officially but I won't pull up I expected nothing more than like 110 but I got 120 on the pull-up and only 170 because like the pulip was first and there was a lot of time between movements so I got burned out and then I came back home like today's like three days after that and I did 180 I was ready it just was a it was a psychological thing okay do you feel like a big boost when you perform under like adrenaline on a camping competition do you feel like a lot of more strength then well it's a tricky thing because on competition the equipment also differs like the my physical state is great on competition even if I had crappy sleep and crappy food like on competition I'm always strong but uh the thing is that especially for dips like I focus a lot on the dips like pools are secondary for me and the dip bars really did between competition the big bars it's a belt the place and it makes a lot of difference and usually I just can transfer my strength perfectly in a competition like my dip bars over there were made personally for me and they are perfect but none of the dip bars that were in competition even the Adam row play Adam Brody bars which were made specifically for cww B they weren't perfect either so like but on the pull-up my performance really doesn't true okay as so it really depends on the circumstances okay and like I also wanted to share like your story with your custom-made dip bars because for me it's really it shows your past passion for the sport and for your training you want to share the story behind the custom mates like dip bars in your gym why did you do it how did you achieved you get to finances etc well it wasn't that hard actually because like the deep part that I had in my gym like in Safari sport which I attend which I have attended for the last five years or something they were great they were comfortable but the bars themselves were like really thin like a normal pull-up bar or something and they also were quite fragile so to say like I have tried 200 on them but even at 140-150 the bars start bending a little bit oh and it was quite scary and also like I have a friend clamp which is here right now and for me the bars are perfect but for him they were a little bit too wide in like too wide so he had his forearms like like this not like this perfectly but like this and so it's like I thought about it and really came to conclusion that my own custom-made dip bars need to be paid thing like it would like yeah it would show the passion and it would be great for blip it would be great for me they would be durable and later on it also got apparent that it was a great thing to do because of the coronavirus thing and having a personal set of dip bars was perfect for this situation because I could just take them home and train that's something that I guess a lot of street lifters would have wished to just take the dip bars from the gym or from the park home so yeah that was like something that I liked I liked the story also this dip bars have a fun story to them like they were made really cheap like very cheap under 500 euros actually but the delivery was around the same post as the depart themselves because they were transferred all the way from Moscow and when they arrived they were like in one piece they weren't dismountable and the doors we have in our dream are very like narrow basically they didn't fit and we had to call a master to basically cut them in half runs for the halves all the way to the gym and then wheeled them back together and then we had to do it the second time to get them back to my home but we actually made them dismountable so right now they have a look underneath or when it was fun was where it was a lot of fun in decision-making it wasn't easy at all that's a nice story I didn't even know that so yeah like but you also train like you don't like your front lever is also really strong like it's not it's for me for me it is like it for most of the people it is and like is it something that you are just able to do or do you're trained for sometimes it is something that I trained back in the day that's it like I have trained it and like I don't have to do anything really to maintain it it just is there and like I do it sometimes to show off sometimes to test it and that's enough to maintain the strength basically okay same with handstand push-ups you Darin cross because I don't cross like I did it yesterday or like a couple of days ago I'll post it into my Instagram a couple of days later that's that's crazy to see because as you said like if I understand it right your workout only consists of two exercises yes it does pull-ups and tips yes so why not pull-ups is just something that you do from time to time no no like one or loves it used to be three exercises it used to be one or pull-ups also in the beginning but like when I started preparation for shave WWB I got chronic soreness in my chest like I was training a lot and one-armed Phillips were hurting me basically and also like at that point I will have this set of world record of 32 kilos so it was my goal for years and when I finally achieved it I was satisfied so like I had no problem removing them and in my training so if I do tomorrow like I do a 36 kilo when I'm pull up then you will start taking the third exercise in your workout right probably not not because like the my friend glir who is sitting right here next to me he has a great genetic predisposition for one-arm pull-ups he like he doesn't train wonderful ups at all and he did 20 kilos first time Wow Wow okay so if he trains if he can do 40 maybe even 50 kilos not now right now he is going for the 100 pool and nice so what are the biggest mistakes that you see people do and calisthenics our street lifting especially like I can go all about this for a long long time which won't fit into the interview but if we sum it up the biggest problem in street lifting is the bodybuilding type of thinking so people come into the sport thinking that everything works just like in bodybuilding and you see this a lot in like in various aspects in technique of the movements when they say that protracted shoulders on the deep is bad for like because it doesn't work cheston's as much and then they load up the deep and then they get like shoulder injuries and they complain about it in the internet it's just stupid really they don't understand that there are different forms for building muscle and for building strength this is the one aspect the second aspect is rep ranges like a lot of people think that 8 reps 10 reps 12 reps are useful for stiff thing and I think for novices they are but when you get more advanced you move like closer to 4 to 6 reps and for me even six reps is endurance so right now I'm more work mostly three to four reps or singles so also a big one is rest times like rest times is like a number one thing that people think that's resting more than 3 minutes between sets is bad like I don't know why they think that like why why because when you rest a lot when you rest like 5 6 8 10 minutes you are able to do more total volume and as a result you get like you get more results I could get better outcome of a session and why would it be bad and I see people wasting a lot of gains of because of like rest times like two minutes or 1:30 this is a big one also I did a lot of assistance exercises like this is my personal point I don't like assistance as a thing at all like for assistance I personally do just post moments but I consider that for some people assistance might be useful and it's a tool that you must have in your toolbox right so to say but still I see people doing assistance without any without putting any thought into it without like analyzing the movement and analyzing the schedule and applying the assistance that you need at the right time they just throw in a bunch of curls a bunch of rows about everything and then complain about how they don't recover and how to progress is not there like it's also extremely common okay okay yeah I can I can imagine so um like maybe the the last question and this topic how do people gain mass like how is it like if somebody has the wish to gain mass just like in in terms of self-confidence but also like related to if your strength and like do you have any advice to gain well it's actually quite easy you train with progressive overload your trade basic movement and you eat in a surplus that's it that's literally it if you train with progressive overload you like build strength and as long as you have that surplus of calories and enough protein you will build muscle because of and the basic movements are the ones that tend to create the best response from the body so these three factors are completely enough to build muscle mass okay nice so we come to the the quick question quick answer round at the end of every interview so what do you prefer pizza or burger it's no question do you prefer dogs or cats nothing because I'm allergic to both Oh what is your favorite animal do you have one what was the best location you've been at in holidays Cape Fear Lent which is like 30 minutes from me it was great like I have some photos of it in my Instagram okay how would your life be influenced if social media just disappeared well I'd have to get a job I'd have to get the job as a personal trainer I'd have to get some credentials finished some courses or education and then work as a personal trainer in a gym and I lose all of my international recognition so I'd have to go into competitions more often but basically like I was wrong okay that's nice a year do you have a favorite calisthenics athlete or Street lifting athlete well it's hard to say I like everyone who is doing this with passion and is respectable to other athletes that's it like but the ones that I respect the most are the og athletes like Adam row or Ranjit like this kind of people like it actually Adam row because he is like og of waited Elstad yeah that's true do you have a favorite book well it's tricky because I've read a lot in last couple of years and every book is like great in itself so making favorites is like like having your favorite book is like having a favorite memory from Allah from your life like it can be the case but different memories have different like wipe to that them and so do books but I have I like I like a lot of books but I cannot like name a favorite this is the thing yeah and then the last question that I am asking normally is dynamics or statics but this doesn't fit too much but what do you prefer to you to look like when you watch Kayla Sonic's videos do you prefer like yeah it's it's a bad question like let's say what do you yeah yes it's a very good question because firstly I'm a straight at it and like the second thing is that in Russia we have a very biased attitude towards dynamics because there is this Russian style of street workout which is per string and as like we have this thing that is called Technica which is basically Technic elements which don't really relate to strength at all and back in the day all of these dynamics were called like Technic elements like in classic Russian Street workout dynamics are things like Festo front lever pull-ups plunge push-ups so basically when your body moves but it's the required strength so right now as I know in modern chemists any community even like things like front lever pull-ups are called statics which doesn't make sense to me now but Familia is definitely strength training like strength skills are like layout weight dynamics by so much okay like I just know the the world of bar he was judging system and they call it strength strength dynamics that's where what they are called like FS so front lever pull up stuff like that so static moves but with strengths yes so yeah but I have the question this is the final question of the interview if you have to decide between pull-up like only being able to do pull-ups in your life or just dips what would you choose dips no question tips okay this dips are also but dips are just the holy grail of strip 15 for me okay that's that's good so um how can people get in touch with you we already said like if they have any questions they can ask you via Instagram is there yes awesome so we will put Matthews in serum Tech in the in the description yeah and one question how can can you pronounce your second name because I I wrote it down and I will try to to connect to pronounce it Lata where boy your become no no it's in Russian it sounds like a lotta vehicle vehicle okay I will not repeat this but yeah thank you question mark yeah for me your Matthew lots yeah perfect so we're coming to an end of the episode I want to say thank you to everyone who listens to this till the end I'm really really happy Matthew that you took the time to be here and before you are able to finish this episode and say goodbye to the people I want to say thank you again and if you want you let this series continue you can leave the comment down below who should be interviewed next and write this episode if you like this and give us feedback so yeah see you soon Gorillaz and Matt here you can say goodbye yeah sure thank you for this interview I liked it a lot thank you everyone for watching