The Zombie Killer: Sergey Litvninov (by Mike Hom)

The Zombie Killer: Sergey Litvninov
By Mike Hom

I have to say that I love Brent’s articles on inspirational lifters. I’m also fond of the heroes of 70’s Big. Doug Young would make any guy and girl wet between the legs and Pisarenko sported a ‘stache that would make Ron Jeremy envious. It’s no wonder why both men are co-captains of the 70’s Big Hall of Fame. But, if I had to a pick a hero that inspired me beyond measure to train hard, it would be Sergey Litvinov.

Before I go into why Sergey Litvinov would be the first defense against Zombies, as well why he should be inducted into the 70’s Big Hall of Fame, let me give a bit of background on the man and how I came to know about him.

Litvinov is the subject of an article written by Dan John that I immediately took to heart when it was first published years back. I sincerely doubt Dan John embellished any in his article, but even if he did, I don’t care. It has inspired literally scores of people to try to emulate the same caliber of athleticism that was described in this article which can be found here. Go ahead. Google “litvinov” or “litvinov workout” and the first hit will be Dan John’s article on T-Nation as well as other related sites.

If you are too lazy to read the article, Litvinov was a gold medal winning hammer thrower that inspired American Discus Thrower John Powell to switch up his training regiment through his observations of Litvinov’s training. Dan John described the standard Litvinov workout to be very simple but extremely tough.
Try this on for size:

“Eight reps of front squats with 405 lbs., immediately followed by a 75-second 400-meter run. Repeat this little combination for a total of three times and go home, thank you. Let’s just stop here and marvel at what Powell observed. A 196 lbs. man front squatted 405… eight times!”

Let’s not forget that he did this 3 times total for a total of 24 squats at 405 lbs. Now, I don’t know about every one of you 70’s Big readers but I can back squat 405 lbs. for a double on a good day and front squat 315 lbs. The man did this eight times and then ran 400m in 75 seconds. 75 seconds is over 30 seconds slower than the current 400m world record, but is still faster than what most people can do. Compound the fact that the man squatted 405 lbs. eight times prior to running makes this an incredible feat. The only other bit of information about Litvinov’s training is from wikipedia ( and the entry states Litvinov was rumored to be able to muscle snatch 100kg / 220 lbs. for quick sets of 10. Now, whether that it is completely accurate or not doesn’t matter. The mythology surrounding this man was that he could MUSCLE SNATCH 100 kilos for quick SETS — not A set — of 10.

A few only slightly less plausible rumors about Litvinov’s capacity:

  • Milo carried the calf. Litvinov carried Milo.
  • Litvinov was known for his use of max effort box jumps to augment his power development. Typically he’d warm up at 24″, 48″, and then progress to the Matterhorn.
  • Once, Litvinov was accosted by a horde of angry lumberjacks. Rather than thrashing them thoroughly, as he clearly could have, he made a peace offering of beer and sausages. They drank and ate, and proceeded to see who could chop down trees the quickest. Thus, Timbersports, one of the manliest athletic events ever, was created.

I know that astute readers will catch on to the fact that he is below 200 lbs. Further, the picture of him in Dan John’s article shows that he is clean shaven. OK, so there’s a few things going against him. So why does he deserve to be inducted into the 70’s Big Hall of Fame?

I think we have established, to some extent, that 70’s Big is not merely about the physical appearance of your being. It is an attitude. It is about training as hard as you can to achieve tangible goals. Are you eating to facilitate your goals? Are you doing what you can to get as strong as you humanly can within the context of your every day life? Are you training intelligently to ensure long term success? That, among other things, is 70’s Big for me. Litvinov illustrates that he was willing to train hard to achieve his goals. After all, he is a two time Olympic medalist and set three world records in the hammer throw, which brings me to reasons as to why he would be the first defense against a Zombie invasion.

Assuming he had a good deal of strength in his other core lifts relative to his front squat, he embodies a good mix of strength and speed, which I feel is extremely important. Let’s say, for example, you had a comrade trapped under a heavy object and a group of Zombies were headed towards your direction. You would want to sprint over there and lift the object up to your partner and this might require a deadlift, or some semblance of a clean to get that object completely off the damsel — I mean, partner — in distress. Further, you want to be able to grab your partner and run if necessary. Let’s face it, you can’t be a skinny twit who can run miles but have a hard time carrying anything heavier than a water pack. Conversely, while huge strong men will generally not have an issue with lifting, heaving, and carrying heavy weight, zombies may overtake you for reasons stemming from bad conditioning. That is also assuming you get to your partner before keeling over from being out of breath. Either way, it’s not a good look. Litvinov could probably sprint over to you, pick you up, and set you upright. Then he would probably immediately sprint over to some type of cover, lift pieces of broken car and toss them at incoming zombies. If he had hammers with him, I’m sure he would make Thor jealous with how he could toss a hammer through multiple zombie heads.

So, I guess I am kind of going against the grain here with this nomination of The Litvi into the 70’s Big Hall of Fame. But, let’s face it. If I needed someone to pull me out of some wreckage in the middle of an urban jungle, I would want someone who had the uncanny strength AND conditioning to save me and other team members while carrying cinematic-movie-levels of ammunition and ordnance to combat the Zombie horde. He would also need to throw hammers at show stopping distances to let Zombie heads blossom and burst forth a sea of blood of brain matter. And finally, he would need to have the raw power to perform multiple Spartan kicks to punch a hole through a Zombie’s chest on any given day.

Yeah, I’d have him on my team.