HMMR Podcast Episode 127: Bottom-up Periodization (with Mike Tuchscherer)

The world of powerlifting can be a very formulaic world. The world is easily organized into blocks and percentages in a top-down fashion. But what if your athlete doesn’t fit into the block? Coach Mike Tuchscherer has set world record holders and coached numerous champions himself. He has set out to create a bottom-up approach to periodization that allows for better individualization. On this episode of the podcast he joins us to talk about how he has tried to tackle this problem and incorporated the ideas of Anatoli Bondarchuk into powerlifting.

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Notes and Quotes

As mentioned above, Tuchscherer had a strong career himself. He was a 8-time USA Powerlifting champion, World Games champion, world championship medalist, and world record holder competed both equipped and unequipped. He is also coach of champions, with six of his athletes taking home medals at the most recent IPF championships. Much of the episode focused on how he’s been applying Bondarchuk’s periodization methods in powerlifting to create a more bottom-up approach.

A critical look at our traditions
Trying something new
Other coaching topics
  • 28:00 – How RPE usage helps athletes develop competition skills.
  • 30:00 – Other ways he has adapted Bondarchuk’s approach.
  • 33:30 – Monotony in training. “Monotony plays less of a role when you can see your daily progress in your competitive exercise.
  • 38:30 – Other RPE-based programming options.
  • 41:00 – Training in individual vs. group settings.
  • 47:30 – How much individual variation does Tuchscherer see and how does he learn about an athlete’s adaptive response.

To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further Reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

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  • You can learn more about Tuchscherer on the Reactive Training Systems website, where he offers online coaching services, books, and more. In addition, you can find him on Twitter at and on Twitter at @MikeTuchscherer.
  • You can learn more about Bondarchuk’s periodization in Lesson 1 in the HMMR Classroom. Nick discussed his experience of implementing Bondarchuk and learning about individual variations in this case study.
  • We discussed applying Bondarchuk to other sports in our August HMMR Hangout and on Episode 114 of the podcast.
  • Tuchscherer also recommended the book Squat Every Day: Thoughts on Overtraining and Recovery in Strength Training by Matt Perryman.