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.
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
- 7:00 – Where traditional periodization fell short. “With traditional periodization you are always reactive. “
- 11:30 – Why we don’t notice when what we are doing isn’t working? “It’s too easy to get married to the plan when there is an extensive development process. “
- 13:30 – Example of where it falls short. “You can say traditional periodization works for most people most of the time, but how do you tell that to the person it doesn’t help. “
Trying something new
- 17:00 – What would you do for periodization if you didn’t know what periodization was? “Training should be simple: do something that works until it stops working, then try something else. “
- 18:30 – Trying Bondarchuk’s methods and getting athletes to buy in to trying something new.
- 21:00 – Measuring daily performance and getting feedback. “When RPE is used well it gives you great feedback to estimate 1RM. “
- 24:30 – Comparing RPE 1RM estimates to other 1RM estimates. Comparing velocity measurement devices. “Using RPE forces athletes to learn more about their body. “
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.
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.