I’ve given many seminars over the past few years, but last weekend’s event was perhaps the most unique event I have been involved in. It might have actually been the first periodization seminar ever that spent all of 10 minutes discussing the actual periods. Instead we took a step back to look at the complexity of the problems we are trying to address with periodization, strategies and processes to deal with the complexities, and then surveyed a variety strategies in action. My portions focused on some many of the best practices we can learn from some of the master coaches I have worked with and had the chance to interview for HMMR Media. My co-host John Kiely focused his time on the complexities and what we can learn from science about the problem and potential solutions. He covered many topics like mental biases and how to deal with them, gaining power through simplicity in training, and optimizing organizational processes. I could write several posts with what I learned on Saturday, but decided to focus on three big picture take-aways I learned from Kiely over the weekend. Read more
This year marks the 80th anniversary of when Hans Selye started research stress and coined the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) in a letter to the editor of Nature. GAS, often called the stress response, was taken by coaches as the basis of adaptation in training and the foundation of early periodization models. As Buddy Morris put it on our podcast last year, coaches are primarily in the business of stress management. But as science learns more about the complexities of stress, training methodology has not kept. Recently John Kiely posed the question: is training philosophy built upon an incomplete understanding of the nature of stress? Read more
Ok, I’m a box o’ wine. I’m not too proud!
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” -Stephen Hawking
Age does funny things to the human athlete. How we adapt to it is possibly more important than competing itself. How one adapts may be the difference between having a prolonged career and retirement. Read more
Think of the body as a versatile musician who can play beautiful classical pieces and shift rapidly to jazz riffs and then in the next instant to a hip hop beat. What is wondrous is that all this can occur on demand in an instant. Read more
Multitasking does not work in life nor does it work in training. In designing and implementing an effective training session focus is essential. It is tempting to include more, to tick off the boxes so speak so that you touch all bases in a training session. Instead it is imperative to have a specific objective for the training session and a very focused means to achieve the objective. Less is more, trite but true. Read more
Basically the challenge in preparing athletes for competition is to find the optimum training load with the appropriate stimulus to ensure continual adaptation. That requires determining the stimulus threshold for each of the physical qualities being developed and what is right for each athlete. Read more
As I get older and coach longer I see what has worked for me and what has not worked. There are commonalities in each. Hopefully these reflections and recollections will help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and learn what has worked and adapt it to your situation. There have been incredible changes since 1969 when I started coaching. We can measure and monitor things when did not even know existed 44 years ago, but I am not sure that has always made us better coaches. It is too easy to get caught up in the technology and the science and forget we coach people who have feeling and emotions and have lives outside of sport. Read more
The publisher is putting the finishing touches on Bondarchuk’s latest book (Olympian Manual for Strength & Size – pre-order here) and it should be shipped this month. An overview of the book and its table of contents are available here, but in the meantime I had a chance to talk with translator Jake Jensen about his own thoughts on the book. I assisted Jake in the editing of the book and got to know him throughout the process. As a competitive weightlifter and trainer, Jake is not just interested in translating the book, but also in what it contains.
Ask yourself is what you are doing busy work or best work? Best work is training and that will get you better, busy work will just get you tired. There is a huge difference between getting tired and getting better. Training recognizes that there is a time to be tired and a time to be fresh. Knowing the difference is a key to adaptation. Read more
Work is hard and the harder the work the better the work is. No, absolutely wrong – STOP – that is not training. That approach will work for a while before the inevitable crash occurs. Certainly training is work, but the key distinction is that training is work with a specific direction and purpose. Sometimes training is very hard and other times it is very easy. Read more