Reflections & Recollections

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

Interview with Jake Jensen

The publisher is putting the finishing touches on Bondarchuk’s latest book (Olympian Manual for Strength & Sizepre-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.
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More on Work Versus Training

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 Versus Training

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

What is Training?

Training is not about the hurt or pain; it is not about puking and being at the max in each workout. That is not training. Training is systematic, sequential and progressive; it incorporates hard workouts and easy workouts to allow the body to adapt. Work is easy training is hard. Anyone can do mindless work that wears out the body; not very many can focus and put the pieces together to systematically improve performance over time. To understand what good training is, it is important to be able to separate fact from fiction and style and marketing claims from programs that have substance and produce consistent results. Read more

Innovation & Change

Everyone likes to think of innovation and change as major things you have to do. Radical departures if you will. I think of change as a constant, if you are not continually changing and adapting then you are not growing. The same with innovation, it is an ongoing process. If you want to stay ahead of the game then change and innovation is part of your daily routine. You have to see your world with different eyes. You have to use all your senses and heighten your powers of observation. Read more

Training Talk: Recovery with Joel Jamieson (Part 2)

Strength and conditioning coach Joel Jamieson.

Strength and conditioning coach Joel Jamieson.

Over the weekend I started an interesting training talk on the topic of recover with Joel Jamieson. In part one both Joel and I commented on how recovery methods can be overused. But they are still important for training when used appropriately. This final part continues to discuss Joel’s thoughts on when and how to use different recovery methods.

Joel is best known as one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the mixed martial arts world, although his experience is much broader. He has also developed an expertise in training recovery and he has created BioForce HRV, a portable tool to monitor an athlete’s training state through heart rate variability.
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Training Talk: Recovery with Joel Jamieson (Part 1)

Strength and conditioning coach Joel Jamieson.

Strength and conditioning coach Joel Jamieson.

Recovery is an important aspect of training that is often overlooked. But, to the surprise of many, it is also an element of training that can be overdone. For decades the theory was that all methods of recovery were good and researchers tested out new technologies to see what might give athletes an extra benefit. But in recent years the pendulum has swung in the other direction: there can be too much of a good thing.

One of the first people to explain this topic to me was Joel Jamieson. Joel is best known as one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the mixed martial arts world. His gym in Kirkland, Washington has trained some of the top MMA fighters around, including current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. His blog, 8WeeksOut, is one of the most popular MMA training blogs. His experience, however, is not limited to MMA. He started his career as a strength and conditioning coach at my alma matter, the University of Washington, and then for the Seattle Seahawks. He also has trained many pro athletes in a variety of sports. Joel has developed an expertise in training recovery and he has developed BioForce HRV, a portable tool to monitor an athlete’s training state through heart rate variability. His manual for the device contains what I find the best overview of the adaptation process available, as well as the impact of recovery methods on it.

When I was back in Seattle at the start of August I had the chance to sit down with Joel to discuss this topic and other topics. This is just the first in many posts I will have that resulted from my visit, but before we begin it is helpful to put this first topic into context.
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Continuous Improvement

Is it realistic to think that an athlete can seek and attain continuous improvement throughout their athletic career? At first glance it sees like the answer would be no, but in my experience that is not the case. As an athlete starts their journey the trajectory of improvement is almost linear, virtually everything the athlete does in training results in improvement in performance. Then there comes the inevitable leveling off process. This is the point in the athlete’s career, the proverbial crossroads, where the coach and athlete need to make a choice, stay the course or seek new ways to get better. Read more


It is easy to get caught in the isolationist trap. Trying to isolate an energy system or any system of the body may be mentally convenient and look good in theory but in practice it is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. All systems of the body work together all the time and they work together synergistically to maintain a state of homeostasis. Read more