I am asked all of the time by young coaches what it takes to become a highperformance coach. My first piece of advice? Find a quality mentor. The second? Take control of your own coaching education. I recommend using curriculum-based schools or systems for staple knowledge and fundamentals, but when it comes to understanding high performance training systems or methodologies, research it out on your own and speak to experienced coaches . . . you may be surprised at what you find. Read more
Tag Archive for: Periodization
In the coming weeks HMMR Media will welcome Derek Evely as a new author with a series on modern periodization methods (continue reading here). But before we look at the current trends in periodization it is helpful to look at how we got to periodization itself. After all, knowing where you came from can be as helpful as knowing where you are. Read more
Perhaps it is the Swiss in me, but I love order. I look at training and I see how I can put nearly every aspect of it in its own little box. You can classify exercises, types of strength, bodily systems used, recovery methods, etc. But the point of classifying it is to see how you can put it all back together. What good is it to classify foods, after all, if you never make a meal?
Look at the two sporting superpowers of post war era, Germany and the Soviet Union/post-Soviet states, and you find two very different approaches to training. Both have produced amazing results, but interestingly ideas like periodization, the concept of transfer of training, block training, complex training, special strength, etc. came just from one of the two powerhouses. Try to think of the most influential names in training methods and you’ll have to scroll well past luminaries like Leo Matveyev, Yuri Verkhoshansky, Vladimir Issurin, Vladimir Zatsiorsky and of course my coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk before you find many Germans. How come so many revolutionary ideas came from just one of these countries? Read more
I’ve done lots of presentations about training before, but last weekend was a first. This was the first time I’d presented for a whole day. And it was the first time I’ve presented so long in German. And it was a blast. For once I could explain concepts in depth, with concrete examples of how things fit together, rather than having time constraints force me to keep things at a higher level.
The seminar also served as a test for the upcoming HMMR Media seminar series in America later this month. I will be flying to the US in less than two weeks to join forces with Notre Dame coach Nick Garcia and Cal coach Mo Saatara to go into even more depth on these topics.
After a year of using the system myself I felt it was time that I go ahead and implement it with some of my high school athletes. I had the perfect candidate to experiment with: a young thrower on my team named Ginika Iwuchukwu. As a freshman and sophomore Ginika had played basketball in the winter and we only had a short time to prepare her for the upcoming track season. During this time I had her on a traditionally periodized training plan and at the end of her sophomore year she had thrown right at 12 meters (39 feet). Looking ahead to her junior year she decided to focus on throwing. Therefore, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to apply Dr. B’s system or what my idea of what the Dr. B. system was. Rather than going into the structure of the program, which Martin has explained and had examples of it up in the past. I will go over the results we got, mistakes I made, and what I am doing differently this year compared to with Ginika over the last two years.
Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.
Question: I am working on a collegiate strength training staff and, among other sports, I am responsible for the strength training for throwers. I am wondering if you have any input on how to balance strength training with the different phases of throws training. For example, if there is a phase of throwing heavy implements, what would be best to do in the weight room at that time? -Coach Nicholas
I think the biggest plague affecting training is the cookie-cutter approach to it used many coaches in all sports. Individuals are different. Sports are different. And there are different training methods to choose from. An optimal training program comes not just from tailoring a template to individual- and sport-specific needs, but from also starting with the right template in the first place.
That is my periodization manifesto. So I read with interest last week as an article explained there is actually only one type of periodization:
“We have 97% genetic concordance with Gorillas, 98%+ with Chimps, and 99%+ with every other human on the planet. Humans respond to training in almost identical ways qualitatively, but differ only in quantity of response.”
-Dr. Mike Israetel in “5 Questions with Dr. Mike Israetel” on Juggernaut Training Systems
Israetel’s ultimate point in the article is a bit more nuanced and semantic; he concludes that what we think of as different types of periodization are merely variants of the same and the current debates just concern the specifics of implementation. In other words, we are all cooking Thanksgiving dinner and we only disagree about portion size, how much salt to use, or which dishes might be included. But whether we bake a turkey or ham, we we are all making Thanksgiving dinner. Israetel clearly does not advocate a one-size-fits-all approach, but I have heard this same argument used before to defend that approach.
On the one hand I don’t really care how we lump approaches together as that does not really affect what we do. But on the other hand it affects how we talk training and therefore it is an important topic. Framing the issue this way glosses over the specifics, but the specifics should be front and center as there is no meaningful training without them. In fact, the specifics of training are in the definition of periodization itself:
Periodization is the timing, sequence and interaction of the training stimuli to allow optimum adaptive response in pursuit of specific competitive goals.
-Vern Gambetta in “What is Periodization?”
In the grand scheme of things the changes may be small. Human beings are indeed more similar than different. But those differences are still huge. I am not a biologist, but if a 1% change in genetic correspondence means the difference between a human and a chimp, then the variance within humans, even if smaller, is significant and needs to be taken into account in training. Those differences can make or break an athlete’s program. The difference between using classical block periodization or complex periodization for a sprinter can affect performance and injury rates. The difference each period’s length can mean the difference between an extremely effective program and a waste of time. And the balance of specificity is crucial. These types of specifics matter whether you consider it all one type of periodization or not.
And let’s be clear: the differences between individuals are both quantitative and qualitative. There are some common points with everyone. For example, introduce a stressor and the body will attempt to adapt to it. But individual differences are not just in how much the body adapts (quantity) but also in the process of adaptation itself (quality). When talking about individual differences, I love to cite a University of Alabama looking at swimming warmups. Researchers tested three different warm-up variations: a normal long warm up, a short warm up, and no warm up. After each warm up athletes performed a time trial. Unsurprisingly, the normal warm up generally proved the best option, but only for 44-percent of the athletes. Another 19-percent performed better with a short warm up and 37-percent performed the best without a warm-up. The conclusion: there is no best warmup. What was best for the group in general was actually worse for the majority of athletes. This example is a bit simplistic and does not look at periodization or the longer adaptation process, but the same type of individual variation applies there too. My coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk, for example, has shown that what was once thought of as uniform adaptive response varies widely among individuals and should be taken into account in planning. But he is hardly revolutionary in this regard:
“In recent years substantial evidence has emerged demonstrating that training responses vary extensively, depending upon multiple underlying factors. Such findings challenge the appropriateness of applying generic methodologies.”
-Professor John Kiely in “Periodization Paradigms in the 21st Century: Evidence-Led or Tradition-Driven?”
Just as there is no best warmup, there is no best program. There are only best programs for an individual training for a specific sport at a specific point in time. As much as I love concrete answers, this is a case where it is relative. Relativity might not sell books, but it is what makes coaching such a fun art form. We need to focus the conversation on what ingredients we use, the proportions, and main course. Heck, we need to take a step back and decide what occasion we are even cooking for before we even open up the cook book and find a recipe. Let’s talk about this, because this is how we become better coaches together.
Periodization (Planned Performance Training) is the timing, sequence and interaction of the training stimuli to allow optimum adaptive response in pursuit of specific competitive goals. Read more
Please excuse me if the site is a little slow lately as I have been preoccupied with my final preparations for the European Championships. But I had a few quick thoughts on Nick’s latest post about the book Only the Paranoid Survive.
Change plays a central role in training. As Nick describes, you have to find the inflection points that let you know when you need to adopt new methods. Changing your approach too soon or too late will put you at risk of losing out to your competition, just as companies that are leaders one day can be gone the next (anyone remember Compaq computers?). You also have to know what new methods are worth changing for. Is it a passing fad, or a paradigm shift in the sport?