Saturday, October 13, 2018

The System: Soviet Periodization for the American Strength Coach

The System: Soviet Periodization for the American Strength Coach
by Johnny Parker, Al Miller, Rob Panariello and Jeremy Hall. 

I didn't expect this book when I got it. I thought it would be a book filled with stories and anecdotes about the good old days of training and the stars who shined the brightest in the world of sports. 

I was wrong: 

This book, from start to finish, is a master class in strength coaching. This is the how-to/do-this book we have been looking for in strength and conditioning. Ignore the word 'Soviet' - this is intelligent training explained clearly.

 - Dan John.


Section One - The Foundation

Chapter One - Fundamentals of the System

The Origin of the System
Hierarchy of Athletic Development
Work Capacity
Strength, Power, and Speed
The Eye of the Coach

Chapter Two - Planning Workout Programming

Exercise Selection
Fundamental Lifts
Prilepin's Chart
Tempo Training Methods
Frequency of Training
Types of Periodization

Section Two - The System

Chapter Three - The System

Core Principles
Fundamental Screens
The Javorek Complex
Determining Load and Volume
Mach Running Drills
Jump Training Drills
Sprint Drills
Sample Four-Week Prep Phase

Chapter Four - Systematic Program Design

Training Cycle Principles
Exercise Selection
Novice Work
Exercise Selection Principles
Exercise Variation
Accessory Work
The Break-In Cycle
Progressing into the System
Exercise Volume Principles
Weekly Volume
Sample Training Cycles
Workout Classifications
Training Session Volume Principles
Determining Percentages
Intensity and Volume
Exercise Intensity Principles
Zones of Intensity
Selecting Training Loads
Counting Reps
Squat Programming
Program Design Principles
The Unload
Designing the Training Session

Chapter Five - Sprinting and Jumping

Sprinting and Jumping Principles
Work Capacity in Speed Training
Strength and Speed-strength - Acceleration
Programming Integration
Monthly Volume
Weekly Volume
Sprinting and Jumping Session Design

Chapter Six - Seasonal Program Design

Goals of Training
      Running, Jumping, and Conditioning
       Running, Jumping, and Conditioning

Section Three - Implementing the System

Chapter Seven - Putting It All Together

Planning Your Programs
Designing a Program - Novice Athlete Sample Four-Week Training Cycle
Advanced Athlete Sample Four-Week Training Cycle

Chapter Eight - Football Programming

Off Season Eight-Week Novice Training Plan for Football
       Cycle One
       Cycle Two, Power
Off-Season Sample Advanced Program
       Cycle One
       Cycle Two

Preseason Sample Advanced Program
In-Season Sample Training Program

Chapter Nine - Integrating Sprinting and Jumping

Sprint and Jump Training Sample Program

Chapter Ten - Final Thoughts


Appendix A - Athlete Profiles
Appendix B - Programming Principles
Appendix C - List of Graphs, Tables, and Images
Author Biographies. 


As more coaches enter the world of strength and conditioning and face the task of developing programs for young athletes, there is no shortage of training programs to follow. The internet provides about as many exotic exercises and programs as there are gurus and coaches. Each is selling systems or methods to achieve gains in size, strength, power, or speed. It is challenging to determine which will be the best system when there is such a tremendous volume of information.

Many entering the field of strength and conditioning will choose a program they find online or one provided by a coach they respect because they trust it will help their athletes and provide a base from which to evolve. In some cases, this will generate good results; however, in other cases, it will end up as time lost to ineffective training.

Unfortunately, what is generally lacking on most coaches' repertoires is an understanding of, along with an inability to implement, fundamental principles to build their own long-term, sustainable training programs. It can be a daunting task for the novice coach and just as much of a challenge for the seasoned coach to objectively evaluate the content and outcomes of their established methods of training. We have been there and had we not put out egos aside to critically evaluate our programming and outcomes, we would not have met with the success we did.

In this book, we lay the foundation for a scientifically based, field-tested, and tremendously effective system of training. This is not a cookie-cuter program you can install without another thought; it is a system to reinforce the fundamentals and principles with which you can design and implement programming that will make your athletes stronger, faster, and more powerful over a sustained period.

We have collectively been utilizing and refining this system for 28 years - it has propelled countless athletes from high school to the professional level, to the Olympic Games and five NFL teams to a combined eight Super Bowls. It will require organization, some basic calculations, and a discerning "eye of the coach," and then it will provide results unlike any other method we have tried or evaluated.

Our driving goal has always been to constantly improve our athletes and ourselves. With out competitive days behind us, we now want to educate the strength and conditioning community, just as we were educated almost 30 years ago.

In this book, we introduce you to the programming we call "The System."

Of those who have learned and implemented The System, it is the rare few who go back to their former methods. To master it will take time and effort. It will take a drive for excellence with a hard analysis of your previous biases and deficits in constructing training programs.

And it will all be worth it.

We have already logged the hours, the miles, and the frustration to refine our combined 80-plus years of coaching and learning into this blueprint for success. Now that we are nearing the end of our careers and the threat of young upstart coaches taking our jobs is gone, we want to pass on the methods and plans that led to our successes. Although you might think that a training system that is 28 years old is already past its prime, we promise you that its time has really just arrived.

First, a disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive review and application of our programming system. To do justice to what we were taught and learned through the years would take more than a book to capture.

Our hope is that providing a foundation of the concepts and creating a few starting points will provide even the least-experienced strength coach an opportunity to implement a more effective and systematic approach of training for sports performance.

There are endless opportunities to manipulate the training variables within our framework to account for the challenges that will inevitably arise when training athletes. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to programming, and even the three of us had difficulty agreeing on some of the specifics we present in the book.

As you gain years in the field, you will continue to learn, reflect, and grow. We hope this book will provide either a new perspective or an opportunity to adapt your current training so you can achieve even greater success.

 - Johnny Parker, Al Miller, Rob Panariello, Jeremy Hall.  


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