transfer2

Book Review: Bondarchuk’s Transfer of Training in Sports Volume 2

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Last month I reviewed the first volume of Anatoly Bondarchuk’s Transfer of Training. In volume one, my coach essentially puts to rest the notion that stronger is better. By laying out the correlations between training exercises and results, it becomes clear that strength gains only equal further throws for beginning hammer throwers. The book shows all of the data Bondarchuk has collected for all track and field events and provides a useful guide to what exercises transfer over to competitive results. Volume two, which was just released by Ultimate Athlete Concepts and available for purchase in the HMMR Media store, continues where volume one left off.

General Overview

While volume one looks primarily at the transfer of training between different exercises, volume two looks at the transfer in other areas of training. For instance, earlier parts of training may effect latter parts. An intense warm-up excites the body the most, but often leads to fatigue after about 30 minutes of training, while a medium intensity warm-up can allow for a longer, better quality technical session.

The book also points out the surprising conclusion that latter parts of training may also affect earlier parts. It seems impossible for an action to effect something that has already happened, but, as Bondarchuk points out, this can easily be the case. When an athlete throws or lifts weights, they excite the nervous system. Intense lifting after throwing can excite the nervous system in such a way to dampen the excitation that occurred during the throwing session, thereby reducing the effect of the throwing session. In other sections, Bondarchuk also talks about how the transfer of training can be different depending on what exercises are combined. Training with just a normal and heavy hammer will produce a different transfer than training with light, normal, and heavy hammers.

Organization

All of the examples above come in the first part of the book, where Bondarchuk discusses the relationship between separate training sessions, the parts of training sessions, and the exercises used in a training program. Bondarchuk uses the third and fourth chapters of the book to discuss adaptation and periodization. Among other topics, he discusses how results change during periods of development, periods of maintenance, and periods of rest.

What I Liked and Didn’t Like

While volume one provided a lot of data, it did not provide a way to use the data. In this regard, volume two is a step in the right direction. The book does not give coaches a template for creating a training program … Bondarchuk would scoff at that idea. Instead, it provides coaches some help by looking at how training sessions interact on the daily, weekly, and monthly levels. All this information can be useful when used properly to construct a training program.

Once again, the downside of this book is that the language and translation are both dense and difficult to understand. Part of this is unavoidable. This is not a layman’s guide to constructing a training program. It is a scientific guide to the transfer of training and includes a lot of scientific terms that make it difficult to follow. I’ve worked with Bondarchuk for years, but will still need to reread the sections on periodization and adaptation to truly understand in detail what they are talking about and how the conclusions affects training. The translation is also lacking. Those of you familiar with the Soviet Sports Review will definitely have a leg up on interpreting the idiosyncrasies of Dr. Yessis’ translation. The rest of you will likely finish the book with the same feeling I had: a teasing sensation that I learned a lot but that there is even more sitting in front of me that I can’t fully comprehend.

14 replies
  1. tomsonite
    tomsonite says:

    It is interesting to read that intense lifting after throwing session affects the CNS in a way that it will dampen the effects of the throwing session…how much of a break would be needed between throwing and lifting? Does this only occur if an athlete goes to intense lifting immediately after throwing? Would a break of a few hours make throwing and lifting the same day ok? Or should lifting and throwing be done on competely seperate days?

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Off the top of my head, I don’t recall him going into such specifics. He used that as an example to be aware of. I think it is more of an issue if you take a few throws and then do a long 2-hour heavy weights session. The weights overwhelm the CNS and negate a lot of the technical work. I don’t think a normal lifting program would have the same effect and, in any event, the tradeoff (a small minimization of technical gain for increased strength) may be worth it in some cases. Our group only lifts at moderate intnsities and I think this is one of the many reasons why.

      Reply
  2. barry williams
    barry williams says:

    You are trying to see a theory in his work,if you get x then y will follow.
    His work tends to be presented as if it is science,or ,it gets interpreted as such.
    What it is is a life times experience of a very intelligent man who sees things we can’t.A bit like an experienced surgeon who has seen things before and “knows” how to respond.With the vast numbers he has coached and watched he is able to say that this wont/will/may work for this athlete.
    This experience is what you cant understand.Dont try and apply a half understood theory,rather keep applying a curious mentality to it all.Things involving humans can never be put in tick boxes.
    The big thing he brought was that you have to apply the 80/20 law.This means you have to keep asking what gives 20% and then consign this to minimal effort or ensureing it does not foul up the 80%.Thus the extra 2 sets of squats may make you a little stonger but it will ruin throwing for the next 4 days.

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I agree. Dr. B told me that people ask why he writes so much and shares all his theories. He says he can share all the science, but people will not be able to get te same results without the experience he has in putting it all together. It’s almost like an art watching him construct our training programs on the fly seemingly out of thin air.

      Reply
  3. barry williams
    barry williams says:

    Please tell Anatoliy that Barry williams says “hello”.

    It is funny when I hear coaches who have read something that he has said (or think he has said) come out with rubbish.

    “yes,of course,I always have my athletes do that”

    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

    Reply
  4. brandon green
    brandon green says:

    Hello,

    I am not a hammer thrower but i am interested in training theory(i bodybuild).
    Application of Bondarchuks theories to weight training in general applied.
    For example using a complex of exercices for 2-4 months. Not using these for up to 2-4 years would definitely have the brain forgetting.
    Brandon Green

    Reply
  5. Performance Enhancement
    Performance Enhancement says:

    Martin,

    I have yet to read those texts, I am however familiar with Dr Yessis’s work, Yuri Verkoshansky, Mel Siff, Zatsiorsky, and Valdamir Issurin….I love all the Soviet or maybe I should say Russian literature. I train athletes of varying sports; do you think Dr. B’s books are worth me picking up?

    I really enjoyed everything I’ve ever seen of his in print but based on your reviews it seems that those two books are less about transfer of training to “sport” and more about transfer of training to hammer throws….

    Thanks

    For the feedback!

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      These books are more than just about the hammer throw. Their content on the hammer throw is actually very small, but that is what I focus on in my review. Volume I spends much of the time providing data about athletics in general and Volume II goes into more detail about the theories for all sports. If you are involved with track and field it is very useful. Even if you aren’t involved in track and field you can learn a lot from the old Ukrainian (not Russian ;-).

      Reply
  6. I love discus
    I love discus says:

    Thanks for all this info Martin,

    Does the book go into what exercises have the best transfers for discus throwers?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      It does, but if I remember correctly there are only a few charts/pages. Since it covers basically every event, he does not write a thesis about each one. However, the graphs give you a good overview of how the main exercises transfer and the rest of the text talks abut more general topics that relate to training in all events.

      Reply
  7. Brandon Green
    Brandon Green says:

    Hello,

    My interest in Bondarchuk is the theory that he has about changing exercises and when to do so. The vast majority of athletes training in any gym in the U.S. for any sport tend to do the same exercises day after day. When to switch and how long to stay on a routine are mysteries to most athletes. What exercise do i change to and when do i do it? How do i perodize my year of training if i am let’s say an Olympic lifter or a bodybuilder?
    These are my questions ?

    Reply

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  1. [...] length of development is the most important factor in talent for coach Anatoliy Bodnarchuk. In Volume 2 of his Transfer of Training book he begins a discussion of talent by describing the adaptation process: “Each athlete over his [...]

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