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.
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.
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.