Training Talk with John Pryor (Part 1)

In the waning minutes of their opening World Cup match against powerhouse South Africa in September, Japan was trailing by three points. With play entering injury time, the game could end any second yet Japan declined the opportunity to kick a game tying penalty and instead opted to to enter a scrum for a chance to win (or lose) the game. For those of you that do not know rugby, the scrum is likely the image you are most familiar with. Eight players from each team pack together to fight for control of the ball. It is a test of strength, patience, technique, and resolve. Japan won the scrum and took the ball back despite being smaller, weaker, and less experienced. They then went on to win the game. Read more


The Bondarchuk Dictionary

Over the next few weeks I am putting together a multi-part series on Bondarchuk’s training methods for the Freelap USA website. It is my goal to explain setup and application of Dr. Bondarchuk’s system as it was taught to me and how I understand it. Some of this information might be a review session for readers on this site, but I hope the series will also include some new information for everyone. Read more

LONDON - JANUARY 02:  James Wade of England prepares to throw a dart during his Quarter Final match against Paul                  Nicholson of Australia  during the 2009 PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on January 2, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Strength vs. Skill

Any talk about implementing a specific strength training plan brings up the inevitable discussion of disrupting the athlete’s rhythm. In the throwing events we will often throw hammers that are heavier or lighter than normal in order to improve specific strength. There is no doubt this improves strength, but you also cannot deny that it changes the movement’s rhythmic structure. For this reason some coaches only throw the competition implement. No matter your conclusion, the important part is the analysis: as a coach you need look at whether the training will help your for the sport and the athlete. Where it might be a good idea to do certain types of special strength training in one sport, it could be inadvisable in another. And while one athlete can handle a certain loads of special strength work, another might break down. Throughout this all the overarching factor to consider is where the sport falls on the skill-strength continuum. Read more


Special Deal on Short Wires

Note: this offer has expired as it was on a first come first serve basis, but we still offer wires of any length for the lowest price online. Click here for details.

We sell some of the best hammer wires around and have a limited number of short hammer wires available for purchase at a steep discount of just $3.33 per wire. Details are below. I hand make each wire to specification to ensure top quality and performance. (Also if you are interested in normal length wires, we also sell those at the lowest prices online) Read more


Specific About Strength

At the start of the month I published an article in Athletics Weekly about specific strength. In it I give a brief introduction to exercise classification, specific strength, and some tips on implementing it to your event. Tom Crick also helped provide some great graphics to illustrate a few examples.

The article is adapted from my book The Ball and Chain where I cover this and other topics in more detail in Part IV: Training for the hammer throw. If you like it and want to learn more, pick up a copy of the full text. We also have some additional resources on this topic available for HMMR Media members, including Nick Garcia’s article on exercise classification for throwers and a post I wrote about specific strength in theory and practice. But this article isn’t just about the hammer or about throwing; it takes a look at a general idea that can be applied to any sport or event. Read more


Technical Training is Strength Training

I wrote about complex periodization last month and the topic also came up a lot in our recent seminars. Just as a quick refresher, complex periodization works all types of exercises simultaneously throughout round. Rather than a progression from general to specific work, athletes will work on technique, strength, speed, etc. simultaneously during each phase of the year. I wrote about some of the advantages of this approach, but there is one bigger advantage I didn’t even get into: complex periodization works well because often it is not even possible to separate the different elements of training.
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Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky

The Germans vs. The Soviets

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


New Podcast With Ultimate Athlete Concepts

UACLogo_CompName-1-300x163On Tuesday I had the chance to sit down with Yosef Johnson of Ultimate Athlete Concepts and Jeff Moyer of DC Sports Training for the latest edition of their video podcast. We covered special strength, training intensities, transfer of training, Bondarchuk’s analytic approach, and some other interesting aspects in training with him. Many of these topics will be looked at more in depth in our upcoming seminars, so check it out below and sign up if you are interested in learning more.
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