T Nation

Strength Coaches


#1

What are your list of top strength coaches? I feel every coach contradicts each other in some way, Some do not promote accessory work, some use arm training, some use only 3 lifts per workout, some use 18 lifts in a workout. What do guys listen to? who do you guys promote?


#2

[quote]Richieavella721 wrote:
What are your list of top strength coaches? I feel every coach contradicts each other in some way, Some do not promote accessory work, some use arm training, some use only 3 lifts per workout, some use 18 lifts in a workout. What do guys listen to? who do you guys promote?
[/quote]

I don’t “promote” anybody. I listen to ideas. I never assume that anybody is right because he is “well known” or wrong because he’s not a big name.

However I must agree that I tend to look for coaches who had a lot of success producing results. And I’m not talking about coaches who were blessed to work with genetic freaks (e.g. college football strength coaches) but those who took average people and made them very successful.

I always say that you can argue with (repeated) success.

That having been said, even the coaches I learn the most from, I never agree with EVERYTHING they say. Putting someone on a pedestal and blindly agreeing with everything they say is a mistake. Just like I do not disagree with everything someone I’m generally against, I can learn from everybody.

That’s why I don’t like your question. For example let’s say that I like Pavel Tsatsouline for many of his ideas (training a few lifts and becoming great at them instead of using every exercise known to man, focusing on low reps and high frequency, focusing on the neural factors, etc.) then people will interpret it like I agree with everything he is saying and (1) people will stop thinking objectively when they read his stuff (2) people will freak out when they find an issue on which we published different view points.

Nobody is right all the time.

Nobody has all the answers.

That having been said here are some people I have learn a lot from and who I think have a lot of good ideas. That doesn’t mean that I agree with all of them.

Anthony Ditillio
Fred Hatfield
Pavel Tsatsouline
Doug Hepburn
Paul Carter
Dan John
Jim Wendler
Charles Poliquin
Jurgen Weineck
Dietmar Wolf
Carl Valle
Ben Bruno
Greg Everett
Greg Nuckols
Mike Tuchsherer
Gilles Cometti
Jean-Pierre Egger
Dave Tate

That is not an inclusive list as I have learned from so many people… but it’s a decent place to start.

And YES some of these people will have contradicting ideas. But the key is understand WHY they recommend certain things, the logic behind it and you will find that they all pretty much share the same beliefs but differ in their applications.


#3

Sheiko…


#4

Louie Simmons


#5

CT reading this I have a burning question to ask and hope it doesn’t come off as offensive. But I see your list as “strength coach camp” vs. the bodybuilding camp (Scott Abel, tom venuto, hundreds of other fit looking gurus promoting online).

Why is it that save for a few individuals in strength camp (you, Charles Poliquin) they lack the “aesthetic” like men’s physique bodies. Some are burly. Others wiry. But despite the knowledge and very good training principles they look overshadowed standing next to say Charles glass or any of those numerous physique guys and fitness models all over the internet.

Again not poking anyone just genuinely curious because personally I’ve has much better results (even aesthetically) from training according to strength camp. Is it genetics, age,…drugs? I realize goals are different (and maybe physique isn’t that important to some strength guys) but there’s no harm in producing the best physique you can achieve right


#6

@sigil

Hey,
well i think there are 2-3 reasons for that.
Firstly, they are strength coaches that means strength is way more important than the look and to achieve a good physys you need some “pump” training which not really makes you stronger.

Furthermore, they are coaches and not athletes. They coach people and most of them aren’t 20-30 anymore!

If the athlet seeks for a maximum of strength performance, the “bodybuilding” training could costs to much time, they could invest their time better and they do strength work (E.g technique work or core work or more recovery)

And moreover people in strength sport are often built differently, thicker joints and so on, while the physis and bodybuilders have “rounder muscles” and so on. And also keep in mind that strength athletes carry a higher bodyfat and are not stage ready!


#7

[quote]Akidara wrote:
@sigil

Hey,
well i think there are 2-3 reasons for that.
Firstly, they are strength coaches that means strength is way more important than the look and to achieve a good physys you need some “pump” training which not really makes you stronger.

Furthermore, they are coaches and not athletes. They coach people and most of them aren’t 20-30 anymore!

If the athlet seeks for a maximum of strength performance, the “bodybuilding” training could costs to much time, they could invest their time better and they do strength work (E.g technique work or core work or more recovery)

And moreover people in strength sport are often built differently, thicker joints and so on, while the physis and bodybuilders have “rounder muscles” and so on. And also keep in mind that strength athletes carry a higher bodyfat and are not stage ready![/quote]

All very good points.

I would also like to point out that FROM MY EXPERIENCE most “bodybuilding coaches” really experts at making people very lean. When someone hires a known bodybuilding coach its because he is looking to compete and thus already have a lot of muscle mass, he only needs someone to get him in contest condition. In fact many bodybuilding experts only work with their clients when they are preparing for a show.

Then you have guys like Tom Venuto that I would call a body composition expert. These guys are also much better at making someone lean (thus creating the illusion of greater progress). While they also give training advice, it’s normally nothing special. It’s really, once again the “getting lean:” part that they are specialized in.

Not to mention that some bodybuilding Gurus really are drug gurus.

Strength coaches are expert at improving physical performance, making muscles stronger, more powerful and larger. They tend to be more in depth in their training knowledge. They do not put as much attention to nutrition. They can give decent basic advice on that subject but not to the extent of body comp/bodybuilding experts. And I do believe that in their prime a lot of strength experts had more muscle than “bodybuilding experts” on their prime (if you take away those who were huge anabolics consumers), but they didn’t always look like it because they didn’t care about getting super lean.

But honestly, have you ever seen Hany Rambod, Chad Nichols, Chris Aceto for example… they are among the top bodybuilding experts and don’t look that amazing. Knowledge isn’t always proportional to looks.

I PERSONALLY believe in leading from the front, showing that you know what you are talking about by having success with yourself. Not necessarily by becoming world class yourself, but at least showing that you can walk the walk too. But not everybody is like me in that regard. Some have enough recognition so that they do not need an solid physique to be respected.


#8

And don’t forget that not everybody cares about being super lean and symmetrical. Some guys honestly don’t care about having a belly as long as they are the strongest mofos around. I know it’s hard to believe for those who put being ripped to shreds as their no.1 priority but the true strength athletes only care about being as strong as possible. If they stay lean in the process it’s a bonus for them but if not they don’t worry about it.

Since leanness creates the illusion of more size and of a more muscular physique it’s easy to assume that strength athletes are less muscular. In reality they likely carry as much muscle if not more than aesthetic-oriented individuals of the same level. Now, strength coaches tend to be former strength athletes. When they turn coach many of them do not train at the same level as they once did and as you grow older it’s possible to lose some muscle. So those coaches who never were super lean when they were in their prime will likely still be “not lean” and carry less muscle once they get older.


#9

One last note… all those “online experts with great bodies promoting themselves online” have NOTHING TO DO with really with being a training or even nutrition experts. What they are is someone who is in good shape (natural or not, most NOT) and decides to make some easy money by selling programs/info online… I will go on record saying that 9 out of 10 of thee people don’t know more about training than the crap you can read in the cheesy muscle magazines. They just happen to look good (either good genetics, drugs or actual hard work often given to them by a real coach) and know how to market themselves. And because they look good, nobody will doubt them or question them.

BTW it doesn’t take much to have a men’s physique body if you have decent genetics. Well let me rephrase that: it’s not that hard to have the amount of muscle and degree of leanness that a male physique competitor has (except for the IFBB pro level). What makes a good physique competitor is really body structure… clavicle to hip ratio, limb vs. torso length (longer limbs, shorter torso) a small waist. And as it was pointed out, those who are built for strength and are thus more likely to be interested in the strength game, need a completely different body type.

Heck, I know some physique competitors who got to the national level with 1 year of serious training! If you want to reach the national level in a strength sport, you will have to work much harder and learn more tricks to get there.


#10

whoah
CT went off.


#11

CT, I really enjoyed reading this response. Do you have any researchers, current or past, that you thought were useful or have had influence on your training concepts? (Verkhoshansky, Salyev (sp), McGill, Serrano,etc)


#12

What I find interesting that I don’t know the top bodybuilding coaches, which CT has mentioned. It seems that strength coaches are more famous haha (or I am just reading different things) (however I never even heard their names!)


#13

Not to be some kind of ball-licker, but you are my fav coach.
Not because I follow everything you say to the t, but because you connect the dots for me.
Some couches stare themselfs blind on one method, but you seem to be able to take a step back and say “well, my goal is this, and for reaching this, that is used with great succes, so I should use that”.

Besides that I admire you for your ability to condensate a concept from a program/method and keeping an eye empirical evidence instead of placing science on a pedestal all the time.

Keep up the good work. You always explain a concept in one way or another every article. Most coaches give fish, you are learning how to fish.


#14

CT do you have any thoughts on the Militech brothers or Nick Curson? Do you think the stuff they say and do is valid? Nick Curson was on the JRE podcast and saying some wild things about strength training that I don’t know if I believe.

I know you probably don’t have time for something like this but since we were talking about strength coaches I thought I’d ask if you’d heard of them and what you thought. Nick Curson says a lot of stuff about Verkhoshansky and plyometrics and says that strength training messes up your equilibrium and reduces punching power and stuff like that. Again I’m skeptical and I"m not saying I believe what he says but I thought I’d ask in case you’ve heard of him and had a thought.


#15

[quote]LordDogwood wrote:
CT do you have any thoughts on the Militech brothers or Nick Curson? Do you think the stuff they say and do is valid? Nick Curson was on the JRE podcast and saying some wild things about strength training that I don’t know if I believe.

I know you probably don’t have time for something like this but since we were talking about strength coaches I thought I’d ask if you’d heard of them and what you thought. Nick Curson says a lot of stuff about Verkhoshansky and plyometrics and says that strength training messes up your equilibrium and reduces punching power and stuff like that. Again I’m skeptical and I"m not saying I believe what he says but I thought I’d ask in case you’ve heard of him and had a thought.[/quote]

I honestly never heard of them and when someone basically says that strength training is bad it doesn’t really make me want to learn about them


#16

[quote]itisfinished wrote:
CT, I really enjoyed reading this response. Do you have any researchers, current or past, that you thought were useful or have had influence on your training concepts? (Verkhoshansky, Salyev (sp), McGill, Serrano,etc)[/quote]

Well, I wouldn’t really put Verkhoshansky in the pure researchers category since he did work with elite athletes

Yuri Verkhoshansky
Mel Siff
Vladimir Zatsiorsky
John Garhammer
William Kraemer (more so when I was starting out then now)
Atko Viru
Dietmar Schmidtbleicher
Keijo Hakkinen

There are more, I tend to not remember researchers as much as coaches.


#17

CT as a coach who practices what he preaches what are your current stats? Weight, bf%, and main lifts?


#18

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]LordDogwood wrote:
CT do you have any thoughts on the Militech brothers or Nick Curson? Do you think the stuff they say and do is valid? Nick Curson was on the JRE podcast and saying some wild things about strength training that I don’t know if I believe.

I know you probably don’t have time for something like this but since we were talking about strength coaches I thought I’d ask if you’d heard of them and what you thought. Nick Curson says a lot of stuff about Verkhoshansky and plyometrics and says that strength training messes up your equilibrium and reduces punching power and stuff like that. Again I’m skeptical and I"m not saying I believe what he says but I thought I’d ask in case you’ve heard of him and had a thought.[/quote]

I honestly never heard of them and when someone basically says that strength training is bad it doesn’t really make me want to learn about them[/quote]

Sorry that was Marinovich not Militech.

Yeah I kind of felt the same way he has some strange ideas. And for a little background he trains athletes and MMA’ers. Recently Rafael Dos Anjos became the UFC Lightweight champion training under him. Also trains Russian boxer Ruslan Provodnikov.

I listened to the podcast and he only believes in strength training in a certain way like through the use of plyometrics and other power movements like that. Believes in strengthening the tendons through eccentric overload or something similar. Basically he says only do movements where you can contract the muscles as fast as possible.

That’s just a little background if you were curious. He could just have successful guys because of their genetics and skill.


#19

[quote]pumped340 wrote:
CT as a coach who practices what he preaches what are your current stats? Weight, bf%, and main lifts?[/quote]

I’ve had some serious health issues last year and had to make changes (staying lighter for example) and it took me some time to be able to train seriously again.

This picture was taken about a month ago (I hate taking pictures). I was about 211-213 in that picture (5’8"). I used to go up to 225-228 at a similar body fat but I want to stay below 215 now for health reasons.

As for my lifts, I’m focusing a lot on the Olympic lifts right now. And I don’t like talking about what I lift but I kinda feel like I’ve been called out. I have not maxed out in some time but last few weeks I did…

Squat with safety squat bar: up to 475 x 3.
Front squat with 2 seconds pause in the bottom position: 365lbs x 3
Power snatch: 255lbs
Power clean 315lbs
Strict military press 205 x 3
None of these were true maxes as I’m squatting, snatching and cleaning everyday.

I have been having some shoulder pain for quite some time and don’t really bench heavy anymore. The heaviest I’ve ever did was 445 and 425 x 2 but the heaviest I’ve went too recently was 315 with 2 sets of chains (25lbs per chain), but I bench about once a month right now.


#20

Another pic from the same day