T Nation

Top Strength Coaches

Just wanted to hear from the masses who they thought was at the top of their game these days in Strength and Conditioning? Also, feel free to mention some good colleges for grad studies.

Practically speaking, my top 5 are:

  1. Louie Simmons/Dave Tate
  2. Charles Poliquin
  3. Buddy Morris (Cleveland Browns)
  4. Joe DeFranco
  5. Joe Kenn (Arizona St. U)
    These guys share info that can be incorporated into your everyday training.

As far as exercise scientists are concerned, I read:

  1. Yuri Verkhoshansky
  2. Vladimir Zatsiorski
  3. Michael Yessis
  4. Mel Siff
  5. Tudor Bompa


I like Tom myslinski, Christian Tibaudeau

for grad schools, Penn state (Zatsiorsky) and UCONN (Kraemer) would be good

Poliquin over Tom Myzlinski? Tom isnt nearly as well known but I find him to be much more helpful and informative. Just my opinion.

My top ten strength coaches are

  1. Charles Poliquin
  2. Ian King
  3. Kim Goss
  4. charles Staley
  5. Don/Derek Alessi


what makes a good strength coach isn’t whether or not he is well known… JMO.


BTW - my take on Poliquin, arrogant but knows his stuff.

C.Thibaudeau and C.Francis

  1. Ian King

  2. Louie Simmons.

  3. Christian Thibaudeau.

  4. I also read a lot about what the old time strongmen did. I know this isnt answering your question but I think they are a great source of information.

In no paticular order:

  • Ian King
  • Charles Staley
  • Chad Waterbury
  • John Davies
  • Wayne Fischer (Scapper)

These are guys that I had come to trust by either trying what they put out or researching the info they give out.

Most successfull are:

1- Ian King (General-Rudby-Olympic event)
2- Charles Poliquin (General-Hockey-Olympic event)
3- Louie Simmons (Powerlifting-Football strength coach consultant)
4- Charlie Francis (100m)
5- Al Vermeil (Basketball-Football)

My respect to
Charles Staley (Olympic lifting/martial arts)
Christian Thibaudeau (Hockey)
Yuri Verkoshansky (plyometric)
Vladimir M.Zatsiorsky (research)
Bill Starr (Football-Big 3)
Jim Schmitz (Olympic lifting coach)
Dragomir A. Cioroslan (Olympic lifting coach)
Steven J.Fleck (research)
William J.Kraemer (research)

And many others I forgot to mention

Keep fighting

I was just going to give my two cents. I remember a little while ago, Thibaudeau wrote an article about what it takes to become a great coach, one of the qualities was “don’t be an arrogant ass”. I saw Poliquin at the grocery store in Scottsdale one day, I tried to approach and talk to him, needless to say, his reaction was less than cordial. I just had a few questions about a particular training principle and it’s application in hockey performance. His reaction was, even though he didn’t say it, “You want advice, get out your checkbook”. I respect the fact that he needs to make money, that is his career, but the questions were small and could have been answered in a couple small phrases. Then I go over to Athlete’s Performance and talk to Paul Burke, answers my questions, helps me design a workout schedule for the offseason and is a genuinely nice guy. Sure, I had to pay him, but not the $1000 Poliquin requires.
By the way I give it up to Thibaudeau, he is a king, I have written him several times in the past and have always recieved an answer.

I am not starting an argument with you over who is the best coach. I was just curious as to why you had Poliquin over Myzlinski. I was not bashing you for your choice, because obviously Poliquin knows his stuff. I feel for myself I can learn more from Myzlinski.

That said my top 5 are in no particular order:
Louie Simmons
Buddy Morris
Tom Myzlinski
Martin Rooney
Joe Kenn/Christian Thibadeau/Joe Defranco (I couldn’t decide)

Please let this thread be about letting other people learn about coaches they may not have known of before so they can expand their knowledge. I am sure a flame-A-thon will not happen but I just wanted to state my opinion of what this thread should be about.

Glad someone started this thread. The whole reason I first started reading t-mag was Charles Poliquin. In my opinion he is far & beyond the best strength coach around. King and Staley are not for behind.

Louie Simmons/Dave Tate
Robert MacIntyre
Christian Thibaudeau
Ian King
Charles Staley
Chad Waterbury
John Davies
Charlie Francis

Louie Simmons/ Dave Tate (enormously generous with their training info, and people all over the world are benefitting hugely from their methods, even when they don’t follow them 100%)

Joe DeFranco (helps us to be more flexible with the Westside paradigm, and apply it to those of us who are not already very strong)

Bill Starr

CS Sloan (he and Bill Starr are the only reason you would buy Ironman)

Chad Waterbury (breaking us out of the 6-12 rep for hypertrophy paradigm)

Bill Crawford (Metal Militia)