Monday, July 30, 2012

Get Some Inspiration (2 Days at the Olympic Weightlifting)

Over the last two days I've been lucky enough to be at the ExCel centre in London watching some of the Olympic lifting at the London 2012 games.

Concentration - you betta believe it!

On Saturday afternoon I saw the 48kg women, where Wang Mingjuan won after snatching 91kg and then getting a 114kg clean and jerk. You don't realise quite how small these women are until you see them in person, one of the Turkish competitors was standing outside of the venue, and at less than 5ft looked tiny, this makes the weights they lift even more impressive. Try snatch grip deadlifting 90kg and then imagine putting that overhead, then remember these women weight a good 25kg less than the average man. See clip here of Wang lifting 114kg

Cool overhead shot of Wang

Its hard to grasp the size of the ExCel venue from the TV coverage. The last weightlifting competition I watched was at Crystal Palace and was in a room that was about the same size as the stage in the ExCel centre, and had about 20 people watching. To say weightlifting is a minority sport would be an understatement, darts has a bigger following. Hopefully, the Olympic games plus the rise in popularity of Olympic weightlifting in gyms around the country will raise the profile of the sport.

Day 1 -ExCel - the stage is bigger than most weightlifting clubs

Hats off to the commentators in the venue, for explaining the rules and the score board to the un-initiated, its much better than the TV commentary in my opinion. And also for building the tension and firing up the crowd, for events that don't have any British competitors.

Most of the crowd, as far as I could tell, based on the people near me and the interviews carried out by the compere didn't know anything about weightlifting. But the atmosphere was fantastic, television coverage doesn't do it justice. This was especially true on day 2 when we were watching the 56kg men and 53kg women. This was the B group, so no one was expecting big lifts. But then, the North Korean guy came out and lifted 168kg in the clean and jerk, breaking the Olympic record, equalling the world record and became one of the few people on earth to lift three times his bodyweight overhead. The crowd raised the roof, and it seemed not even the experienced announcers in the venue were expecting it.

Seeing someone doing this in person is truly amazing and fires you up to go and lift! Most of us would be very happy if we did a three time bodyweight deadlift, and when it comes to squatting, a two time bodyweight squat is mostly what you'll see in your local gym with three times bodyweight squats being very rare. So to see someone lift that over their head on a Sunday morning was exceptional. See clip here of Yun Chul Om lifting 168kg at a bodyweight of 56kg.

Day 2 - 168kg will be lifted in this session and I fail to identify all the flags

The age ranges of the lifters were from 17 years old up to 37. Some lifter were experienced and had been lifting for over twenty years, at the other end of the spectrum Helena Wong has been lifting for a mere 3 years. And even she managed a 61kg snatch and 73kg clean and jerk (at a bodyweight of 53kgs as well ladies, if you weigh about the same, like my girlfriend, then this should inspire you to get lifting!). The winning women in this category clean and jerked 131kg, which is actually more than I can front squat!

Womens weightlifting has only been in the Olympics since 2000, it seems like it should have been in longer. If anything can show women that you can be strong but not big and bulky, it is these women who weigh only 48 or 53kg.

From a technical point of view it was also interesting to see a wide range of lifting styles employed, from narrow stance, normal stance, feet completely externally rotated in the start position, hips low, hips high, split jerk, squat jerk, wide hand position on jerk, normal hand position on jerk and so on. Don't let anyone tell you there is only one way to lift.

Seeing athletes pushing themselves to the limit, and in a large venue with the crowd cheering everyone and the excellent building of tension by the announcers should inspire you to do something...anything!

It doesn't matter whether you're watching weightlifting or fencing or rowing or whatever, it should inspire you to push yourself, to try something new, to get out that comfort zone and be all you can be.

With regards to weightlifting, hopefully as a nation we can capitalise on hosting this games. If it inspired a couple of kids in the audience to try lifting or even a couple of people to go to the gym, then we're on the right track. But British weightlifting need to build on this, the legacy should be coaches, equipment and clubs. Nearly every athlete at the games will use strength and conditioning in their training programs but lifting remains a minority sport. Its one thing to get crossfit clubs getting adults to lift some weights, its another thing entirely to get kids involved in lifting and sport.

Zoe Smith sets new British clean and jerk record today, 121kg at 58kg, 18 years old.

But in the mean time, get inspired. I'm lucky enough to live near the London 2012 venues and to have some live action, if you can't get to a venue, watch it on TV. If you can't do that, then do something, lift some weights, find a lifting club or start you're own, or go outside now and starting running. Just do something goddamitt. Get living!

Julia Rohde - 53kgs bodyweight and can snatch more than me!
(Final note: train travel was well organised, with all staff fully bibbed up at London Bridge and on DLR, and pink signs everywhere, security at ExCel with army etc was smooth, everyone friendly, need to sort out queuing for food, yes there were empty seats, and mainly near the front).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

On the interconnectedness of everything. Apropos of nothing.

Warning: this post has nothing to do with fitness, of course, in the sense that everything is connected, it has everything to do with fitness.

To be clear, this isn't a discussion of physics, in quantum physics you can say that every particle is connected to every other  particle and that electrons and positrons can travel back and forward in time, see here and here and every atom that makes up your body was here at the start of the universe. However, physicists hate it when you then start to make philosophical extrapolations based on what is happening at a sub atomic level. The chances are you've never travelled back in time.

The philosophical flip side to this can be called 'co-dependent origination', in the introduction to Narrow Road To The Interior, the classic work of the Japanese poet Basho, the translator Hamill states

"Basho believed in co-dependent origination...holding that all things are fully interdependent, even at point of origin, that no thing is or can be completely self-originating."

However, this post isn't really about that, what this is about is coincidences, connections and patterns. Why certain themes or people may re-occur in your life. A sense of connectedness or synchronicity if you will. Are the patterns and connection really there or do you overlay them on top of reality because they seem to fit.

Stalker to Vietnam to where I live

A few months ago, I was flicking through TV channels, and happened across a TV program called The Culture Show, an author I'd never heard of (Geoff Dyer) was talking about a book he had written about a film I had never seen (Stalker). It seemed interesting, so I rented the film and watched it, and then bought the book Zona, which is about the film; and read it. I was then in a book shop, looking at some of Geoff Dyer's others books, as I didn't know much about him, I opened another one of his books randomly and the chapter was about a photographer called Larry Burrows.

Scene from the film Stalker

Now, I know who Larry Burrows is because I have read the book Lost Over Laos, which is about him being killed during the Vietnam war. I also own the book Requiem by Tim Page & Horst Faas which has a Larry Burrows photograph on the front of it. Tim Page (photographer, features heavily in Michael Herr's book Dispatches, supposed inspiration for Dennis Hopper's character in Apocalypse Now) according to wikipedia was born in Tunbridge Wells (the town I live in, and like many people, even though I live here, the exact reason I ended up living here are unclear even to me, I have no family connection to this town, it is not where I grew up or had to move to to get a job). Now, I always thought Tim Page grew up in a place called Green St Green, which is very close to where I mainly grew up, but that could be wrong.

Photo by Larry Burrows: near Khe Sanh 1966. Front cover of Requiem too.

Now, I don't think this means that I should go to Vietnam or Russia, but it does show a connection between seemingly unrelated topics and people, which is interesting (to me at least, as this didn't happen to you, the connections for you wont be there, unless you just read one of those books, in which case, this post will seem strangely meaningful). All from randomly coming across a TV program. You can connect anything to almost anything, its whether those connections are meaningul and real.

In the film Stalker, the characters are on their way to a room in the 'zone', and when you get to that room, all your dreams will come true and everything you truly want will happen. But here's the rub, what if you come out of that room and nothing has changed? That means, the life you have now is what you truly want, and you'll have to stop moaning because its all you've got.

The director Tarkovsky, said there are no hidden meanings to the shots and scenes in his films. A shot of a syringe in a puddle is just that, it doesn't meaning anything. Except, when you film something or hold a single shot long enough the mundane can take on meaning. Everyday occurrences take on meaning if you take them out of context or highlight them, like taking a photograph of it, and capturing a moment in a still forever. In everyday life you look at people everyday, and most encounters don't mean anything, you forget them, if, however, you hold someones gaze a bit longer than normal and they reciprocate, in a split second that moment will be meaningful to you both (but not to anyone else), if however, you are just staring at someone, then there is a good chance you are actually stalking them and you probably need help!

[In your mind is a pattern of how to walk and breathe, a stereotype, and it seems normal. And you wont even think about it, until it goes wrong or someone actually points out that your gait is wrong, or you are breathing in the wrong way. Then suddenly these things will stick out to. And if you try to change them, they will feel awkward and clunky, after all how you breathe is fundamental, probably no one will even notice that you are trying to breathe differently or walk differently, to them the world is the same, but to you it wont be ]

Synchronicity, Big Sur and the Alan Watts blues

Synchronicity is when

two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner. (wikipedia)
Carl Jung thought that events could be grouped by meaning, that life was not a series of random events, that somethings were not mere coincidences. To quote Lewis Carroll from Through The Looking Glass

'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I never heard of such a thing!'
'--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.'
'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.'
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.

There is a concept in Japanese called mono no aware. In the introduction to Basho's Narrow Road To The Interior Hamill explains that this is 'the beauty of temporal things', an emotion brought on by engagement with things,

A particular quality of elegant sadness, a poignant awareness of temporality
 This was the first time I had heard of this phrase, and then almost simultaneously I read about it Alan Watts autobiography.

I was reading Alan Watts autobiography on a train, he was talking about where he grew up in a place called Chislehurst. At that point the train I was on went through Chislehurst, it didn't stop there, the next stop on the line is the place where I mostly grew up.

Alan Watts was writing about Big Sur. I've been to Big Sur, I slept there in a car once, me and my brother on a road trip. That moment  is frozen in time now. I might go back to Big Sur but I'll never go back to that moment, human beings can't time travel like electrons or live backwards like the White Queen.  Linking Big Sur to someone like Kerouac is easy (I read that book too), the connection is obvious. The coincidence is when the connection isn't obvious. Watts mentioned the Esalen Institute, I've been to Big Sur but never heard of it. A day or so later I was looking up Anatomy Trains courses and Thomas Myers was holding one at the Esalen Institute, and then I was watching an old documentary about the physicist Richard Feynman, and it mentioned that he had taught at Esalen as well. Does this mean I'm meant to go to Esalen or is it just a series of coincidences and I am looking for meaning?

Big Sur: I went there once, maybe you did too

Sliding doors and infinite possibilities

Looking for connections and patterns is a trait of the human mind. That's why your brain will try to make sense of optical illusions and will see two dimensional pictures and interpret them as three dimensional.

But more than this, we want to believe in fate and connections. You walk past that girl/ guy and think he/she must be the one because you also happened to see them in a coffee shop the day before or they go to the same gym as you. And, wow, yes, you must have a connection because you both drink coffee and you both exercise, this is fate! But a different coffee shop or a different gym and it could have a different guy or girl you saw. So it must be fate, that is was this person, in this place at this time. But maybe not, chances are you live in a town where quite a few people have the same background and the same demographic as you, auto correlation. You probably tend to go to the same places at the same times, you probably tend to commute the same journey at the same times of day. Its more surprising that you don't bump into the same people more often. You will tend to gravitate to the same subjects, and things you like, and places you like (why you like these things above other things is a different question), so again its more surprising that you don't meet like minded people all the time. This is why it still stands out to you when you do make a connection with someone and thinks fates right hand is guiding events. With the internet, of course, you can because now you are using the whole world as your network and your interests are funnelled to the websites and forums that interest you.

In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman gives quite a few elegant example of how we can see random events and believe they are not random. As humans we are on the look out for patterns and anything that has changed, this is how we survived in the past, noticing things out of the ordinary that didn't fit our pattern. Kahneman gives example from aerial bombing to births in hospitals, random events tend to cluster and we see these as meaningful, you can have a string of baby boys born in a hospital, just as you can throw a six several times in a row with a dice, this is how randomness works.

"We do not expect to see regularity produced by a random process, and when we detect what appears to be a rule, we quickly reject the idea that the process is truly random. Random processes produce many sequences that convince people that the process is not random after all." (Kahneman, 2011:115)
And "many facts of the world are due to chance, including accidents of sampling. Causal explanations of chance events are inevitably wrong." (ibid, p118)

However, our belief is so strong in patterns and events we find it hard to let go even in the face of overwhelming evidence. The successful CEO, could have just got lucky, as could have that goalscorer, and all those memberships you sold because of your fantastic sales strategy, maybe you were going to sell them anyway, and next month you'll be trying to explain why the strategy isn't working this time.

[I have no idea how I ended living where I live, doing the job I do at the place I work; anymore than why I think about running 100 miles and kettlebells while you might think about climbing a mountain, water skiing or collecting stamps. Unless you had a vision at fours years old telling you exactly where to live, what to do and what to like, then you're probably in the same boat (if you told me you had a vision I would doubt it and probably think you're lying as well).We want to believe our life has meaning, and our actions are not random chance. We all want to believe that the choices we made are the right ones, and we chose the right path for the right reason. And if you think you're own the wrong path, then why are you still on it? For some people it was all over before they even got to choose, so why are you waiting? ]

But, maybe, just maybe, somethings are too much of coincidence, you are being pulled in a certain direction and you push in that direction too. Because, if everything is connected, and if everything 'is unfolding as it should' then it makes you feel better. The idea of fate gives it all meaning, because who want to live in a world where everything is random, somewhere in the middle of the chaos we want someone or something to say 'this way'. You are on the right path, this is the way.

"The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." - Basho
Further reading

Basho & Hamill (1998) Narrow Road To The Interior and Other Writings. Shambhala Classics
Geoff Dyer (2012) Zona: A book about a film abut a journey to a room. Cannongate
Geoff Dyer (2011) Working the Rooms. Essays. (I haven't read this, but this is the book that has a chapter on Larry Burrows)
Horst Faas & Tim Page (1997) Requiem. By the photographers who died in Vietnam and Indochina. Random House. (note this book is somewhat rare and hard to get hold of, & I'm keeping my copy!)
Michael Herr Dispatches. Picador
Daniel Kahneman (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow. Penguin Books
Jack Kerouac Big Sur
Leonoard Mlodinov (2009) The Drunkards Walk. How randomness rules our lives. Penguin Books
Tim Page The Mindful Moment. Thames & Hudson
Richard Pyle & Horst Faas (2003) Lost Over Laos. A true story of tragedy, mystery and friendship. Da Capo Press
Alan Watts (1972) In My Own Way. An autobiography. New World Library

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Review of Triphasic Training By Cal Dietz & Ben Peterson

First things first, this is a real review, I don't know Cal Dietz or Ben Peterson, I'm not an affiliate, I don't get any money from anyone if you decide to buy this book.

Secondly, this isn't a review of the triphasic system as such, but of the e-book. This means I wont be giving away all their intellectual property for free. Although, it would be impossible to review a product without a brief overview of the system it espouses, the details are in the book and I had to pay $39.95 to get it, so you can too!

One of the authors, Ben Peterson, has written a 4 part series explaining triphasic training here, here, here and here. So that would be your first port of call to find out more without laying out cold hard cash.

Triphasic Training - It looks like this

Nuts & Bolts

This is an ebook available from , written by By Cal Dietz - head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Minnesota and Ben Peterson - PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota.

It costs $39.95 (whatever that is in pounds at the moment), and for that you get a 387 page ebook. That is a lot of book for your money, unlike some ebooks there aren't pages and pages that are blank, full of filler or adverts.

It is clearly laid out, with good size graphs, tables and photos. It is well designed, for example, the colours they have used in the graphs and tables make them easier to read, understand and help break up the text (some ebooks can be monotonous text, which is understandable if you're writing a fiction book, but books about exercise and fitness need some visuals in my opinion). If you've ever read any of the classic texts like Verkhoshansky's Special Strength Training Manual For Coaches or Supertraining, you'll know that looking at small blurry black and white graphs, pictures and stick men get a bit labourious after a while.

The book also has literally hundreds of hyperlinks to exercise videos and additional video lectures on youtube. This is the one big advantage of ebooks over traditional books in the fitness arena, the text can link direct to a video of the exercise being discussed. I clicked on pretty much all of the links, and only one or two didn't work. I just read that this book is now available in print form, I'm not sure how all these links will look in a printed book. However, I like print books for easily flicking back & forth and marking pages, scrolling back and forth in an ebook is just not the same.

Whoever designed the layout for this book, and spent hours putting all those links in should be commended. This looks like a high quality product.

One last point, the ebook is in pdf format and 'secured' which means I have to type in my 'password' every time I open it, I can understand why the authors have secured their work in this way, but it is somewhat annoying.

Hang on - what is triphasic training?

Triphasic refers to the three phases of a dynamic movement, the eccentric phase, the isometric phase and the concentric phase. Dietz & Peterson contend that the athlete who can do these three phases of the movement the fastest, will be the better athlete. Two athletes may be able to lift the same weight, but the one who does it faster and turns the eccentric phase into the concentric phase the quickest will be the most powerful and reactive. And as we all know, all things being equal, the most powerful athlete generally wins.

Source: Dietz & Peterson (2012)

The authors clearly state at the start of the book that this isn't the only way to train athletes, also they don't dismiss the role of genetics. They are quick to point out that team sports aren't always the best measure of a strength and conditioning program because there are so many variables at play, it is good to see they have mainly based their research on track and field - you either ran faster or threw further.


The book starts with the almost obligatory section on stress, Hans Selye and adaption, which it seems nearly all books on strength training have to mention.

After covering the basic principles it moves onto explain periodisation. The influence of East European sports science is writ large over this tome, with references to Verkhoshansky, Issurin etc scattered throughout the text. The authors nail their colours to the mast early on. There is an explanation of why the Bulgarians were better than the Soviets at weightlifting in the early 1970s, and how the Soviets copied the Bulgarians to later match them. The 'Bulgarian' method is definitely in fashion at the moment, this text unlike some authors and 'gurus' out there actually shows you what the Bulgarians did back then in terms of volume and training session frequency. I found this interesting, as I haven't seen it explained this well before.

Dietz and Peterson then go on to explain why they favour undulating and block periodisation, and why they think it is superior to the mixed method (complex parallel training) and classic linear periodisation. Most strength programs these days seem to employ the mixed method, normally an explosive exercise, a strength exercise and a hypertrophy exercise all in one workout. The authors argue quite convincingly that this method may result in all these qualities being developed sub-optimally. Linear periodisation is out of favor these days, and the authors explain they believe that a certain quality will be lost (for example strength) when you are working on another quality like hypertrophy. They state in their system of undulating blocks this does not happen.

Now of course all this information is available elsewhere, and at this point you are 70 pages into the book and they haven't even got to triphasic training or all the cool exercises and methods you want to read about. However, I think this section on periodisation and principles is well worth reading because of how clearly they explain all these concepts. When you read the likes of Verkhoshansky it can be hard going sometimes, it can lose something in the translation, as often the language is arcane and the spelling mistakes numerous. In someways Dietz and Peterson do a better job of explaining certain concepts and models than the original authors who invented them!

After the section on periodisation, they explain what triphasic training is. The eccentric, isometric and concentric phases all have their own block, followed by high force and high speed blocks. What's interesting is they are using certain techniques you may have seen before but for different reasons and in a more systematic way.

For example, in the eccentric phase, they use tempos, a while back everyone was using things like 1,0,0,4 and then everyone abandoned and started lifting explosively. Dietz and Peterson, use slow eccentrics for a block to get you used to eccentrics, not for any reason such as time under tension but so in the next block you are strong enough and have the control to do a superfast eccentric and then stop and pause in the isometric, like 'hitting a brick wall', after all sometimes deceleration is as important as acceleration in sport.

Percentage's and the funniest exercise you will ever see

It is obvious from reading this book that Dietz is a meticulous coach, as he says there is no 'undulating wheel o' fun, Oh look! Lets do box jumps!' (p38)

Everything is planned, organised and thought out, percentages of 1RM are used in each block (albeit a wide range) and the rational is clearly stated. For example, as stated in the text, Fred Hatfields research shows that power output is highest at 78% of 1RM,  once you know this, it gives you a starting point from where you programming should go. Again the Russian influence can be seen, some coaches love percentages, other coaches never use them. It would be possible to use the methods in this book without getting overly concerned with percentages in my opinion.

Bear in mind, you are at this point 128 pages into the book and still no sign of a program. Again, for me, this wasn't a problem, I liked all the in depth explanations and rationale, other people might find this a drag.

As well as the triphasic method, some other techniques are introduced. One is the Oscillatory (OC) method, this is a very short range fast movement, which you may have seen before, but again the rationale here may be different. The idea of this is to get the muscle to contract and relax very quickly and change between eccentric and concentric quickly. This fits in with some of Stuart McGills observations that the best athletes can switch there muscles on and off quicker, hence his 'pulsing training', you must learn to contract and relax.

This concept has resulted in the funniest exercise you will ever see, here . If you ever see anyone doing this in the gym, let me know! I have used OC bench press with people, but I wont being doing the glute version!

Dietz has also come up with something called Antagonistically Facilitated Specialised Method of training (AFSM). Basically, in this phase, you move fast all the time through the movement, and do what I am going to call 'supercharged plyometrics and shock method'. You also do exercises for time rather than reps. It was good to see in this section that Dietz and Peterson had some recommendations for endurance athletes (800m plus) and wasn't solely focused on the sprints and American sports.

These all seem like innovative concept to me, and the authors are bringing something new to the table which is grounded in good theory.

The most complex spreadsheet ever!

If you think a training program that uses a format like

A1 Split Squat 3x10/side
A2 RDL 4x8

is complicated, then you are in for a shock. Dietz has managed to produce the most complex training spreadsheets ever! No, that's not a magic eye picture, its a workout. There is a whole section explaining how to interpret it. I'm sure his athletes understand it, but the average Jo(e) looking at it might be a bit confused.

This is stark contrast to some programs out there, compared to say Nick Hortons super sparse program for a rugby player, which is essentially clean, snatch, squat, RDL and repeat; the triphasic program looks like advanced math.

In reality, I think there is a middle way, I don't think your program has to be uber complicated to get results, and if its too simple and boring, people lose interest. I've managed to use some of the triphasic methods without having to create a whole new colour coded spreadsheet.

As with any system, you don't have to adopt it wholesale, but take the parts that work for you and that can be incorporated into your programming. For example, Dietz and Peterson use Tendo units to measure bar speed/ velocity. Chances are you don't have a Tendo unit, and you probably aren't going to use timed drop offs to measure performance, but that doesn't mean you couldn't use the AFSM methods.

Bits and Pieces

Peppered through the text are some interesting 'Coaches Corner' sections covering things like recovery methods, breathing, plyometrics, one or two legged training and why they like the sports squat so much ( a narrow stance squat). These were interesting sections and added an extra dimension to the book.

The authors certainly favour the squat as their fundamental exercise. Even though there are a couple of Olympic lifting variations used,  they are conspicuous by there absence. I would be interested to know whey they don't use the Olympic lifts that much to develop power, is it because of the time taken to teach technique? From the exercises choices and database, it seems they are not wedded to one type of exercise, and they are more than willing to adopt exercises that first appeared in other sources and which other coaches have made famous. Their flexibility in trying new things is refreshing. Remember, Dietz is a professional coach measured on results, if it doesn't work, he probably wont use it. Thats not to say its the only method.

The book finishes with several template programs for sports like American football, hockey and swimming. Several options in terms of days per week are also given, though the authors favour three times a week, they give 2,4,5 and 6 day options.

Should You Buy It? 

In the youtube video lectures that are linked in this book Cal Dietz doesn't come across as a natural presenter ( as opposed to Gray Cook or Charlie Weingroff, who are exceptional presenters but I've never really got on with their writing style) but he seems like a natural coach. And like the best in their field, he doesn't appear to be standing still either.

Dietz and Peterson ( I don't know who wrote what) are excellent writers and their ability to explain complex training ideas is second to none. Their explanation of block periodisation and even things like 'rate coding' and 'rate coupling' make this much more than just another workout book. And in many ways is superior to the original source material.

Some ebooks are rubbish, you pay $19.99 for 20 pages of poorly written text and a program you could have downloaded for free off the internet or made up yourself in about 10 seconds.

Triphasic Training is the antithesis of this. I would say it is well worth $39.95, considering how much I've paid for some other text books. There are some genuinely innovative ideas in this book.

If you are a recreational trainer or just want to get big, then this probably isn't the book for you.

If, however,  you train athletes or are interested in performance training I would get this book. You may not adopt the entire system wholesale, but there will be ideas and methods you can implement straight away.

Addition Dec 2013: Go to my post here to see how to implement some simple triphasic training in your programs.