Resources Library

ePublication of Australian Fitness Network

Title: Periodization Training for Sports (Third Edition)
Authors: Tudor Bompa & Carlo Buzzichelli
Publisher: Human Kinetics Australia 2015, ISBN-13: 9781450469432
Details: Paperback, 368pp
RRP: $35.95 OR $30.56 for Network Members when buying online HERE and entering the Promo Code network2015.

Review by Peter Lawler

It is with fear, trepidation and sweaty palms, that I submit this review of this classic third edition text from the ‘Father of Periodization’ – Tudor Bompa PhD, former Romanian now an entrenched Canadian. The biographic detail says it all:

“Tudor Bompa PhD revolutionised Western training methods when he introduced his groundbreaking theory of periodization in Romania in 1963. After adopting his training system, the eastern Bloc countries dominated international sports through the 1970-1980’s.”

This bible was born in a draughty stable in 1999. It was succeeded by a second edition in 2005. It has been translated into 17 languages prior to the arrival of this beefier, expanded 2015 edition. There has been considerable hypertrophy in the past decade… The second edition ran for 13 chapters spread over 260 informative pages. There are now 15 chapters over 358 pages. Now, that is growth!

Tudor Bompa is currently professor emeritus at York University, where he has taught sports science and training theory since 1987. His co-author, Carlo Buzzichelli, is the international director of the Sport Division at Tudor Bompa Institute. He has succeeded Bompa for the ‘diffusion of periodization’. Carlo has addressed many international seminars in Cuba, Brazil, Philippines and downtown USA. He in turn has succeeded the co-author for the second edition, Michael Carrera. Where is Michael…?

Bompa has been a prolific writer on periodisation. This edition should not be confused with either Serious Strength Training or the base theory book Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Also, an oldie but a Bompa goodie is Power Training for Sport: Plyometrics for Maximum Power Development, a great book published in 1994.

Many subsequent editions are in fact lazy reprints. An occasional new sentence, a freshening of the photographs, a new cover and a price rise. This third edition has many fresh inserts – new substantive chapters, and considerable expansion of existing ones. The new appear in Part I of the text, seven chapters ‘Foundations of Strength Training.’ This section has swelled from 4 chapters by the inclusion of  Chapter 4 ‘Fatigue and Recovery’, Chapter 5 ‘Sport Nutrition’ and Chapter 6 ‘Periodization as Planning and Programming of Sport Training.’ It must be noted that the Fatigue and Recovery chapter is actually a removal and relocation from Part III. For the thousands of coaches who possess the second edition, there is sufficient new material to warrant purchase of the third. This tome continues to expand and mature. Just grow with it.

Bompa has retained the three parts from previous editions. The first is identified above, the second is his now familiar manipulation of training variables to create the ANNUAL PLAN. The third section will be the focus for this review, simply called ‘Periodization of Strength’.

But first! Part I reviews, what is now, sophisticated knowledge of strength training. It discusses six pathways as diverse as bodybuilding and high intensity training, muscular endurance to explosive starting strength. The hefty chapter on energy systems outlines the body’s capacity to adapt to intensive training. The relocation of the fatigue chapter was astute. Intense exertion creates depletion of glycogen et al. Recovery strategies are highlighted to cater for exhaustion.
Bompa is famous for his ANNUAL PLAN and the manipulation of the macro/micro cycles. Irrespective of what Bompa book you read, there it is – the famous phases of the BOMPA MODEL. The phases are:
* Anatomical Adaptation. AA – foundation phase. Strengthen tendons, ligaments and joints by time under tension exercise before heavy loading of the musculature. Circuit training advised.
* Hypertrophy. Hyp – the enlargement of muscle size by protein ingestion and high repetition sets at moderate speed.
* Maximum Strength. MxS – self explanatory.
* Conversion to specific strength. The direction is dependent on purpose, be it power, muscular endurance or power endurance. For power, it is moderate-to-heavy loading at high speed
* Maintenance, Cessation and Compensation. Strength work must continue through the competitive season to maintain strength gains. Frequency of sessions and specificity are dependent on sport demands. Peaking for championships, the necessity for recovery.

Having established his five-prong periodisation model long, long ago, in Part II ‘Program Design’  Bompa plays with the manipulation of training variables. These include intensity, number of sets and repetitions in a workout, exercise order, loading increments and the subtlety of rest and restoration. There is nothing new here. As said in the introduction, periodisation reached the curious West in the 1960s – the Cold War era in which Romania was a Soviet satellite of grave suspicion. What is valuable is the intensity and complexity of the Bompa Model, a model he has remained faithful to despite the initial wariness he encountered in ‘60s America. It has survived strident criticism.

Part II concludes with suitable annual models for specific sports. Essentially, this is merely tweaking the duration of training variables and the order of the phases to suit the demands of the chosen sports annual plans are included for a variegated array of sports – 29 in all!

Part III may be confusing to many. This is the third occasion in this text that the Bompa Model is discussed. Following a brief description of the phases in Part I, the same model reappears in Part II in which it is constructed and adapted for its incorporation into specific sports.

So, what is different in Part III? Bompa now presents specific textual flesh as to what sort of ‘work’ is suitable for the phases. In the first, Anatomical Adaptation, there are myriad training programs for circuit training and traditional exercise regimes. Exercises finally make their maiden appearance. Six to seven week grids, usually ten exercises prescribed three sets of ten for each. This new pattern continues through the phases. The second, Hypertrophy, is most contentious. This literally means increase in muscle mass, a state not desired by many sports. Bompa has introduced an amendment: hypertrophy I is now bodybuilding. Hypertrophy II is now obliquely entitled sport-specific hypertrophy, a hybrid mutation of bodybuilding/ max strength techniques. In Part III the focus is on the bodybuilding branch. As previously stated, programs frequent the chapters in abundance. These are conventional: the authors stipulate the training methodology – isometric, eccentric, concentric, training tempo, rest periods, exercise order, loading and density. The programs are deemed to be: ‘samples’.

The most important chapter is Phase IV: Conversion to Specific Strength. As perceived by the authors, most sports utilise resistance training today. The key issue is the attainment of a transformation to specific sport demand, usually called power for explosive sports and muscular endurance for aerobic. This chapter is outstanding. From a thorough discussion of power enhancement, the text leads into power training methodology: isotonic, agility, ballistic, power resistance methods. Great stuff!

The final chapter Bompa now calls Phase 5, 6 and 7: maintenance, cessation and compensation. Now, this is a new identification from Edition II. This is a slimmish chapter, but a valuable one. The menu is fleeting: strength work  must be maintained  for all phases, ideally for power sports, the pursuit should be maximal. Advice as to peaking is fluent and precise. Peaking requires astute tapering by manipulating intensity and volume and frequency.

This is an exhausting text to review. You do not read this manual – you study it and write copious notes with a sturdy pad and reliable HB pencil… Highlighting with a fluoro pen is advised.


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