Johnny Parker, Al Miller & Rob Panariello

The System, Periodization for the Strength Coach


Johnny Parker, Al Miller & Rob Panariello, with Jeremy Hall

the-system periodization book

As more coaches enter the world of strength and conditioning and face the task of developing programs for young athletes, there is no shortage of training programs to follow. The internet provides about as many exotic exercises and programs as there are gurus and coaches. Each is selling systems or methods to achieve gains in size, strength, power, or speed. It is challenging to determine which will be the best system when there is such a tremendous volume of information.

Many entering the field of strength and conditioning will choose a program they find online or one provided by a coach they respect because they trust it will help their athletes and provide a base from which to evolve. In some cases, this will generate good results; however, in other cases, it will end up as time lost to ineffective training.

Unfortunately, what is generally lacking in most coaches’ repertoires is an understanding of along with an inability to implement fundamental principles to build their own long-term, sustainable training programs. It can be a daunting task for the novice coach and just as much of a challenge for the seasoned coach to objectively evaluate the content and outcomes of their established methods of training. We have been there and had we not put our egos aside to critically evaluate our programming and outcomes, we would not have met with the successes we did.

In this book, we lay the foundation for a scientifically based, field-tested, and tremendously effective system of training. This is not a cookie-cutter program you can install without another thought; it is a system to reinforce the fundamentals and principles with which you can design and implement programming that will make your athletes stronger, faster, and more powerful over a sustained period.

We have collectively been utilizing and refining this system for 28 years—it has propelled countless athletes from high school to the professional level, to the Olympic Games and five NFL teams to a combined eight Super Bowls. It will require organization, some basic calculations, and a discerning “eye of the coach,” and then it will provide results unlike any other method we have tried or evaluated.

Our driving goal has always been to constantly improve our athletes and ourselves. With our competitive days behind us, we now want to educate the strength and conditioning community, just as we were educated almost 30 years ago.

In this book, we introduce you to the programming we call “The System.”

Of those who have learned and implemented The System, it is the rare few who go back to their former methods. To master it will take time and effort. It will take a drive for excellence with a hard analysis of your previous biases and deficits in constructing training programs.

And it will all be worth it.

We have already logged the hours, the miles, and the frustration to refine our combined 80-plus years of coaching and learning into this blueprint for success. Now that we are nearing the end of our careers and the threat of young upstart coaches taking our jobs is gone, we want to pass on the methods and plans that led to our successes. Although you might think that a training system that is 28 years old is already past its prime, we promise you that its time has really just arrived.

First, a disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive review and application of our programming system. To do justice to what we were taught and learned through the years would take more than a book to capture. Our hope is that providing a foundation of the concepts and creating a few starting points will provide even the least-experienced strength coach an opportunity to implement a more effective and systematic approach of training for sports performance.

There are endless opportunities to manipulate the training variables within our framework to account for the challenges that will inevitably arise when training athletes. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to programming, and even the three of us had difficulty agreeing on some of the specifics we present in the book.

As you gain years in the field, you will continue to learn, reflect, and grow. We hope this book will provide either a new perspective or an opportunity to adapt your current training so you can achieve even greater success.

Johnny Parker. Al Miller, Rob Panariello

Click here to learn more about The System

the-system periodization book