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Old 06-19-2006, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default Tier System Training

Tier System Training

Developed by Joe Kenn MA CSCS-D
(This is an excerpt from the Tier System Coaches Manual)

4.0 Tier System 99
Note: This section is the basis of our program. Since this was designed in 1992 the Tier System has gone through many growing pains and improvements. I believe it is necessary that this section be read to understand the rationale of our program development. Some of the applications that are not implemented any more can be found in appendix 6.

The objective of the Tier System was to create an athletic based, strength training program to develop our athletes. The objective was to develop an application system that would help develop football players, wrestlers, gymnasts, etc. rather than powerlifters, weightlifters, or bodybuilders. If we were to train our athletes as a “strength athlete” this would be counterproductive to the overall development of the individual. The goals of the three strength sports are extremely different from one another as well as the goals of high school, college and professional team and individual sponsored sports.
Of course, one must realize that these three strength sports play an important role in the development of athletes who participate in team and individual sports where functional strength is extremely valuable to the athlete’s improved performance. Every high school, college, and professional strength and conditioning coach in America today are using exercises and training methods of these three strength sports to train their athletes. One of the goals of the Tier System was to take the best of all 3 strength sports and develop a program to enhance the strength levels of an athlete to improve performance in the specific sport of choice. Each strength sport has an important influence in the development of an athlete if used in combination with one another and utilized in a sport specific manner.
The Tier System program is designed to train the athlete based on exercise movements rather than body parts. Also, the type of strength gained from a particular exercise is also considered. In brief, there are 3 major movements that can be accomplished during a specific exercise, total body, lower body, and upper body movements. The exercise is evaluated by what joints interact during the execution of movement and is placed in one of the above three categories. The Tier System theory is that during a movement action that occurs during a play, all three movements are utilized. Therefore, all three should be included in one training session. The “Big 3” training sessions of the Tier System are based on our “Total Body” training approach. At least one exercise representing a total body movement, a lower body movement, and an upper body movement will be included into a 3 day per week training schedule.
Although the exercises would remain the same, this style of training would be atypical to the more common 4 day split (2 days of upper body and 2 days of total and lower body) routines most commonly seen in athletic strength and conditioning. It is our belief that these movements should be trained in one training session rather then split into separate sessions.
The Tier System is primarily a multi joint movement program. Sport is defined by the movement actions that take place. Athletic movement is made up by multiple joint actions of muscles. This is why single joint or isolation exercises are used minimally through a common microcycle or for prehabilitation/rehabilitation purposes.
There are 4 major functions of the Tier System. Number 1, rotate the order of exercises based on type of movement and strength developed. This is also atypical of most training programs. Total body lifts are usually performed at the beginning of the session where the Tier System rotates them through out the program. Number 2; implement a variety of exercises to develop the prime movers of the sport at numerous joint angles. Number 3, prioritize these exercises based on type of movement and strength developed and place them in order of importance. Number 4, control volume by regulating the number of work sets that can be performed based on the level of the tier and type of exercise that coincides with it.
Along with training movements, there are corresponding strength types that must be considered when designing a program. The two main types of strength that must be developed for an athlete to improve performance are explosive strength and muscular strength. We breakdown muscular strength into two categories: lower body and upper body. Implementing exercises from the sport of weightlifting can enhance the development of explosive strength. Utilizing exercises from both powerlifting and bodybuilding can develop muscular strength.
4.1 The Tier Programs
The Tier System revolves around our Big 3 training sessions. These sessions are rotated in a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule. A fourth training session can also be included into the microcycle rotation. This day is primarily an upper body auxiliary session.
There are primarily two tier program variations that are now utilized in our program development. They are a 3 tiered or 5-tiered program. When the Tier System was first developed we had a 7-tiered program but we no longer implement this program during the annual plan.

4.1.1 What is a Tier?
In its simplest definition a tier represents an exercise. In the Tier System a daily training session can consist of 3 or 5 tiers. These numbers represent the number of mandatory exercises to be done by the athlete during the main section of the training session.
Each tier has three predetermined factors. Two of these factors, movement category and exercise classification, restricts the choice of exercise per tier. The third factor is volume. Each tier has a set number of work sets that are allowed for that particular tier.

Tier Program Names
Tier programs are named on a number and letter basis. The name of the program is based on the number of days per week the athlete trains, the number of exercises per session, and if there is auxiliary work included in the microcycle. Below is a list of the primary Tier Programs.
• 3x3
• 3[1]x3
• 3x3[A]
• 3x5
• 3[1]x5
• 3x5[A]
• 2x3[A]
• 2[1]x3

The number before the “x” represents the days per week the athlete trains. A 3[1] designation tells us that the athlete will train four days per week, 3 days on a Tier Program and an additional day for auxiliary work.
The second number represents the number of exercises implemented into the tier program. An “A” after the second number refers to auxiliary work that will be done after the main section of the daily training plan is completed. For example, each individual tier represents a mandatory exercise. Therefore, a 3x5-tier program tells the athlete and coach that the athlete is performing a strength-training program that involves 3 workouts per week with 5 mandatory exercises required per training session.
Our variations of the 3x5 program are the primary strength training programs for our athletes. These programs our highly utilized during the Developmental Stage when, strength endurance or base strength are the main objectives of a training cycle.
3x3 programs are usually utilized in two ways, during Pre Season programs and maximum strength cycles. These programs are used when training time is reduced because of non-competitive official practice sessions (example: spring football practice). They can also be utilized when the athlete is entering a maximum strength cycle when intensity is high and volume is slightly reduced. During this cycle by reducing the exercises per session by two allows for a longer rest interval between heavier training sets.
2x3 programs are utilized during In Season and Championship Season programs. Strength training sessions during these programs are secondary to the actual skill development being accomplished on the practice field with the athlete’s position coaches.

4.2 Movement/Strength Categories [General]
EXERCISE POOL
The first step of our program design is to determine which exercises are being considered for a specific program. As stated earlier, we break down our exercises into three distinct categories based on overall movement and type of strength the exercise will develop. We consider this list our exercise pool, and feel this is the first process that should be considered when designing a strength program.
There are two questions the strength and conditioning coach must ask when creating the exercise pool: can I teach it, and do I have the necessary equipment to implement this particular exercise? Once you have answered these questions, you can now create your pool. Everyone’s pool will be different based on the answers to the above two questions. This pool will consist of all the exercises that are being considering for the specific program. This does not necessarily mean all of the exercises will be used, but, it allows us to evaluate each exercise and it's importance to our program (see table 3). In many cases when designing a sport specific program, a mini-pool may be developed from a more comprehensive pool. (See appendix 4 for a comprehensive exercise pool)
In the Tier System, any exercise that is being considered for a specific program will be placed into a column based on the overall movement and type of strength that it will develop. By utilizing these 3 groupings for exercises we then place them into the corresponding category.
When discussing total body training, we are usually referring to what we call movement/strength categories. We first break down our exercises into three different general categories rather than body parts. These categories are total body movements/explosive strength, lower body movements/muscular strength, and upper body movements/muscular strength.
We believe that training the body through these categories is more beneficial for the athlete than training the athlete by body part rotations. We believe this because we focus on exercises that mimic movement patterns for the specific sport rather then developing specific areas of the body. For an athlete to complete a total body strength training session, we include each category into a daily workout.

4.2.1 Category 1 - Total Body Movement/Explosive Strength
Total Body movements are represented by exercises that involve the following movements, knee extension, hip extension, plantar flexion, and shoulder elevation. Also, flexion and extension of the elbow may be involved in certain exercises. The movement of all these joints at one time in a synchronized fashion is very specific to the actual movements performed in sports at any level. Total body exercises are primarily derived from the sport of Weightlifting.
These types of exercises are primarily utilized to improve explosive strength. We define explosive strength as the ability to move a specific resistance in a very brief time span (power). This is the most important strength system as far as specificity of training is concerned.

4.2.2 Category 2 – Lower Body Movement/Muscular Strength
Lower Body movements are represented by exercises that involve the following movements, knee extension, hip extension, and plantar flexion. Lower body exercises are those exercises that will help increase strength in the lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscle group, hip extensors, flexors, adductors, and abductors, and the muscles of the lower leg (calf and ankle).
We define muscular strength with a lower body emphasis as the amount of resistance that can be moved for a repetition maximum (regardless of time) during the execution of an exercise that emphasizes the lower body. We emphasize a controlled eccentric component followed by an accelerating concentric component on all muscular strength exercises unless we are training at a specific tempo.

4.2.3 Category 3 – Upper Body Movement/Muscular Strength
Upper Body movements are represented by exercises that involve the following movements, rotation at the shoulder joint, elbow flexion and extension. Upper body exercises are those exercises that will help increase strength in the chest, upper back and trapezius, shoulder region, and arms (triceps, biceps, and forearms). We define muscular strength with an upper body emphasis as the amount of resistance that can be moved for a repetition maximum (regardless of time) during the execution of an exercise that emphasizes upper body development. We emphasize a controlled eccentric component followed by an accelerating concentric component on all muscular strength exercises unless we are training at a specific tempo.


Table 3 – Sample Exercise Pool
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
Power Clean
Hang Clean
Clean Pull
Power Snatch
Hang Snatch
Snatch Pull
Jerk
Push Jerk
Push Press
Dumbbell Clean
Dumbbell Snatch Back Squat
Front Squat
Leg Press
Step Up
Lunge
Romanian Deadlift
Leg Deadlift
Single Leg Squat
Leg Curl
Leg Extension
Low Back Extension Bench Press
Incline Press
Close Grip Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Incline Press
Standing Shoulder Press
Bent Over Row
Squat Dips
Pull Ups
Triceps Extension
Biceps Curl

4.3 Movement/Strength Categories [Specific]
Once an exercise has been assigned a general category it is then placed in a specific group within the category. These specific groupings are based on the movement and/or actions of the exercise.

4.3.1 Category 1 Exercises
Total body movements are first going to be grouped into 3 sub categories. These categories are, pulling, pushing, or combination movements (table 4).
Pulling movements will be grouped as full pull and catch or triple extension movements. Pulling movements are started with the bar being below the waist.
Pushing movements will be classified as either presses or jerks. These exercises are started with the bar racked across the chest and shoulders or back and shoulders.
Combination movements are those exercises that combine two distinct movements within one repetition. These exercises always include at least one total body movement with either a lower body, upper body or another total body movement.

Table 4 - Category 1 – Exercise Breakdown [examples]
Pulling Movements Pushing Movements Combination Movements
Full Pull & Catch Presses Hang Clean to Power Jerk
Hang Clean Push Press Squat to Push Press
Hang Snatch DB Push Press Hang Snatch to Overhead Squat
Triple Extension Jerks DB Clean to Push Press
Clean Grip Shrug Pull Split Jerk
Snatch Grip Power Pull Power Jerk

4.3.2 Category 2 Exercises
There are 7 groupings for Lower Body movements. Lower body movements can be categorized as a double leg push, single leg push, single leg horizontal, single leg vertical, single leg lateral/horizontal, single leg lateral/vertical, posterior chain (table 5). Knee extension may also be utilized but very rarely.
Double and single leg pushes are represented by squat variations. Conventional, sumo, and trap bar deadlifts would also be included in these sub categories.
Single leg horizontal movements are variations of lunges. Single leg vertical movements are variations of step-ups or step-downs.
Lateral movement variations, any movement that is not in a linear plane forward and back or up and down, of the lunge and step up represent exercises that would represent single leg lateral horizontal and vertical movements. Posterior chain exercises represent movements that occur at the low back, glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors. Posterior Chain exercises are also broken down into bent legged or straight legged and can be either a double or single leg movements.

Table 5 - Category 2 – Exercise Breakdown [examples]
Double Leg Push Single Leg Push Single Leg Horizontal Single Leg Lateral/Hor Single Leg Vertical Single Leg Lateral/Vert Posterior Chain
Back Squat Bench Squat Standard Lunge Lateral Lunge High Step Up Lateral Step Up Reverse Hyper
Front Squat Box Squat Reverse Lunge Shuffle Lunge Low Step Up Crossover Step Up Glute/Ham Raise

4.3.3 Category 3 Exercises
Upper Body movements are categorized as either horizontal or vertical presses and pulls, elbow flexion and extension, and shoulder rotation/stabilization. Horizontal presses are considered variations of flat, incline, or decline presses. Vertical presses are variations of overhead movements (table 6).
Horizontal pulls are various row movements. Vertical pulls are chin-ups, pull-ups, standing row, pulldown, and shrug movements.
Elbow flexion and extension exercises are usually single joint triceps and biceps exercises. Shoulder rotation/stabilization are various single joint shoulder raises, flies, or movements that benefit the rotator cuff.

Table 6 - Category 3 – Exercise Breakdown [examples]
Horizontal Press Vertical Press Horizontal Pull Vertical Pull Elbow Extension Elbow Flexion Shoulder Rotation
Bench Press Front Press Bent Row Chin Up Extension Curl Lateral Raise
Incline Press Dumbbell Press Seasted Row Lat Pulldown Pushdown Reverse Curl Fly

4.4 EXERCISE CLASSIFICATION
After the pool has been completed, the next step is to classify the exercises into four distinct classifications per category: core, supplemental, major assistance, and secondary assistance. This is extremely helpful in ordering the exercises in proper sequence for The Tier System as well as prioritizing exercises per category (see table 7).

4.4.1 Core Exercises
Core exercises are multi-joint barbell exercises that the strength and conditioning specialist has chosen to be performed for a repetition maximum (single or multiple). The exercise chosen to be the core exercise usually will the one that gives the best indication of overall strength for that movement category. Usually, one exercise per movement category is sufficient for testing periods. The core exercises chosen should remain the same throughout testing periods to chart individual and team improvement.
Core exercises are generally those exercises upon which the rest of the program is going to be built. Core exercises are those exercises that the strength and conditioning coach believes will emphasize the development of the particular strength category it is associated with, in the most efficient manner.
In the case of testing two exercises from the same category, you must determine which one will be the primary core and which one is the secondary core. When choosing to implement two core exercises for a category, one exercise should give the best indication of overall strength for that specific category, while the other will usually represent an exercise that is more specific to the movement patterns of the sport.
The exercise chosen as the primary core becomes the tier 1 exercise and the secondary core becomes the tier 2 exercise. A classic example of using primary and secondary core exercises in testing is for upper body movements, using the bench press as the primary and the incline press as the secondary core.

4.4.2 Supplemental Exercises
The majority of the time supplemental exercises are those exercises that complement the core exercise. They tend to be a variation of the core exercise and are usually multi-joint barbell exercises.
They are implemented into the program for variety as well as to enhance the core exercises during major or minor training sessions. Also, supplemental exercises enhance prime mover muscle group development at different angles.

4.4.3 Major Assistance Exercises
Major assistance exercises can benefit the athlete is two different ways. Major assistance exercises assist in the development of the muscle or muscle groups that are used in the execution of the core and supplemental exercises. Also, since some of the exercises work as stabilizers and the antagonistic muscle groups of the prime mover exercises, they help avoid muscular imbalances that can lead to injury. Major assistance exercises are usually multi-joint barbell, dumbbell, or resistance machine exercises.

4.4.4 Secondary Assistance Exercises
Secondary assistance exercises are usually single joint barbell, dumbbell, or resistance machine exercises and act as stabilizing exercises for the core and supplemental exercises. These exercises apply direct resistance to a specific muscle group. We use them primarily in our auxiliary programs and are implemented individually for those athletes who may be rehabilitating an injury. They can also be used to strengthen weaker muscle groups that may affect the performance of the multi-joint prime mover exercises.

Table 7 - Exercise Classification [examples]
Category 1
Pulling Movement Category 1
Pushing Movement Category 2 Category 3
Core
Supplimental



Power Clean
Hang Clean
Power Snatch
Hang Snatch N/A
Jerk



Back Squat
Front Squat
Leg Press
Bench Press
Incline Press
Close Grip Bench

Major Assistance





Clean Pull
Snatch Pull
Dumbbell Clean
Dumbbell Snatch Push Jerk
Push Press



Step Up
Lunge
Romanian Dead Lift
Single Leg Squat Dumbbell Bench
Dumbbell Incline
Should Press
Bent Over Row
Secondary Assistance





N/A





N/A





Leg Curl
Leg Extension
Low Back Extension
Triceps Extension
Biceps Curl









4.5 Movement/Strength Category Sequence
One of the major intentions of the Tier System was to rotate the order of exercises based on movements and strength developed. This would accomplish three important factors in the development of the microcyle’s strength training sessions.
The first factor was to develop a sequence in which each category would receive an equal number of exercises per microcycle. In each of the tier programs there is a 1/3 distribution of exercises per category.
The Tier System’s structure has a positive effect on the development of the hips and legs. 2/3’s of the exercises, 1/3 from the total body movements and 1/3 from the lower body movements, will improve strength levels in this region of the body. The level of strength developed from the torso down is the foundation to the athlete’s success.
The second factor was to develop a sequence that would allow each category to be the emphasis for one of the daily training sessions of the microcycle. This would allow the primary core exercise for a specific category to be the first exercise of the daily session, when the athlete is fresh and has just completed a general and specific warm up.
When determining the movement/strength sequence for the microcycle, it was decided to order the systems based on athletic importance. It was decided that total body movements were the most important aspect of athletic development. The second most important was lower body movements followed by upper body movements. This became the sequence for the microcycle (table 8).
Although total body movements are more related to athleteic movement, the lower body core movement, the back squat, is the key to our programs success. Without the strength developed from the squat the athlete’s total body lifts will suffer.

Table 8 - Microcycle Movement/Strength Sequence
Session T
MONDAY Session L
WEDNESDAY Session U
FRIDAY
EMPHASIS Total Body Movement
Explosive Strength Lower Body Movement
Muscular Strength Upper Body Movement
Muscular Strength

After the microcycle sequence was completed, it was now necessary to construct a daily training session sequence. This sequence would take into account the microcycle rotation as well as how the categories were ranked in order of importance.
Session T’s (total body) rotation became identical to the microcycle rotation. A total body movement is the emphasis of the day followed by a lower body and an upper body movement. Session L’s (lower body) emphasis is a lower body movement followed by an upper body and total body movement. Session U’s (upper body) emphasis is an upper body movement followed by an explosive and a lower body movement.
It was decided that we would consider the first movement of the day the priority emphasis, the second movement the major emphasis, and the third movement of the day the minor emphasis. By sequencing the categories in the order we did, this allowed each category to be the priority, major, and minor emphasis one time per week (table 9).

Table 9 - Daily Strength System Sequence
EMPHASIS Session T
MONDAY Session L
WEDNESDAY Session U
FRIDAY
Priority
Major
Minor Total Body
Lower Body
Upper Body Lower Body
Upper Body
Total Body Upper Body
Total Body
Lower Body

Within the weekly sequence we rotate the categories in this order because we want a priority emphasis session to be followed by a minor emphasis session. Only the upper body movement session does not conform to this standard. In this case, two consecutive non-lifting days follow the priority emphasis. We feel this will help promote a faster recovery from training session to training session for each category and will diminish the chance of the athlete overtraining.
The third factor of the category sequence was to rotate the movements so that two exercises from the same category would not be performed back to back in a daily training session. This primarily effects the 3x5 programs. This was done to allow for built in recovery from exercise to exercise within one category to the next.
The category sequence rotates the same way during the tier programs. In the 3x3-tier program, once the athlete has performed one exercise per category following the proper sequence for the daily session, the athlete has completed the required lifts for that session (table 10). In a 3x5-tier program when the athlete has finished the first three tiers, the rotation for that session begins again.

Table 10 - 3x3 Tier Program - Tier Breakdown Based on Strength System Sequence
TIER Session T
MONDAY Session L
WEDNESDAY Session U
FRIDAY
One
Two
Three Total Body
Lower Body
Upper Body Lower Body
Upper Body
Total Body Upper Body
Total Body
Lower Body

In the 3x5-tier program once the category sequence is completed with an exercise from each category, the rotation begins again for that particular session. After the rotation has been completed the priority emphasis category of the day is repeated followed by the major emphasis of the day. Tier 4 exercises repeat the Tier 1 emphasis and Tier 5 exercises represent the Tier 2 emphasis of the day. This gives you 2 priority emphasis exercises, 2 major emphasis exercises, and 1 minor emphasis exercise to be completed in a 3x5-tier program (table 11).

Table 11 - 3x5 Tier Program - Tier Breakdown Based on Strength System Sequence
TIER Session T
MONDAY Session L
WEDNESDAY Session U
FRIDAY
One
Two
Three
Four
Five Total Body
Lower Body
Upper Body
Total Body
Lower Body Lower Body
Upper Body
Total Body
Lower Body
Upper Body Upper Body
Total Body
Lower Body
Upper Body
Total Body

4.6 EXERCISE CLASSIFICATION SEQUENCE
Each tier represents an exercise. These exercises are placed in order by the category sequence of the daily training session, as well as their classification within the category they are affiliated with. Primary Core exercises will always start the daily training session followed by a secondary core, supplemental exercises, or major assistance exercise. Secondary Assistance exercises are not included in the main tier program but may be included in Session A (auxiliary training)
Each tier has a specific exercise or the choice of exercises based on classification (table 12) and movement (tables 13-15). Choices have been given for some tiers because each sport has different needs. This allows for a variety of exercises to be done for the same tier throughout the year attacking and strengthening the joint at different angles.

Table 12 - Tier Breakdown based on Exercise Classification
Tier Classification
One
Two
Three
Four
Five Primary Core
Secondary Core or Supplemental
Supplemental or Major Assistance
Supplemental or Major Assistance
Major Assistance
Table 13
- Session T Exercise Classification and Movement Rotation


Tier/Rotation Classification Movement
Total Body Primary Core Core
Lower Body Secondary Core/Supplemental Double Leg Push
Upper Body Supplemental Horizontal Press
Total Body Supplemental/Major Assistance Triple Extension
Lower Body Major Assistance Single Leg Horizontal
Table
- Session L Exercise Classification and Movement Rotation


Tier/Rotation Classification Movement
Lower Body Primary Core Core
Upper Body Secondary Core/Supplemental Horizontal press
Total Body Supplemental/Major Assistance Pull/Push/Triple Ext/Combo
Lower Body Major Assistance Single Leg Vertical
Upper Body Major Assistance Vertical Press

Table 15 - Session U Exercise Classification and Movement Rotation
Tier/Rotation Classification Movement
Upper Body Primary Core Core
Total Body Secondary Core/Supplemental Pull/Push/Combo
Lower Body Supplemental/Major Assistance Double/Single Leg Push
Upper Body Major Assistance Vertical Press
Total Body Major Assistance Dumbbell Pull/Push/Combo

Tier 1 represents the primary core for the movement category that has the priority emphasis of the day. Tier 1 exercises are always first in succession and are cycled off of a previous repetition maximum. A core exercise may be substitued for another exercise in Tier 1 if we are implementing a repeat session
Tier 2 exercises will either be classified as a secondary core or supplemental exercise. Tier 2 exercises are always second in succession and represent the major emphasis of the day. If a secondary core is utilized, this exercise is cycled off of a previous repetition maximum.
If a supplemental exercise is chosen, we will cycle this exercise off of the weekly training intensity of the primary core by using a predetermined training maximim or training range.
Tier 3 exercises will either be classified as a supplemental or major assistance exercise. Tier 3 exercises are always the third exercise in succession and represent the minor emphasis of the day.
If a supplemental exercise is implemented, we will cycle the exercise off of the primary or secondary core.
We may also cycle a major assistance exercise off of the core depending on the exercise and it's relationship to the core exercise. If we choose not to cycle the major assistance exercise off of the weekly training intensity of the core exercise, we will cycle the reps from high to low and give the athlete a weight range for the duration of the program. In a 3-tier program this would be the last required lift of the session.
Tier 4 exercises are fourth in succession and are either supplemental or major assistance exercises. Tier 4 exercises represent the same category as Tier 1, the priority emphasis of the day. These exercises may be cycled similar to tiers two and three.
Tier 5 exercises are always major assistance exercises. They are the fifth exercise of the day and represent the same strength system of Tier 2, the major emphasis of the day. These exercises are cycled similar to the major assistance exercises in tiers three and four. This would conclude the 5 Tier program.

4.7 RANKING YOUR POOL BASED ON TIER CONSIDERATIONS
Now that an exercise classification and movement sequence has been established, the strength and conditioning coach must rank in order the top five exercises per category. These five exercises should be ranked based on importance to athletic improvement, relationship to the chosen core, and how they coincide with the classification sequence.
Once the five exercises per category are chosen they are now implemented into the tier that coincides with its ranking. If you are implementing a 3x3-tier program the first three exercises per category will be used and so on for a 3x5 program. Remember that the exercises will be dispersed through the three training sessions of the microcycle.
As stated earlier, one of the keys of the Tier System is exercise variety. This is to develop joint strength and stability at different sport specific movement angles. Every fifth week exercises from tiers four and five should be changed. Also, tiers 2 and 3 can also be manipulated if needed. The fifth week rotation is based on our 4-week cycle format. Every fifth week generally is a cycle change and therefore would be an ideal time to change exercises. Exercises can be changed on a two-week basis also.

4.8 Session A - The Auxiliary Day
The Auxiliary session has become an important part of our weekly plan. This day serves primarily as a prehabiliation day for the upper body with particular emphasis on the upper back and shoulder region of the body. It is grouped in 3 sections (table 16).
With the exception of the sport of wrestling, most sports are primarily pressing sports. This session allows us to implement exercises that represent vertical and horizontal pull movements that are antagonists movers and stabilizers to the upper body press work the athlete does during the Big 3 sessions. These exercises represent group 1.
Exercises the help develop the shoulder region of the body are also implemented during this session. The shoulder joint is probably the most vulnerable joint in the body because of its configuration and tremendous range of motion it has. We dedicate 3 exercises to this region for the anterior, medial, posterior, rotator cuff muscles, and middle trap region. These are group 2 exercises.
Also included in this session are exercises for elbow flexion and extension. Wrist flexion and extension exercises may also be done. These are group 3 exercises.
This session is usually performed on Tuesday’s. Depending on the program implemented this day may be split up and one group from this session would be implemented at the end of the Big 3 sessions.

Table 16 - Session A Exercise Classification and Movement Rotation
See appendix 5 for auxiliary programs
Group Classification Movement
1 Major Assistance Vertical Pull
1 Major Assistance Horizontal Pull
2 Major or Secondary Assistance Shoulder Rotation
2 Major or Secondary Assistance Shoulder Rotation
2 Major or Secondary Assistance Shoulder Rotation
3 Secondary Assistance Elbow Extension
3 Secondary Assistance Elbow Flexion

4.9 REPEAT, and TIER ROTATIONS
In some sports cases we may restructure the tier program and have a repeat session. This generally occurs in the sports of soccer and track where upper body movements are not as critical as the total body and lower body movements. This is a simple matter with some adjustments going to tier level classification and movement pattern choices.
If there is limited equipment and your group is large you may also rotate your sessions within 1 training day. One group may start on Session T, another on Session L, and a third on Session U. This allows the athlete to maintain a good training pace because of the rotation of exercises there is little interference between groups. We had very good success with the process in 1994 and 1995 when our facility was not equipped to handle large training groups.

Table 17 - Tier Rotations
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday
Standard 4 Day Session T Session A Session L Session U
Standard 3 Day Session T Session L Session U
Soccer/Track Session T Session L Session T
Variation









L
U
T
L
U
T
L
L
U
U U
T
U
T
L
U
T
U
E
L T
L
L
U
T
T
L
L
U
U

As mentioned earlier you may include auxiliary training after the three main sessions. If you decide to add the auxiliary day as a fourth training day it should be implemented on the Tuesday or Thursday opposite of Session U.

4.10 VOLUME IN WORK SETS
As well as the movement categories and classification of exercises, each tier has a predetermined amount of work sets that can be utilized for that exercise (table 18). We manipulated the work sets per tier based on the type of exercise; it's importance, order in the work out, and the amount of work we wanted completed during that particular tier.
We chose work set volume over repetition volume because we implement several types of intensity cycles during the annual plan depending on the goals of the specific phase. Repetitions per set are usually the same for all exercises that are in the same movement category.
There are three volume scales we can use in the tier system. The first one is the standard progression. The second can be utilized for Olympic Sport athletes or when the auxiliary session is combined with the Big 3 sessions. This manipulation of sets would only occur for a 3x5 program. The third implements a speed – strength cycle for tier 3. This is based on multiple sets of 2-3 repetitions for 8-10 sets with 45 seconds to 1-minute rest time. This adjustment is primarily done during base and maximum strength cycles when we also are trying to develop starting strength and bar acceleration during lower and upper body movements.

Table 18 - Volume - Based on Work Sets per Tier
Tier Level Standard Sets Auxiliary Set Speed Tier Adjust
One
Two
Three
Four
Five 6
5
4
3
3 5
4
3
2
2 6
5
8-10
3
3

4.10.1 Heavy, Moderate, and Low Volume Sessions
By manipulating volume we could coincide the amount of work sets with the emphasis of the session. That would make the priority emphasis a high volume workout, the major emphasis a moderate volume workout, and the minor emphasis a low volume work out. For example, if a total body movement is the priority emphasis for the daily training session, the majority of the total work sets will be designated for that category (table 19).

Table 19 - Volume - Based on Total Work Sets per Daily Emphasis [standard sets]
Volume/Emphasis 3x3 Tier Program 3x5 Tier Program
High/Priority
Moderate/Major
Low/Minor 6 Sets of 15
5 Sets of 15
4 Sets of 15 9 Sets of 21
8 Sets of 21
4 Sets of 21

Approximately 42% of the total work sets are allocated for the priority emphasis for the daily session. 34% of the total work sets are allocated for the major emphasis of the day, and 24% of the total work sets are allocated for the minor emphasis of the day. By implementing a heavy, moderate, and low volume work out for each category, this gives the athlete ample time to recover from session to session and decreases the chance of overtraining.

4.11 THE TIER SYSTEM SUMMARY
The Tier System’s microcycle is based on a three-peak microcycle (figure 2). Each of the movement/strength categories represents one of the peaks. Our daily sessions revolve around a priority, major, and minor emphasis for each category as well as the manipulation of volume for each category based on their emphasis for the session. A rotational sequence of the three categories determines which category is the priority emphasis, major emphasis or minor emphasis for that particular session.
This rotation allows us to emphasize our core exercises as the primary exercise for each session. The rotation allows the athlete to prepare physically and mentally for the demands placed on him for the longevity of the practice or competition.

Figure 2 - Three Peak Microcycle Based on Strength Systems



4.11.1 Priority Emphasis
A Movement/Strength Category is the priority emphasis of the day when the first exercise for the training session is a Tier 1, primary core exercise. The total volume of work sets for the category is higher than the other two systems.
Intensity is the highest for this system during this session as it relates to percentage of repetition maximum. Priority emphasis exercises will be Tier 1 and Tier 4, depending on the length of the program.

4.11.2 Major Emphasis
A Movement/Strength Category will be the major emphasis of the day when the first exercise of the training session is a Tier 2, secondary core or supplemental exercise. The total volume of work sets for this category is considered moderate. Major emphasis exercises will be incorporated in Tier 2 and Tier 5 exercises depending on the length of the program.

4.11.3 Minor Emphasis
A Movement/Strength Category will be the minor emphasis of the day when the first exercise of the training session is a Tier 3, supplemental or major assistance exercise. The total volume of work sets for this category is considered low.

Table 20 - Example of a 3x5 Tier Program
Session T
Tier Emphasis Classification Movement Exercise
One Total Body Primary Core Core Hang Clean
Two Lower Body Secondary Core/Supp Double Leg Push Front Squat
Three Upper Body Supplemental/Major Assist Horizontal Press Close Bench Press
Four Total Body Supplemental/Major Assist Triple Extension Shrug Pull
Five Lower Body Major Assist Single Leg Horizontal Walking Lunge
Session L
Tier Emphasis Classification Movement Exercise
One Lower Body Primary Core Core Back Squat
Two Upper Body Secondary Core/Supp Horizontal Press Incline Press
Three Total Body Supplemental/Major Assist Pull/Push/TE/Combo Hang Snatch
Four Lower Body Supplemental/Major Assist Single Leg Vertical 16" Step Up
Five Upper Body Major Assist Vertical Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Session U
Tier Emphasis Classification Movement Exercise
One Upper Body Primary Core Core Bench Press
Two Total Body Secondary Core/Supp Pull/Push/Combo Power Jerk
Three Lower Body Supplemental/Major Assist Double/Single Leg Push Single Leg Bench Squat
Four Upper Body Supplemental/Major Assist Vertical Press Standing Press
Five Total Body Major Assist DB Pull/Push/Combo Dumbbell Snatch

4.12 The Daily Plan
A daily training session consists of 3 parts, the Pre Work Out, the Main Session, and the Post Work Out. Each has certain aspects that help develop in the process of total body training.

4.12.1 Pre Work Out
The Pre Work Out begins with a quick feet agility drill. This is generally going to be 3 minutes in duration. The athlete then performs what we call our standard strength warm up. This is a dynamic flexibility program, which consists of hurdle mobility drills and lower and upper body movements done with the use of PVC or a standard barbell. The athlete then goes into his torso training. We have four distinct types of torso movements that can be implemented. They are flexion/extension, lateral flexion, rotation, and stabilization. A minimum of two exercises must be completed. This should take approximately 10-15 minutes.

4.12.2 The Main Session
The Main Session is the actual tier program that is being implemented. This section when performed properly should have a maximum time limit of 70-75 minutes. We allocate time for each tier to help the athlete keep the proper pace during the work out (table 21).

Table 21 – Tier Time Allotments
Tier Level Time Allotments
One
Two
Three
Four
Five 25-28 Minutes
15-18 Minutes
15 Minutes
6 Minutes
6 Minutes

4.12.3 The Post Work Out
The Post Work Out consists of one posterior chain exercise that is done for 3 sets. It also has a brief static flexibility program and finishes with more torso work. This section should take approximately 10 minutes. The Post Work Out may also consist of neck and trap work for sports such as Football and Wrestling.
The goal is to have the athlete complete all three sections in 90 minutes or less. Ideally the Tier programs work the best in a self-contained power unit. This is because it eliminates dead time by keeping the athlete in one designated area for the majority of the work out. Groups of 2-3 work per station works best. Conditioned athletes have completed the main section plus the posterior chain exercise in less the 60 minutes.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The goals of our strength and conditioning program are simple: produce a sound training program for our athletes, evaluate all sports and implement programs that will strengthen injury prone areas, have our athletes be the best conditioned team competing, and give them the opportunity to WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Championships are not won in the office, but won with athletes who give everything they have to become the best. We feel we have a fine application package to offer the athlete.

source: http://bighouse77.tripod.com/TierSystemTraining.html

-----------x-------------

Anuj

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Old 06-20-2006, 05:46 AM   #2
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Nice find, this looks very interesting. I'll have to take a closer look at this later.
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:58 AM   #3
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this deffintly has good info. Read it one time through but i got to read it a few times because my reading comprehension sucks ass lol. Anyways it sounds damn good and perhaps i will try and build a routine off of it for my training. thanks for the nice post anuj
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:10 AM   #4
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your welcome guys

no problem...

incase anyone is interested, here's the link to a journal on bb.com where this dude is gonne be attempting this program: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...647274&page=14

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