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Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #6: Nick Garcia

Our guest for this week’s episode is Nick Garcia, strength and throws coach for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA.  Nick is also part of the HMMR Media Podcast along with Martin Bingisser which hosts many thought leaders in sport science.

Just Fly Performance Podcast 6


This article is brought to you by Train Heroic (www.trainheroic.com), which is the athlete management platform I use for all of my online client training, as well as my online training groups, such as “Legendary Athleticism”.

I’m excited to have Nick on the show because of his experience as a traditional strength coach, throws coach, and a Bondarchuk method user.  Coaches are often intrigued by the Bondarchuk method, as it has yielded such incredible results in the realm of the throws, but there is a lot of confusion as to how its principles might actually carry over into all other training systems.

Nick is a great guy to talk to in this regard, as on this podcast, we go over many of the ideas that Bondarchuk had that can filter to training any event, as well as case studies in regards to related concepts, such as delayed transformation, “lag” of peak performance in Bondarchuk vs. traditional training, velocity based work, and more.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bondarchuk style of training, you can check out more about it by checking out this series by Martin Bingisser on 8-Weeks Out.

I’ll do a quick explanation of the Bondarchuk system as well here:

The core of the Bondarchuk system is doing one (although some coaches will alternate 2 or possibly 3) workout, repeatedly, tracking the result of the “CE” or competitive exercise (such as hammer throw distance), until an athlete “adapts” by increasing to their highest peak in CE performance.  Athletes will typically require 20-40 training sessions of the same type before they reach their highest adaptation of the cycle, at which point, the cycle is ended.  Each athlete has their own consistent, individual reaction.

The Bondarchuk system also utilizes a “Vertical Integration” system, where the whole spectrum of athletic qualities (Competitive exercise, special exercises, weightlifting, and circuit style strength) is trained in tandem throughout the year. 

A sample training day could look something like this:

  1. Warmup
  2. Shot Put Throw 25 Throws
  3. Medicine Ball Special Throw 5×10
  4. Clean 5 x 3-5 reps @ 65-70%
  5. ½ Squat 5 x 3-5 reps @ 65-70%
  6. Fitness Circuit (4 exercises) 3×10 reps

This workout would then be repeated until an athlete adapted to the training.

Quite simply, the Bondarchuk system uses exercises in a vertical integration manner, has a repetitive, simple planning scheme, and relies on the individual adaptation pattern of each athlete. 

Key Points

  • Nick’s thoughts on the black and white nature of utilizing the Bondarchuk method.
  • Bondarchuk’s GPE circuit, and it’s influence on Nick’s use of core circuit workout finishers
  • The effects of strength gain in the Bondarchuk system vs. traditional programming
  • Management of the CNS in traditional style programming through Nick’s 4 week cycle formatting
  • The timing of adaptation in deloading in Traditional lifting vs. the Bondarchuk model
  • Delayed transformation of maximal strength to best throws/speed-strength performance in traditional training vs. Bondarchuk model
  • Velocity based training, and it’s carryover to throws training and the Bondarchuk model
  • The role of max strength in traditional powerlifting movements vs. specific and high velocity training methods
  • How Nick sets his barbell weights at the beginning of each training cycle, based on velocity based training, and assumed improvement of bar speeds over the course of the training cycle
  • How to use VBT in conjunction with a portal system to determine athletic readiness
  • The role of bands and chains in traditional training, as well as the Bondarchuk system, and why not to use them for specific developmental exercises
  • The optimal length of training cycles, and understanding the concepts of “sessions to peak performance”
  • How to approach an athlete’s first developmental cycle in the Bondarchuk system


(Regarding the Bondarchuk Method) “The more things you throw into the workout plan, the more it changes the adaptation, and if it’s different every time, you aren’t going to get the right pattern every time”

(Regarding strength training in the Bondarchuk Model) “If you take that squat session, 3×5@70%, every single day of training, which is 5 days, and you add that tonnage up, it far surpasses the traditional way of squatting heavy on a Monday, and coming back on a Thursday and squatting medium, it’s almost double.”

“What people forget is that we have our base week, then a big volume week, which we get beat up from, then we have our unload, usually you unload and think you’ll have good performances that week especially in track, but the reality is that it takes a week and a half to two weeks to feel that unload”

“Using specific strength, using multiple weighted implements, and doing different types of pressing exercises that relate to the shot, show that you don’t need to bench press number 1, and number 2, velocity based training, that’s kind of what Dr. B’s stuff is, has more transfer”

“Instead of basing things off percentages, we base things off of velocity”

“We want everything to accelerate, not decelerate, and the farther you stretch a band, the more the band is going to decelerate a movement (regarding specific developmental exercises)”

“If you never adapt to something, you don’t get full potential out of that movement, and what you are trying to do”


About Nick Garcia:

nick garciaNick Garcia is one of the leading high school coaches in the country. A former Big Sky conference champion, for the past ten seasons he has served as the throwing coach at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California where he has produced unprecedented success with his youth shot putters.


  1. Chui-Tai Chimani

    Excellent presentation. Having used the traditional system with inconsistent results, I intend to invest in the VBT system going forward.

  2. Chui-Tai, thanks for the comment! Nick has great experience with VBT, I was really excited to hear his insights doing this podcast.

  3. Brandon dean Green


    Great podcast. What would be interesting for a book(or article)
    in the future would be “‘Bondarchuk for Olympic weightlifting”
    and/or “Bondarchuk for American Football”!

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