Jun 17, 2021 in DIS-TANZ-SOLO

Simultaneously to my teaching activities with the Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy and the Cie. Paracosm in Blagnac, I’ve spent the last two weeks working my way through SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF STRENGTH TRAINING by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, William J. Kraemer and Andrew C. Fry. I have already mentioned the book briefly in my article SIZE VS. STRENGTH, but feel that this must-read publication needs to be highlighted more thoroughly.

Of course, my first impulse was to filter out the most important information and give you a brief summary. However, this time such an approach seems too much at odds with the philosophy of the book. The whole point is not to take shortcuts, but to understand the necessary fundamentals to be able to work independently. The authors did not intend to write a training manual, but as the book title clearly states to convey the science and practice of strength training. So the only thing I can do is to introduce the book in detail and lay out the reasons why the book was so compelling to me.

The book is aimed equally at coaches and athletes who want to coach themselves, but in any case at people who want to understand the basic principles of strength training and apply them in their respective disciplines. In the best possible sense, the authors avoid constant cross-referencing to other studies and texts, instead drawing on their decades of experience in the field of strength and conditioning. Zatsiorsky’s background is in the former Soviet Union, East Germany and Bulgaria, while Kraemer and Fry bring their American perspectives to the table. The complexity of the issue is made clear time and again, and that individual decisions must be made that respect the sport in question and the athletes involved. But although the information is sometimes quite demanding, it is still conveyed in an easily understandable way.

So as a dancer, why bother reading through a book on the scientific principles of strength training? The authors make it quite clear that strength is not only crucial for professional weightlifters, but an integral component for the performance of any athlete. In addition to enhancing preparedness for one’s specific discipline, strength training is an important part of any prevention and rehabilitation program. It is probably self-explanatory that we can work more effectively the higher our level of knowledge. So instead of following fitness fads, subscribing to a bunch of fitness influencer video channels, and trusting broscience, we as professional dancers and athletes should make sure we are working with the most professional and highest quality information available.

Therefore, especially if you don’t have the means to coordinate your training program with a team of experts, the obvious solution is to read up on the necessary information yourself as best you can. So grab yourself a copy of SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF STRENGTH TRAINING and get to work!

Professional Opinions

The book acknowledges no one programme will work for all athletes all the time. Thus there is no single best programme. The best programmes are those based on solid principles and concepts with the understanding that change is inevitable. This book addresses these principals and the complexity of strength training while providing straightforward approaches for specific circumstances.

Ryan Parker
Human Kinetics (The best strength training books)

Yet another informational powerhouse, Science and Practice of Strength Training does just as its name entails. Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky explains in vivid detail the effects of strength training on the body and how to properly work the different muscles of the body. This book has helped train Olympic athletes, powerlifters, bodybuilders and record holders of sports of all kinds.

Jessica Deml
Gazette Review (Top 10 Books for Personal Trainers)

Admittedly, this book is technical at times, but that’s not to say that you will not be able to think it out. And, because the ability to think critically is crucial to successful program design, you’ll be better off in the long run when it comes time to write programs for your athletes, clients, and yourself. Zatsiorsky won’t spoon-feed you cookie-cutter routines, but he will outline which methods do and do not work – and, just as importantly, why they succeeded or failed.

Eric Cressey
President and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance

Publisher's Description

SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF STRENGTH TRAINING is a favorite book among strength and conditioning professionals. Now in a third edition, it offers upgraded artwork, updates based on current science, and new information to enhance the practical application of the concepts presented. A new coauthor, Dr. Andrew Fry, joins the already-popular author team of Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky and Dr. William Kraemer to make this third edition even better than its predecessors. Together the authors have trained more than 1,000 elite athletes, including Olympic medal winners, world champions, and national record holders. Influenced by both Eastern European and North American perspectives, their experience and expertise are integrated into solid principles, practical insights, and directions based on scientific findings.

SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF STRENGTH TRAINING, Third Edition, shows that there is no single program that works for everyone, at all times and in all conditions. It addresses the complexity of strength training programs while providing straightforward approaches to take under specific circumstances. Those approaches are backed with physiological concepts, ensuring readers gain a full understanding of the science behind the practice of strength training. In addition, the authors provide examples of strength training programs to demonstrate the principles and concepts they explain in the book. The third edition features more detailed artwork and has three new chapters on velocity in the weight room, overtraining and recovery, and athlete monitoring.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I focuses on the basis of strength training, detailing basic concepts, task-specific strength, and athlete-specific strength. Part II covers methods of strength training, delving into velocity training, training intensity, timing, exercises used for strength training, injury prevention, overtraining, athlete monitoring, and goal-specific strength training. Part III offers even more practical applications, exploring training for specific populations, including women, young athletes, and senior athletes. The book also includes suggested readings that can further aid readers in developing strength training programs.

This expanded and updated coverage of strength training concepts will ground readers in the understanding they need to develop appropriate strength training programs for each person that they work with.

Table of Contents

Part I – Basis of Strength Training

Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 1


Adaptation as a Main Law of Training
Generalized Theories of Training
Training Effects
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 2


Elements of Strength
Determining Factors: Comparison Across Tasks
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 3


Muscle Force Potential (Peripheral) Factors
Neural (Central) Factors
Taxonomy of Strength

Part II – Concepts of Strength Training

Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 4


Measurement Techniques
Exercising With Different Resistance
Training Intensity of Elite Athletes
Optimal Training Intensities From Comparative Research
Methods of Strength Training
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 5


Structural Units of Training
Short-Term Planning
Medium-Term Planning (Periodization)
Periodized Programming Models
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 6


Exercise Selection for Beginning Athletes
Exercise Selection for Qualified Athletes
Additional Types of Exercises Used for Strength Training
Experimental Methods of Strength Training
Breathing During Strength Training
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 7


How to Measure Velocity
Considerations When Testing
Measuring High-Velocity Lifts in the Weight Room
Slow-Velocity Concentric Resistance Exercise
Slow-Velocity Eccentric Resistance Exercise
Velocity-Related Assessments in the Weight Room
Training Method Variations and Weight Room Velocity
Using Lifting Velocity to Determine Training Load and Volume
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 8


Factors Contributing to Increased Injury Risks in the Weight Room
Training Rules to Avoid Injury
Lower Back Pain and Injury
Biomechanical Properties of Intervertebral Discs
Mechanical Load Affecting the Intervertebral Discs
Injury Prevention to the Lumbar Region
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 9


Training Monotony and Variation
Types of Resistance Exercise
Psychology of Resistance Exercise Overtraining
Speed Is Very Sensitive
Lifting Power Decrements
Vertical Jump
Rate of Force Development
Strength Decrements
So Which Performance Tests?
Physiology of Resistance Exercise Overtraining
Sequence of Performance Impairments
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 10


Purpose of Testing
Who Is the Tester?
What Is Monitored?
Practical Considerations Related to Assessment
Monitoring Tests
Analyzing and Reporting Results
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 11


Developing a Profile of Target Goals
Evidence-Based Practice
Testing and Monitoring Progress
Strength Performance
Power Performance
Muscle Mass
Endurance Performance
Injury Prevention

Part III – Strength Training for Specific Populations

Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 12


Coaching Style Is Important
The Need for Strength Training for Women in Sports
Benefits and Myths of Strength Training for Women
Trainable Characteristics of Muscle
Development of Lean Tissue Mass
Physiological Contrasts Between Women and Men
Strength Training Guidelines for Women Athletes
Incidence of Injury
Menstrual Cycle and Strength Training
The Female Athlete Triad
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 13


Safety and Strength Training for Young Athletes
Types of Musculoskeletal Injuries
Primary Factors in Avoiding Injury
When to Start
Benefits of Strength Training for Young Athletes
Myths of Strength Training for Children
Strength Training Guidelines for Young Athletes
Long-Term Athletic Development
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky - Chapter 14


Age and Its Effects on Strength and Power
Training for Strength Gains
Training for Muscular Power
Nutrition, Aging, and Exercise Challenges
Recovery From Resistance Exercise
Strength Training and Bone Health
Strength Training Guidelines for Senior Athletes

About the Authors


Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, PhD, is an emeritus professor of kinesiology at Penn State University. A strength and conditioning consultant for Olympic teams from the former Soviet Union for 26 years, Zatsiorsky has trained hundreds of world-class athletes. He has also authored or coauthored 15 books and more than 350 scientific papers. His books have been published in a variety of languages, including English, Russian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Czech, Rumanian, Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from universities in Poland and Russia and is an honorary member of the International Association of Sport Kinetics. Zatsiorsky served for 20 years on the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, listening to classical music, and exercising.


William J. Kraemer, PhD, is a full professor in the department of human sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Prior to this appointment, he held full professorships at the University of Connecticut, Ball State University, and Pennsylvania State University, along with joint appointments at the medical schools of these institutions. He also has been a teacher and coach at the secondary and college levels and was a captain in the U.S. Army, working at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts. He has had extensive experience working with coaches and athletes in developing their strength training programs. Dr. Kraemer is a fellow of several organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He has served as a member of the ACSM's board of trustees and their administrative council, and he is a past president of the NSCA. He has authored and coauthored over 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the scientific literature. He has received numerous awards for his work and research, including the 2020 ACSM Citation Award, ACSM's Joseph B. Wolfe Memorial Lecture Award, and NSCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. He has been ranked as one of the top strength and conditioning and sport science professionals in the world.


Andrew C. Fry, PhD, is a professor in the department of health, sport, and exercise sciences at the University of Kansas. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in physical education at Nebraska Wesleyan University, he earned his master’s degree in exercise science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and his doctorate in exercise physiology from Penn State University. During his two-year postdoctoral training, Fry studied cellular and molecular muscle physiology at Ohio University. This was followed by 13 years at the University of Memphis, where he was the director of the Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory. At the University of Kansas, he helped develop the Research and Coaching Performance Team in collaboration with University of Kansas Athletics. His research interests over the years have consistently focused on physiological and performance responses and adaptations to resistance exercise, as well as overtraining.

An interview with Zatsiorsky

To conclude this article I would like to show you an interview with Vladimir M. Zatsirosky. I always find it interesting to get to know the people behind a particular work and to hear them speak in their own words. While this may not be directly related to dance, it does offer some interesting insights. So here's a full 70 minutes with one of the giants of the field:

To exchange opinions, to exchange knowledge, is extremely important. (…) Smart, well-educated coaches are not afraid to ask questions. (…) Talk, dialogue, and don’t be afraid to show that you don’t know something. If you don’t know something, you don’t know, it’s not important. Nobody knows everything.

Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky
Header photo by Michael Loehr


DIS-TANZ-SOLO Research Bibliography


DIS-TANZ-SOLO Research Links


Gefördert durch die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Programm NEUSTART KULTUR, Hilfsprogramm DIS-TANZEN des Dachverband Tanz Deutschland.

Logo Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Logo Neustart Kultur
Logo Dachverband Tanz Deutschland
Logo Dis-Tanzen