Al Vermeil and Ian King

Hello guys,

Sorry I’m not sure if this is the correct place to post. Basically, I am no expert but I am constantly trying to read about numerous successful coaches methods in order to better understand the training process.

My main influences are: Charlie Francis and Charles Poliquin. I have read many other coaches but these are two who I have great respect for their knowledge and results.

Ok, so I have a question. I understand that both Ian King and Al Vermeil have adopted many of Charlie’s methods of training, but I am not familiar with the exact ways in which they set out the training process. Do they differ much from Charlie’s?

If anyone could direct me to what they consider the best resources by these authors, and could share any knowledge on this forum with regards to their training approaches I would really appreciate it.

If I had to guess, VERY roughly do Al and Ian set it up as follows?:

  1. Identify sport components (energy systems used, speed, strength, power etc)
  2. Identify individual athletes weaknesses.
  3. Maintain all physical qualities in the on-season.
  4. In off-season, all physical qualities present (strength, speed etc) but volumes vary to focus on individual components and others are held at maintenance.
  5. 3+1 system is generally used where e.g sprint distances are increased for 3 weeks then reduced or held constant for 1. OR e.g strength training intensity increases for 3 weeks then 1 week deload?

I appreciate this is a VERY basic outline but if anyone could help me out that would be great!

Thank you.

Do a search here for Vermeil as there have been several threads about him. I posted a few links to some of his materials-two power point or pdf presentations he did-can’t recall right now.

Had a great conversation with Erik Helland the other day. As I’m sure you know he is the head guy for the Bulls and assisted Al since the 80’s.

He’s a truly great guy and we had an awesome discussion pertaining to the impact that Charlie has had on both of our coaching strategies and how few coaches who do the job can say the same.

Erik’s fortunate to have met Charlie in the late 80’s and been associated with him for so long.

Did Erik start his coaching career at a D3 school in Wisconsin?

Not sure. He did mention that he’s from Wisconsin but we didn’t get too much into the beginning end of things.

I know Ian very well. I have learned a great deal from him. You need to read Foundations of Physical Preparation and How to write Strength programs. Ian knew Charlie very well but you would be doing a disservice to Ian to think that he adopted too much of Charlie’s methodology. Ian was more a peer of Charlie than a student. Ian was the guy who popularized tempo numbering. He and Charles were quite close until some before some bad blood over a joint project. Ian trained a who is who of the Rugby world. He is easilt one of the best strength coaches on the planet. If i had to put it into a nutshell, Ian believes in injury prevention, training economy, not creating imbalance via training, and organism strength. The only way you can really understand him is to read him or do a seminar with him. Ian is brilliant and zero bullshit. If you are serious about training, he is a must read. I have a lot of Ian, Charlie, and some Poliquin on my book shelves. Angela knows Ian as well ans would tell you Ian is much different than Charlie in many ways.

Thanks for your replies everyone.

Pioneer, thank you. I did a search and found the pdf’s. They are very useful so thanks for posting them. Also some really good references by sports scientists to look up…Bosco, Kraemer etc.

Speedcoach, you know Ian well? That is VERY cool!:slight_smile: I really want to read the two books you mentioned. I am considering doing his KSI courses at some point in the near future. Do you have any experience at all with this out of interest?

Sorry, I didn’t really put across what I meant very well. Apologies; I appreciate and understand Ian has made massive contributions to the industry and I hope to learn from him at some point.

It’s a shame about him and Charles. They are both great coaches and although I can’t say I’ve studies Ian’s work in enough detail yet it appears that many of their methodologies are similar. But they obviously disagree on some areas e.g pre workout static stretching.

Out of interest what is your opinion of Poliquin’s methods? Personally I am a big fan and recently did his PICP level 1, but I was wondering whether it would be possible to get your opinion please?


GymRob. Yes, Ian was probably my main mentor back around 1997-2002. I did his 3 and 5 day bootcamps. That’s how I met Charlie and Angela. Angela was in the 3 day bootcamp with me. I highly recommend learning from Ian. He is quite skilled at handling athletes from a coaching standpoint. Pretty amazing to watch him train 50 football players and you could hear a pin drop. He knows how to control a team for sure. As far as he and Charles go, they are the same in a few ways, but differ in more. I guess my one question about Charles is a never have seen him periodoze a GPP, SPP, etc. He puts individual workouts out there, but never any progression. Actually, I read some of Charles stuff and he quoted Ian quite a bit, so I ran down Ian. It’s funny because I did a seminar with Ian, Charlie, and Berardi back in like 2001, and it was quite an interesting mix. Ian is uper regimented and Charlie is more offthe cuff and less preparation. If you had ever heard Charlie speak, he would go off on tangents and stories to get his point across. Ian was direct and as few words as possible. It was actually quite funny watching Ian try to steer Charlie, which didn’t work very well. I look at it like this. Iam not Ian, or Charles or Charlie, but I am strongly influenced by all 3. I have learned much from many sources over the past 15+ years. Hope that helps some.

no need for apologies. I understood that it wasn’t an insult on your part. I didn’t do KSI because although I learned much, I felt like I needed to blaze my own path so to speak. I am happy with what I have done in my career. The one thing Ian really hammers is the business of fitness. Nobody is astute in fitness about this as Ian. Poliquin is an amazing marketer, but Ian teaches you how to put your monay to work so you aren’t trading time for dollars. That path is finite for sure. I used to work 60+ hrs and made 6 figure + income in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It will wear you out no matter what the compensation. Ian taught me to value my time. I have a 7 month old daughter, and I want to see her as much as possible. Nights and weekends are a regular in my schedule, so I am looking for alternatives. Going to school for Physicians Assistant in the states currently. Like a Dr. Jr here. Will still train some, but want to focus on her. I would start with some of Ian’s literature, then proceed if you like the style.

Speedcoach, Excellent info thanks. Unfortunately I never got to see Charlie talk before he passed away, but you can tell from his videos he was certainly a real character! Very good guy and obviously one of the greatest coaches ever. I really want to learn from Ian soon. I like what appears to be his very good “critical thinking” skills.

Regarding Charles’s periodization, I think I may be able to give a little bit of info. I have to stress I’m not an expert and I may be wrong but this is how i think he sets it up: at the micro level he uses accumulation and intensification cycles where you alternate between volume and intensity. I think a lot of this came from scientist Dietmar Schmidtbleicher. With progression, he states you should be able to add 1-2% to the bar each workout or add 1-2 more reps. If not you need to change variables up (often change program-i.e shift to the other phase acc/int). Also, deloading occurs often every 3rd workout where the number of sets is dropped by around 40%.

Regarding the wider progression I am not too sure of the whole process, but I believe in the GPP he focuses a lot on unilateral work to correct structural imbalances (tests for upper and lower extremities taught at level 1 and 2 PICP). For instance most athletes have weak external rotators of the shoulder, trap 3 and VMO. So GPP is correcting imbalances as identified by tests and many of the lifts will be of slower tempo than in the SPP. He has talked a bit about tapering for comp but I believe this is more discussed at level 3 and above of PICP and depends on many factors.

I’m still in school at the moment but when I’m older I hope to learn from many experts in the field just like you did mate :). Sounds like a great experience!

Speedcoach, more great info thanks. This is very relevant since I hope to become a coach.

That is a great success financially and also due to the fact you are doing what you love, but as you said, I’m sure it can be very draining. I understand you want to spend more time with your daughter. That’s completely understandable.

I want to get some of Ian’s books soon but I’m guessing the shipping from Aus to me (UK) would be horrendous lol. Might have to get saving.

Thanks for your time and good luck for Physician’s school!

very kind words GymRob. Follow your passions, they never steer you wrong. I consider myself to be fortunate to have been able to wake up pretty much daily for 15 years never feeling like I am actually working. I guess like all things, I need to push myself to newer bounds, to help people in a different way. I have had the pleasure of working with some athletes from ages 10 to college and beyond. it is amazing watching then get scholarships and know that you had a small part in their success. I have some lifelong friends who were former clients. It is the best career, but it comes with hard work. You are already doing the right things. I learned more about training from Charles, Ian, and Charlie than all my years in University. Look forward to hearing more about your journey. Ian likely has ways to ship things to England reasonably as he has many devotees there. Best of luck in your journey. I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.

Hey guys correct me if im wrong but isnt Poliquin back up the HIT system? I thought I saw something on twitter or in a magazine about that.

he know’a too much about training to follow that crap. Charles is an excellent marketer of his method’s. He pushes the envelope on many frontiers. I read his stuff, but follow a different path. Not saying better or worse, just different.

You ever seen German Volume Training? Complete opposite approach to HIT! :DI went through two years of the old 1 set sof 12-15 reps to failure, 3 days a week, same workout everyday forr 12 weeks. since i played football, we did 2 sets of bench for 12-15 reps, the first set was warm up, the second was a max out.

I personally find GVT more suitable to hypertrophy. All I know is when I di his workout, I was sore as hell.

Not completely anti-HIT, but doesn’t recommend it for most people.

Zach Marcy: In recent days I’ve been involved in numerous debates on a lot of your methods vs. the methods of HIT promoted by the late Mike Mentzer. What arguments can you make for your basic methods versus some of the other philosophies in HIT?

Charles Poliquin: Dorian Yates has been and is still under the care of my clinic as often as we can meet. We have had the chance to exchange concepts in training. One cannot argue with his results, but he realizes that varying the exercises more would have given him a healthier longer career. But exercise tolerance is a very unique thing as discussed in the book I co-authored with Will Brink Muscle Building Nutrition (it is available on Charles’s web site) HIT does work, but I don’t think it is for every body. For example, Brian Haycock system also works. I trained that way in University and made zero progress. I am blessed with a high percentage of fast-twitch fibers, therefore I need more sets of low reps to progress.

Caveat emptor

Charlie and Ian became friends.
There was never any bad blood between Charlie and Ian and my heart would break thinking there was at this late date.
I will be in direct contact with Ian to discuss this.
Charlie was my husband for 21 years. His influence on my life from a personal and professional life was compounded by the simple fact that I met him at the beginning of my adult life.
Most agree Charlie Francis changed the way many view sprinting, and preparation of speed at almost every level including the very elite in the world over the past 30 years for sure.
Ian King also changed my life in a very different way for very different reasons.
Charlie thought Ian did an excellent job in learning new information and organizing it for popular consumption.
Ian in his own right has as much experience needed to be a great strength and conditioning coach and has proven this long before he began working to monitize training and his methods.
I created against Charlie’s interest initially. I pushed the idea upon the push I received from a few dear friends Steve Monardo and Tony Craddock. Both men attended Charlie’s funeral and are close friends of mine today.
Charlie spent the majority of his time in the past 20 years defending, not creating.
The last 5 years he spent fighting for his life so that my son could be a great man, person, child and little boy. Thank gosh he left both of us so much and our life in the past 10 weeks has been a testiment to this fact.
A some point in the future I will re puplishing Canadian historical material which includes SpeedTrap, CHarlie’s Training Manual ( both will include forwards by me and post scripts by some very interesting people). Finally I will make sure The Extensive Graph collection is available when the time is right for all to see and study.
The idea that Charlie was all about stories and un structured material is flat out ridiculous.
Reminds me of the swiss conference he attended when we first met Ian king. Charlie had 400 hundred people sign up to see his section. within the first 5 minutes 350 or more got up and left. The pt and like couldnt follow and un code Charlie’s style. Not too many can to this day. Those who do have experienced the results.
I hope this note helps to clarify.
Cheers to all of you for your interest.

Ange, I might be mistaken but I think the suggestion of possible bad blood was between Ian and Charles Poliquin and not Charlie. I look forward to all of the potential new releases. Thanks.