Updated: Mar 15
Performance Coach Tom Archer has worked with athletes ranging from Olympic hockey players to professional motorsport drivers. In this piece he talks training transfer, opens up some questions and gives plenty of us programme writers something to think about...
Tom putting IndyCar and former F1 star Max Chilton through his paces
So, what is dynamic correspondence and how can it help my training?
Dynamic Correspondence was outlined by the Father of plyometrics, Verkhoshansky & Siff, in his 2006 book ‘Super Training’ and is a term which refers to an exercise or training programme's ability to directly affect an athlete's sporting performance - also know as the ‘transfer effect’.
Verkhoshansky outlined a 'model of 5' criteria.
The aim of these criteria was to help coaches efficiently select the appropriate exercises that would yield the desired outcome for their athlete.
As an athlete you need to make sure the exercise or movement you're practising away from the track/field/ice/other event arena is going to provide the wanted and needed adaptations to improve performance in the arena you're focusing on.
For ease of reading:
1. Where I mention 'exercise', I refer to the selected mode of training for your event.
2. Where I mention 'skill', I refer to the actual physical action of your event.
Keeping South African Olympian Dirkie Chamberlain on a tight leash
Below is an outline of each criterion – with a few posed questions to help guide application to your own training
The 1st criterion mentioned is:
‘Amplitude And Direction Of Movement’
Within this criterion we look to analyse the movement patterns of the body as well as an understanding of the direction of movement and within which planes of movement.
So, think of your current program:
1. Does your selected exercise require triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip?
2. Does the skill you're comparing against also require the same level of extension and/or flexion?
3. Does the exercise require force to be produced within relevant planes of movement?
4. Does the given exercise you're doing in the gym use the same muscle groups you require for the skill?
E.g. During an Olympic Snatch we see triple extension joint movements which are similar in a basketball jump shot
The 2nd criterion is:
'The Accentuated Region Of Force Production'
This looks to highlight where within the movement the force is produced, and more specifically, where the highest peak force is produced.
1. At what joint angle is peak force achieved during your exercise?
2. Is that the same joint angle that requires force production during your skill?
E.g. If you are a shotputter will you get more bang for you buck from a medicine ball throw which requires increasing force production, over a cable rotation which tends to involve more constant force production?
The 3rd criterion is:
'The Dynamics Of Effort'
This is used to ensure that the athlete is generating the required level of force in the optimal time frame.
Doing so will provoke the correct recruitment of muscle fibre and motor unit recruitment patterns (Haff et al., 2001).
In Verkhoshansky & Siff's 3rd criterion, it's stated that the:
“training stimulus and effort exerted in training shouldn’t be less than what is generated in the specific movement.”
Therefore force should be applied at an optimal velocity for a specific skill.
How would you describe your exercise?
1. Is it a plyometric effort?
2. Is it more of a ballistic exercise?
3. Is your exercise dynamic enough to reflect the speed you would be performing the skill at?
E.g. In boxing training if you throw a punch with too much power than the situation requires, the likelihood is you will not have optimum control and will be susceptible to over-throwing the punch
'Dynamics of effort' links closely to the 4th criterion. This is the:
‘Rate and Time of Force Production’
The requirement here is for the athlete to generate correct levels of force in the optimum time so as to allow the body to recruit both the correct muscle fibres in the optimum motor unit patterns (Haff et al., 2001).
Rate of force development (RFD) is a measure of explosive strength which can be defined by the ability to exert maximal force within minimal time (Science and Practice of Strength Training-2nd Edition—William Kraemer, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, n.d.)
1. Are there similar ground contact times between your sporting skill and your selected exercise?
2. In a medicine ball throw, are you heaving it with the same RFD that you hit the bob/explode out of the blocks/accelerate into a tackle etc?
E.g. Ground contact time during elite sprinting can be 80 ms (milliseconds) – does your ground contact time compare positively to your ability to produce force on a depth jump?
The 5th criterion is:
'The regime of muscular work'
In this we look to understand the muscle requirements to perform the exercise in an optimum manner.
We need to understand not only the contraction type of the skill but also other variables such as the energy systems required (bioenergetics), the cyclical or acyclic nature of the movement & utilisation of the stretch shortening cycle (SSC).
1. What are the muscle's primary contraction type during performance of the skill, concentric, isometric or eccentric?
2. Is the skill considered to be cyclical or acyclic?
3. Is the exercise cyclical or acyclic?
4. Which energy systems are being primarily utilised?
E.g. Both the powersnatch and initial explosion from a block start are performed as rapid concentric movements, recruiting the use of type 2 muscle fibres and also being performed in an acyclic manner
Tom at the 2019 European Hockey Tournament with Holcombe Ladies
Not all exercises will be, nor do they need to be, ‘sports specific’.
However, if you are implementing a specific training block then hopefully the ideas discussed and questions posed in this article will provide you with some food for thought.
You had me at 'dynamic correspondence'
Tom is available for coaching/consult work with individuals and teams. He boasts clients in former F1 and current IndyCar star Max Chilton and professional hockey teams in the UK. He works out of Performance Elite Gym in Reigate, Surrey.
You can connect to Tom through his social accounts here:
References And Further Reading
1. Science and Practice of Strength Training-2nd Edition—William Kraemer, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, n.d.
2. Haff, G. G., Whitley, A. S., & Potteiger, J. A. (2001). A Brief Review: Explosive Exercises and Sports Performance.
3. Zatsiorsky, V. M., & Kraemer, W. J. (2006). Science and practice of strength training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
4. Siff, M., & Verkhoshansky, Y. (2006). Supertraining (6th ed), USA
5. Colyer, S. L., Graham-Smith, P., & Salo, A. I. (2019). Associations between ground reaction force waveforms and sprint start performance. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 14(5), 658–666.