Vertical Integration: What is it? How does it work?

Vertical Integration: What is it? How does it work? by Colin Masterson

Colin Masterson - Max Effort Ambassador

There are many ways to program. Depending on your goal you may choose linear periodization, vertical integration, bro split…etc.

Vertical integration: the emphasis and de-emphasis of training qualities, yet keeping them present at all times.

Linear periodization: as intensity increases, volume decreases.
Week 1: 5 x 10 @ 60% Week 12: 2 x 1 @ 97.5%

Bro Split: Training each body part one day per week

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Quads
Thursday: Hamstrings
Friday: Arms


Using Vertical Integration

For the purpose of this blog, we are going to discuss vertical integration. In my six years as a collegiate sports performance coach, I found this style to be the best fit for my athletes.

As mentioned above, “vertical integration” is the emphasis and de-emphasis of training qualities (strength, speed, power, hypertrophy..etc), yet keeping them all present.

Depending on the time of year and needs of your team, you may “turn the faucet,” (strength) higher while lowering (power) and keeping speed and hypertrophy consistent.


Why Vertical Integration?

The benefit of vertical integration compared to linear periodization is keeping all qualities present rather than training them in blocks and then moving away from them.

With sport having all qualities present at all times, why wouldn't your training plan? If you look at classical periodization, I feel it can be a great program for youth development, as you focus on one quality at a time.


The Drawbacks of Periodization

There are also many drawbacks to classical periodization, as mentioned in Charlie Francis’ book, Key Concepts such as:

- Volume of training becomes obsolete as intensity increases

- Intensification curve is too steep

- Lack of retention of training qualities

If you would like to dive deeper, please consider reading, Key Concepts by the late Charlie Francis.


With Strength,
Colin Masterson

Connect with Colin

Owner - CM1 Performance
Instagram @cm1_Performance

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