The Tier System

Under Methods that I use use for the Performance program at VCHS I have listed “Tier System”. What is the Tier System?

The Tier System is a system for progressing workouts that was developed by  Master Strength Coach Joe Kenn who currently serves as the S&C coach for the Carolina Panthers and was previously at University of Louisville, Arizona State University, Boise State University. You can read more about Coach Joe “Big House” Kenn here.

This Tier System basically breaks down the daily workout into priorities with the most important movement for the day being labeled “Tier 1”. Your Tier 1 lifts are generally your foundational movements such as Deadlift, Squat, Press, Clean etc. Each workout will consist of a different Tier 1 movement and you will cycle between these movements during the course of the program.

Tier 1 movements will be classified into three main groups, those being: Total Body, Lower Body and Upper Body. Based on a 3 day training week you will have one day with a Total Body movement as Tier 1, One day with Lower Body as Tier 1 and One day with Upper Body as Tier 1. This gives you 1 day each week that you can focus on that one movement at the beginning of the training session (which should allow you to be your freshest for that movement).

Once the athlete completes the Tier 1 movement they can then  move to the Tier 2 movement for the day then Tier 3, Tier 4 and so on depending on the amount of time available to get in quality work in a particular training session. To learn more about the Tier System you can find that information in this book.


So, why do I consider this a method? I guess it could also be considered a tool, but I consider this a method in training because it gives me a system that I can personalize for use in the development of daily training sessions for the athletes who have chosen to train with me. When using this system and applying it to my practice it helps me to not lose focus on training the whole athlete instead of getting sidetracked on a singular area of focus.

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