In January of 2004 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando Florida, I shared an elevator ride with Joe Kenn and Mark Uyeyama. At the risk of appearing like a total dork in front of my girlfriend (now wife), I introduced myself by both praising The Coach's Strength Training Playbook  and Joe's presentation that morning at the NSCA Sports-Specific Training Conference.  Whether it was through Coach H's Coaching Log or other professional development, "House" and I stayed colleagues and are now friends.

One of my favorites articles on elitefts was when Jim Wendler interviewed Joe Kenn at the compound. This four-part series went through a detailed approach of Joe's Block Zero and Tier System Training, along with his Push-Jump-Punch Technique on the Clean. Now, I don't wave the wit or personality of Jim Wendler, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to interview Joe again in the same weight room nine years later. A lot has changed but as you will see, the core values of a great coach never do.

“We live in the age of regurgitation of quotes from books. Put that knowledge into practice, then tell me what you think.”

- Joe Kenn

In this Interview:

The Tier System 

  1. The Tiers System at the Sports Performance Training Summit
  2. The Most Important of the Four points: Exercise Selection
  3. The Evolution of the Tier System: 6 Years Since the The Wendler Interview
  4. Volume Controlled per Tier vs. Specific Movement Development of Each Tier using Zatsiorsky's Three Methods
  5. Learning from Presenting with Mike Robertson: The Most Important Aspect is the Exercise Pool
  6. The Creation of Inter-Mixed Periodization
  7. Athlete Age Dictates Variability, Regressions, and Progressions
  8. The Integrity of the Tier System is the Template Approach to Exercise Order

Advice for Young Coaches 

  1. Research by Way of Athletes Interactions
  2. Law of Individual Differences
  3. Coaches understanding WSBB Principles in an Athletic Setting
  4. Coaches understanding the Demands of Athletes vs. the Demands of Lifters
  5. Young Coaches need to Start with Basics: Most Coaches go from Specific to Basic

Three Critical Points for Young Coaches

  1. Don't Chase: The Job You have Now is the Most Important Job You Have
  2. Be Yourself: If It's Truly your Passion, It Shouldn't Be Hard.
  3. Find a Niche: GPS, VBT, HRV


Joe Kenn “House” has established himself as one of the top strength coaches and sought after clinician in the world. As the author of The Coach’s Strength training Playbook, Joe Kenn started as a regular contributor on the elitefts Q&A known as Coach H. The inventor of the Tier System of Strength Training and owner of Big House Power Competitive Athletic Training, Joe was won numerous awards and the only coach to win the NSCA Professional and Collegiate Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2002 respectively. Kenn has coached multiple future NFL Hall-of-Famers including Steve Smith and Terrell Suggs.

 The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook

The Tier System Training DVD

The Sled Work Outs DVD

Interview with Joe Kenn

Articles by Joe Kenn