The truth about USRPT (SW article)

Home Forums General USRPT Topics The truth about USRPT (SW article)

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #2329

    Hi all,

    I just read the article below from Swimming World Magazine:

    It’s written by Dr. Sergei Beliaev, founder of Super Sports Systems which advocates and “sells” the Parametric System.

    The article is fairly negative on USRPT, especially in comparison to the parametric system. I don’t have a degree in physiology, so I can’t judge whether the science Dr. Rushall presents is actually real. But maybe others can comment? I would be particularly interested in Oldschool’s views on this article. I what way do you currently deviate from the parametric system so that you consider it USRPT?

    It is also very difficult to find documentation on the Parametric System, though there is a free 30-day trial thing on, I don’t find it particularly accessible.



    First off, I don’t remember any “horror stories”. I’m a “user” so may be biased but…

    Sets are CLEARLY defined; my training zone is 5-7 times the race distance at race pace. Not sure how much clearer I can get.

    I only change one variable at a time so I don’t understand the hybrid bullet. I can only be exhausted if I don’t make the pace at which point I take a break (I’ve missed a pace target).

    I feel like the 300 pages of scientific material I have read through, and lived through in 20 years of swimming, allows USRPT to be at least a little “evidence based” and I have a pretty good comparison of how it’s stacking up to my previous training (great).

    I’ve definitely developed power and had sets where I maintained pace and thought I was going to pass out due to breathing so hard. Probably not a VO2 max thing…

    And USRPT does control the quality of each movement gradually, you must swim at 15 seconds for 28 reps at a 30 second interval before you can swim 14 seconds for 28 @ 30. Obviously, a coach should correct form during this process.

    In summary, he doesn’t talk about a single aspect of parametric training except when he says USRPT is similar. Great sales pitch and swimming world should be looking at a 3:1 marketing ROI. If they negotiated a percentage of the parametric sales based on tracked referrals from the article that would be optimal.



    After reading the article it looks to me 3S does claim the same than USRPT a better training approach for competitive swimmers.

    Arguments against USRPT mentioned in the article are backed by studies says Beliaev. Rushall is using the same studies as proof USRPT is the right approach.
    Beliaev was not trying to find flaws in USRPT he was promoting his system without saying what his system is.

    Most USRPT critics and Belieav too rub against the simple conditioning rules advocated by USRPT. Conditioning has the least priority in USRPT though. That could mean they all agree with the technique and mental aspects taught by USRPT and have only minor objections or they think conditioning has a higher priority and USRPT is ignoring that.


    I knew eventually the guys from 3S would enter the equation.I mean this as no disrespect to the USRPT crowd. But the Parametric System (PS) is like PhD type work compared to mid-level HS with USRPT. The amount of work i.e. recording, tracking and adjusting that is needed in the PS system is 10 fold to USRPT (we can barely get coaches to record numbers done and made in USRPT). I work with a couple of young coaches here and they are so inconsistent in recording it’s extremely difficult to help them.

    I have always posted that USRPT is a variation of PS, if you understand the PS of training. They follow basically the same path. I will agree with Dr. Beliaev, that PS is a more integrated approach in overall systems development. Which USRPT does not do especially with regards to distance swimming?

    Dr. Beliaev is correct in that “speed at your main distance depends on performance at ALL distances”. It’s the whole PS in a nutshell. ALL SYSTEMS MOVE TOGETHER, especially in the PS first strategy, which is “SPEED IS CONSTANT AND DISTANCE IS INCREASING”

    Dr. Beliaev is correct again in that the core claim of USRPT “does not reach levels of exhaustion close to VO2 max”. OK stop and think about this 20 x 50, on whatever interval is a 1000 y/m of total work or 10:00 minutes of work time swimming at 200/500 pace and with any understanding of energy systems is V02 max energy system and is fatiguing as hell.

    Power development: This has come up in the forum a couple of times. I have suggested doing 4-6 x 25 on a longer rest interval i.e. 1:00 to 2:00 and the USRPT “purist” has trouble with the rest interval. But if you understand the development of power then you get the longer rest and by some of the responses from coaches it’s worked.

    I will disagree with Dr. Beliaev, in that “USRPT does not allow for intelligent management of all factors…” He comes with a knowledge base of training far and above the majority of coaches. But USRPT at least was gotten a lot of coaches to stop and think about their training. I’m guessing here, but I think that’s a good thing.

    Dr. Rushall has good or bad at least thrown out an idea and used evidence to back it up and I believe in the long run that’s a good thing for coaches. He has done this without charging coaches a dime for the information. He has compiled a site that at least supplies coaches a one stop shop for some of the latest information in sports science and again I have to believe that’s not a bad thing.

    Ask Dr. Beliaev to explain the important of KTs through a season or the importance of time trials during the season? How numbers done progresses through a 16 week 1st Strategy PS season with swimmers of high, middle or lower level improvements? How training sets correlate to race speed/projections? My guess is crickets! Don’t get me wrong. His knowledge is his property and he can do with it as he pleases.

    To get an idea of where Dr. S. Gordon and Dr. S. Beliaev come from try reading the following books. I thought I was a good coach until I read these books. To the Russians these are basics.

    “Programming and Organization of Training” by Dr. Yuri V. Verkoshansky

    “Theory and Methodology of Training” by Dr. Tudor O. Bompa (one of the originators of periodization of training and one of the world’s foremost authorities on weight training)
    Had an opportunity to meet him and spent over 2 hours asking questions about training and he said “that swimming is a total different animal with regards to training” and especially dryland/weight work.

    I apologize for the fragmentation of the responses.


    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Very helpful discussion. I would love to learn more about the Parametric System.

    I echo what Oldschool said about Rushall. At the very least he has gotten more coaches thinking. If not for his work I would still be trying to write practices like I was given in HS, Club, and College. I have deviated from USRPT a bit in the rest interval area but stick very closely to it otherwise. USRPT has completely changed how I coach.

    I’ve been recording numbers much better than last season with a group of my club swimmers. Championships in 2 weeks will be interesting. We’ve had so much less time to be in the pool but still look like we could have some fast swims.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    With regards to learning more about the Parametric System I think that time may have pasted. The one Russian coach and one Lithuanian professor really don’t speak about it much anymore. Both worked with or under Dr. S. Gordon (the originator of the Parametric System). I met the Russian coach in 1994 and of the 15 or so coaches that tried to practice the Parametric System I believe I’m the only one left using the system. (Not that they are bad coaches. But the record keeping is enormous and most coaches can’t or won’t do it for extended periods) this is sad; as they are extremely knowledgeable about training and adjustments that coaches can make during training. I know that the Lithuanian professor Dr. G. Sokolovas was with USA Swimming and producing valuable information for coaches, if USA Swimming management and coaches had, had the knowledge of how to use it he would still be there. I have Dr. Sokolovas book and I spent over a year translating it from Lithuanian to English. The information is amazing. I will always be grateful to them for sharing their knowledge.


    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Well, I probably would have failed to do the documentation if everyone else did as well.

    Where can i purchase the books you mentioned in your first post? I need to learn more!

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    You can find Bompa’s books on amazon: Periodization 5th edition
    Yuri Verkshansky at it’s now Super Training 6th edition


    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Bumping this thread to the top because Dr. Rushall formulated a response to the original article.
    Here is a link to the newest edition of Swimming Technique:

    It contains two USRPT-related articles: one from Forbes Carlile and a second with Rushall’s response to Beliaev’s article.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.