Michael Yessis

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Michael Yessis
Michael Yessis in 2011
Born (1932-06-16) June 16, 1932 (age 91)
Occupation(s)Professor Emeritus, author, sports performance trainer, training and technique consultant, technique analysis specialist and athletic coach
Notable workExplosive Running, Explosive Plyometrics, Kinesology of Exercise
SpouseEdith R. Evans-Yessis

Michael Yessis is an American sports performance trainer who translated and adapted sports training methodology from the former Soviet Union.


Yessis got a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. In 1975 he and athlete Fred Wilt coined the term plyometrics while observing Soviet athletes warming up. In 1982 Yessis traveled to the Soviet Union to work with Yuri Verkhoshansky, a leading biomechanist and sports trainer at a time where Soviet sports dominated the world.

Yessis's teaching career focused on a performance-based version of sports conditioning & training.[1] As a biomechanist, he emphasizes technique analysis and movement pattern training in conjunction with strength building based on the specific physical requirements of each sport. Yessis has authored 16 books and over 2,000 articles in various publications, and has appeared often on television, radio, and the internet as an expert guest or commentator. As a highly respected educator, Yessis was selected as a member of The Society for Unconventional Physical Education.

As a researcher and translator, Yessis made available for an English-speaking audience an array of significant Soviet books and journals created by the Soviet sports-scientists beginning in 1961, including Yuri Verkhoshansky,[2] creator[3] of the 'shock method' of training, later to be called "plyometrics", Anatoliy Bondarchuk's signature work Transfer of Training and the signature work of Vladimir Issurin, Block Periodization Training. Yessis was a leader of a group of athletes, sports coaches, and strength coaches to the Soviet Union to study at the Moscow State Institute of Physical Culture. He established contacts for the exchange of information and for the development of greater exchanges between the countries. His work was responsible for making this body of Soviet science-based sports research available in the United States. Yessis' translations include: Transfer of Training Volume I, Transfer of Training Volume II, Block Periodization Training, Special Strength Training A Practical Manual for Coaches, Running and Hurdling and numerous Soviet journals.

Yessis was chief editor for two well-established academic journals and senior editor for a Weider Publication. Yessis was the editor-in-chief for The Fitness and Sports Review International, a quarterly publication from 1966–1994. He also held the editor-in-chief position for Soviet Sports Review,[4] a collection of translated journals from Soviet coaches and original articles from contributing writers from 1968–1972. In addition, Yessis provided translation and original writing contributions to Soviet Sports Review. Yessis served as senior editor for Sports Fitness[5] (a Weider Publication known today at Men's Fitness).

Yessis served as training and technique consultant to the Los Angeles Rams & Los Angeles Raiders of the NFL, trained former All-American and Oakland Raider Marv Marinovich and his son Todd[6] Marinovich,[7] helping Todd to become a first-round draft[8] choice. Yessis served as training and technique consultant to Evander Holyfield, professional beach volleyball player Dianne DeNecochea, and the U.S. Men's Olympic Volleyball Team. He has trained Olympians including Jose Luiz Barbosa, an 800m and 1500m runner, four time Olympian and gold, silver and bronze medalist in six world championships, Edgar Oliveira, an Olympian who participated in Barcelona and Atlanta in the 1500m, Joao N'tyamba who participated in three Olympic games in the 800m and 1500m, Wander Moura who holds the South American record in the 3000m Steeplechase, participated in the Olympics and World Championships and was victorious in the Pan American games in the late 1990s.

Yessis has written 16 books in the sports and fitness field. His column was published in Muscle & Fitness magazine for 25 consecutive years.[citation needed]

Publications/books in English[edit]

  • Explosive Tennis: The Forehand Sports Training, Inc. (2000)
  • Explosive Running (2000)
  • Explosive Golf: Using the Science of Kinesiology to Improve Your Swing (1998)
  • Inspiring Others To Win. Griffing Publishing, 1998. (Chapter contribution).
  • Sports and Fitness Success From 6 To 16 (1996)
  • Body Shaping (1994).
  • Kinesiology of Exercise (1992)
  • Sports Restoration and Massage: Secrets Of The World's Greatest Superstars (1992)
  • Secrets of Soviet Sports Fitness and Training (1987)
  • Plyometric Training: Achieving Explosive Power in Sports (1986)
  • Running and Hurdling Fred Wilt, Editor, Dr. Yessis Translator Championship Books, 1984
  • Handball, 3rd Edition (1st Edition, 1966; 2nd Edition, 1972) William C. Brown, Publishers (1978)


  1. ^ "What EXACTLY Is Functional Training? Part I : Synergy Athletics – Muscle and Strength Training For Athletes". Synergy-athletics.com. 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  2. ^ "ironrebellion.com" (PDF). ironrebellion.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ K. McCadam (2011-06-23). "Russian Training Legend: Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky". Push The Ground. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  4. ^ "Soviet Sports Review 1968". Store.xlathlete.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  5. ^ "MENS FITNESS Mailing List". Lists.nextmark.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  6. ^ "Sports: Baseball, Football - Oct 19, 1986 - ABC - TV news: Vanderbilt Television News Archive". Tvnews.vanderbilt.edu. 1986-10-19. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  7. ^ 5112651536_s33. "EXERCISE PROGRAMS EXAMINED: PART II... Stock Footage & Video Clips". NBCUniversal Archives. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  8. ^ "How To Make Your Child A Star - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. 1988-08-29. Retrieved 2013-09-24.