Tag Archives: programming
What is the shortest amount of rest you can take while still being able to maintain high effort outputs?
Knowing this will allow you to perform HIIT.
It will also allow you to build up an acceptable level of metabolic fatigue for some added benefits to power endurance, however be aware that this won’t necessarily take your ability to produce power up, to do that you need to be fully revered and some.
Having so many training options is both a blessing and a cruse.
Due to the popular majority being focused around ‘feeling worked out’ or ‘tired’ it leaves too many people lacking any form of meaningful progress once they get past the point of beginner.
Training is meant to make you stronger, not leave you smaller and more frail each time you push your limits, which is what happens to a lot of people.
There is one easy way around a session that tips you over the point of good stress (eustress) and into the realms of bad stress (distress).
Timing your rest periods.
I know, something so simple it’s as if experts in the field of progress/performance have written about them for years. Oh, wait…
As a general rule these are what typical adaptation common rest periods are linked to:
<60 seconds = aerobic & muscular endurance
120-180 seconds = anaerobic endurance/tolerance & muscular hypertrophy/strength
180 seconds > = ATP-PC power/performance & muscular strength (absolute)
Now this is a very brief and wanting guide, to truly appreciate rest periods you’ll want to put income effort and start your reading journey with the glorious book: SuperTraining.
Under recovering with short rest periods because you want to feel tired will indeed yield that result, however that’s all you’ll get from it because you’ll be unable to repeat productive efforts in your sets.
While aiming to create ‘in-road’ and elicit and oxygen debt is indeed something viable, you must first understand the necessity for rest first and how manipulating rest periods works.
Say you wanted to perform an anaerobic bias training set, what some call ‘metabolic training’, here is what it may look like on paper:
A1 – T-Sprint x 30-50m
A2 – Clean x4
A3 – Push Press x4
A4 – Sled Sprint x20m
A5 – Weighted Pull Up x4
There will be a 15-20 second average transition time between movements
Total rest between series is 4-7min
2-3 total series
Most people will think they can use less rest because they’re special or unique, they are wrong.
In the above example you’d want to rest the length of time that allows you to repeat a series with the same level of effort/output/performance, meaning the first rest might indeed be 4min, the second rest block might be 7min though.
The majority of people need more rest, not less.
Well, if they want to actually make decent progress anyway.
The next time you train take a stop watch with you and stick with your rest periods that your coach (or whomever) has suggested.
If it says 90seconds, that’s what you rest, so you start you next set bang on the 90 second mark, if you feel yourself slowing or in fact lose a rep on a set you’re done, unless otherwise advised by your coach to say drop 10% load of however they’ve set up your program.
Rest as little and as long as you need.
Fellow Trainers & coaches.
Your own experience will influence the way you train others.
We touched on this yesterday, and this is by no means a bad thing however it’s easy to fall in to the trap of giving everyone what you like to program or feel comfortable programming.
Again, while not necessarily a terrible thing, it is 100% a lazy thing.
Don’t get me wrong and think that this never happened my end because it did.
While you can indeed find reasons for falling back on something that is quick and easy to spam out in a program, such as people asking for free advice, when you have paying clients it’s not the most optimal thing to be doing.
Of course we will have various tools/protocols/programs stored in memory that we can draw on and guess what, they will work for a lot of people.
This usually happens because these adhere to some basic and fundamental principles of training.
If you take some time to look at the way people write programs you’ll notice a pattern in what they do.
One of mine is the classic 3-week wave, often varying the lift itself at the end of each micro block, this is because it keeps people consistent because sadly most can’t stick with the same things for too long due to their addiction to social media and the constant need for novel stimulus and dopamine hits.
While variety is a good and sometimes necessary thing, too much of it will not have you getting any form of decent result.
How do we know this?
Look round at people who attend multiple classes or hope from program to program weekly, they may have some degree of fitness however it’s a far cry from where their current potential is.
Now many will jump up an down championing “If it makes them happy leave them to it.” and these people are justified in saying that, however would you really be happy putting in what you feel is a tremendous amount of effort and not getting any real results?
Personally that is madness to me, why put in all that effort for no reward?
That’s like going to work and not getting paid.
You are by no means required to get results from your training/nutrition though, becoming strong, confident and have favourable body composition isn’t something you MUST do, yet if you’re going to put in the effort why not aim for that result?
The choice is yours on that one because that will come down to priorities.
You can train like a demon and do everything that will yield the above, yet you enjoy multiple alcoholic beverages each night so while you may build incredible fitness/strength you may still look like you don’t even train and hey, if you’re cool with that then fair play to you, fill your boots.
Fellow coaches/trainers, do you program based on what is needed of simply what you know and can fall back on easily?
Training ideally wants to focus on these three things:
- Keeping the goal the goal
- Enhancing the participants life
- Making that person better than they currently are (physically & mentally)
To do this we have many tools, these three principles will help you massively though:
- Waviness of load
- Specialised Variety
Feel free to look back on here and you’ll find plenty of programs I’ve thrown up over the years.
You’ll see my biases creeping through, all geared towards strength for the most part and of late gaining maximum benefit with minimum effort, so a high ROI (tertian on investment).
Any questions please leave them below.
Or is it dice now?
Once upon a time die was considered the singular term and dice was plural, however I think now it might just be dice for both singular and plural.
Anyway, this nifty little tool can provide some great training sessions.
All you need to is have one (you can use two, or you just roll one multiple times like a logical person would).
^^ Personally I quite like having two though as there’s nothing better than rolling two of them and getting a double 6.
If you are a person who needs structure yet finds it hard to stick to said structure then this will be a great tool for you.
Simply follow the below:
Set up 6 sessions for each of numbers on the dice.
1 – Clean & Push Press > Pull Up: Super Set
2 – Sprints (any kit)
3 – Deadlift > Kettlebell Swing >Farmers Walk> Floor Press: Giant-set
4 – Slams (any kit – think ropes, med balls, sand bags, etc)
5 – Squats
6 – Front Squat > Squat > Lunge: Ti-set
Next for the sets and reps, as an example.
On the lifting rolls form the above:
First roll (one dice) = reps you will do (1-6)
Second roll (two dice) = sets you will do (2-12)
That’s it, you may get a very easy day, or a very hard one, these don’t include warm ups though.
On the CV option from above:
First roll (one dice) = seconds of work (10-60 seconds)
Second roll (one dice) = seconds of rest (10-60 seconds)
Third roll (two dice) = total amount of rounds (2-12)
Personally I’d only preform one of the example sessions, even if it ended up being something like this:
Squats – 2 sets of 1 rep.
See it as a gift for a low volume session, the temptation would be to avoid doing more because when I’ve prescribed this in the past people have thought they’ve known better and make what would have been a very easy session stupidly hard by doing extra because of ego, then when the dice cast gave them a hard session they couldn’t perform.
Poor performance apparently happens to 1 in 5 you know.
Don’t give in to your ego, train once per day, if you have an easy session today, then train again tomorrow, if that is again super easy, train the day after that as well and keep repeating this until you get a session that takes a lot of effort and then you HAVE to rest for one or two days.
It’s a nice was to have some structure and yet still a good amount of variety because you don’t know what you will roll (unless the dice are weighted), so you could end upsetting the same session a couple of times in a row, unlikely however it might happen.
As you can see the above is super easy to plan/program.
My main advice for you would be this though; have 4 numbers with things you don’t do often and really need to be doing more of, and two that you like doing, this sill help your overall progress because we get better by doing the things we need to do (or don’t do), not what we want to do.
So go grab a die, or dice and have some fun.
P.S – if you’re really sadistic you can use D&D dice.
The clean & press (push press/jerk) is a great movement.
Whether you do it with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, odd objects or people, it yields some great results.
As far as looking for a movement that covers everything, this is pretty damn close to being perfect.
I say close to because you can’t get maximal speed/power like you could with a snatch, nor the raw pressing strength like that of a bench press, or even the leg strength from a squat, you get the idea.
That being said, it’s still epic.
If you have any of these in your list of goals:
– Increase LBM
– Lose Fat
– Increase Athleticism
– Look Cool
Then this is a movement you should be doing in abundance.
These days we have a lot of choice when it comes to training, and while this is great it’s also a problem because the level of results based on the average gym goer have gone down over the years.
Having too many options is the devil.
Back in an almost forgotten time when I would teach classes (well, small groups), the training would be simple, so much so that some used to complain and not come back.
I didn’t miss them, they didn’t have faith int he process and just wanted to have their bis appealed to and their ego stroked.
One thing with training is often the most effective stuff (once you’re past the point of beginner gains) is often a little dull and very repetitive.
To add in all the fancy and flamboyant stuff requires skill.
Not skill in coaching, although that is a necessity in my eyes, it requires skill from the participants in said training because if they can’t keep up then they need to take a step back and start at a level appropriate for them, less the don’t progress.
Anyone who’s worked with large groups will be able to give you lists of what works well and what requires some extra time/attention.
Anywho, back to the C&P.
Here is how you might apply this glorious movement to a three day per week training protocol.
This would yield Fat Loss as the primary function, LBM would be secondary and Strength as a by product.
All C/P variations done with a bar.
Day 1 –
W/U – Kettlebell Swing x15min (5/15 interval)
A1 – Clean & P/P x5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2
B1 – Front Squat x10-8-6-8-10
C/D – Stretching
Day 2 –
W/U – Bear Complex 3-5reps x15min (vary load as needed)
A1 – Clean & Press x1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
A2 – Bent Over Row or Pull Up x6-8
C/D – Stretching
Day 3 –
W/U – Loaded Carry (hug & shoulder, alternate) 20m x15min
A1 – Clean & Jerk x3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1
B1 – Floor Press x4-6×4-6
C/D – Stretching
Rest periods can be kept int he 60-120second mark after each wave, rest only long enough to change the weights int he way or briefly if you are going to keep the load static in a wave.
– 5 > add load, 3 > add load, 2 > add load > rest 120sec
– 5 > 20sec, 3 > 20 sec, 2 > 20sec > add load and rest 90sec
You get the idea.
This is one example, there are many more.
There are endless videos on how to do this, here is one decent one:
(Remember this, if people take the time to give you such time/feedback it’s because they care.)
I’m going to let you in on a secret held closely by those in the fitness industry.
The majority of us have no real clue what we’re doing.
Honestly, in the early days apart from knowing a few basics on from (even that is questionable) when it comes to putting together training programs we’re woefully underprepared.
This is speaking from experience.
Initially what got given to people was nothing more than copies of what had been found in books or learned in passing by those more experienced.
This wasn’t really programming, it was merely getting people to exercise and expend energy.
Don’t get me wrong, for the larger population of gym-goers all they want is to feel like they’ve done something, they care little for the details or even if what they’re doing is optimal for them.
So long as they enjoy it that’s all they care about.
Do you know what, that’s 100% cool because if it keeps people training then it doesn’t really matter if their coach/trainer doesn’t really know what’s going on, so long as the client is happy that’s the priority.
It took me years to really get a good grasp on programming.
Even then there was still a lot of gaps.
Of course, over time a deeper understanding has been gained and now more can be seen in each successful program/protocol that is out there.
Has this improved my ability to coach/plan?
Yep, without a doubt.
Has it been something I will share with my clients?
Nope, most don’t want to know. They just want to be told what to do, how hard to work and that’s it.
Sadly the only people care about the quality and details in training programs are the coaches (and a few unique clients).
Thus you don’t have to be good at the above to do well in fitness, you just have to give the people what they want, a solid business tactic.
One word of warning though, the approach of giving people methods without understanding will only really work on beginners.
This is why you rarely see a PT/Coach in a gym wh works with anyone at the intermediate level or higher (they lack the depth of knowledge to do so), and do you know what, this is a good thing because it’s almost more hassle than it’s worth.
Being someone who has gone through various stages of learning and coaching I can tell you this much, no one really cares how much you know.
No one cares that a decent program can take several hours to write, in fact, most will be just as happy with something you cut & paste from the internet (cookie cutter stuff).
The only person that will ever know is you.
If you want to delve this deep then these three books are good places to start:
– Super Training by Mel C. Siff and Yuri Verkhoshansky
– Periodisation by Tudor Bompa
– The Transfer of Training in Sport by A.P. Bondarchuk
You can also find a lot of great info online for free.
Another gem of a book is Viking Warrior Conditioning by Kenneth Jay.
The choice is yours, my friends.
How much thought do you give to your programming?
Like honestly, how much?
Being someone who’s no longer shiny new in this industry I’ve given quite some extensive time and thought to programming over the years.
In doing so I’ve seen some rather interesting patterns.
Today I’d like to touch on a few of them.
All of which I’d seen in literally one of the first books I read.
I know right, it took almost 2 decades before all the pieces began to click in to place and these random (not really random) numbers made sense.
Up until this point most of the programs I’d done were largely copies of what successful protocols cropped up.
While the numbers I’d give people made sense, if I was truly asked why I could probably give at least 60% of the full answer, however the rest was still a little ambiguous.
Anyway, hopefully this info will help you learn faster than I did.
That is if you’re will to learn.
– Total Volume (weekly/monthly % of total lifts)
– Waviness of Loads
– Same yet Different (exercise transference)
We shall start with the last point as it’s the easiest to grasp.
You pick movements that are similar enough to allow progress yet different enough to avoid overuse injury.
I know, very simple and once you base your training programs on movement patterns (needs) you’ll never be stuck on exercise selection.
If you only program based on exercise then you’ll be stuck in the realm of frustration.
Example: Front Squat > Squat > SBBS > Hack Squat
^^ All the same yet different that allow you to progress, working these in 2-3 week blocks is good. You can do more if you choose however that will differ based on the goal/needs of the client.
Next up Waviness of Loads, also called loading variability or periodisation.
Put simply you use different % of your max to avoid overuse/stagnation. That said there is more to it.
You could keep the load the same and play with the effort of the set based on the RM (repetition max) or vary the relative intensity (% of RM compared to 1RM)
Example: Set effort with static RM.
Say your 10RM is 100kg, meaning that is 100% effort and you’d only be able to do one set at that weight with that amount of reps for the day.
You can take 3 rep ranges and translate these to Heavy-Light-Medium days, like this:
H: 7-9reps, w/10RM loading
L: 1-3reps, w/10RM loading
M: 4-6reps, w/10RM loading
The load stays static, you can plan days with higher effort/intensity levels which might have lower total sets/volume and others that have low reps and all the sets.
While the load is the same the result/stimulus you’d get would be different, yet similar (one you can focus on form and acceleration with low fatigue, the other TUT and mental toughness).
This is one methods of playing with the programs loading, or at least how it feels and how often you can repeat effort with heavier loads.
Second option –
Example: Using 85% of your 5RM (which is 85% 1RM)
Relative intensity ^^ that is what this is.
Most see 5x5x85% 1RM written and this is actually not quite right because if 85% of your 1RM is the weight you can do for 5 reps (5RM) once then you’ll have no chance of doing it for 5 sets.
Instead we take 85% of our 5RM and start there.
If your 5RM, 85% 1RM is 100kg, then you’d take 85% of that which would be 85kg which is about 70% of our fictional 1RM.
This will give you room to progress eat week by adding load, as one option of progress.
In your programs you can use the above to vary the loading in a logical fashion.
(If you like numbers then relative intensity is for you, if not then playing with the effort % of a set in the H-L-M format will be better).
Right, now for the tricky one – Total Volume & weekly/monthly % of total lifts.
This is the real tricky one to grasp.
There are 4 numbers to remember for breaking down your total monthly volume in to weekly needs: 15/22/28/35.
These numbers are % of total volume based on each week.
If we have say 200 total reps you wish to achieve in a specific lift for that month, say the squat, here is how it would look:
* On week 15% of 200 = 30
* On week 2 28% of 200 = 56
* On week 3 35% of 200 = 70
* On week 4 22% of 200 = 44
^^ So now you know how many reps to do each week.
Up next is how many sessions per week – 3 is good.
You breakdown your total weekly volume in to each session like this:
Week 1 % of weekly volume –
* Day #1 is say 33%
* Day #2 can be 25%
* Day #3 on the last day you put the remaining 42%
Week 1 reps per session –
* Day #1 – 10 reps
* Day #2 – 7 reps
* Day #3 – 13 reps
^^ add them up and you get your 30 total reps.
(This is without planning sets/reps/loads, which you can use the above info for your required lift)
After month one you may want to increase the total volume as that might be your focus of progress while keeping the lads the same (say 10RM example from above), if so add 10-20% total volume – it means you need to reestablish the monthly/weekly numbers and also sets/reps etc however that’s programming folks.
There you have it, programming in a rather tough nutshell.
I know, it’s quite a lot to consider and this doesn’t even take in to account accessory work, recovery needs, CV or a great many other things you need to be mindful of.
This is where you’ll find a good program takes time to write, especially if it’s truly a personalised one.
You might have seen I pop up generic programs/protocols for free rather often and while they all work they’ll only really be good for beginners, if you wanted one to consider the above you’d be paying a hefty fee, lol.
Anyway, there you have it, how programming actually works.
If you have a trainer you’d hope that they know the above.
If you are the trainer then I hope you know the above.
Fee free to pop any questions below.