I experienced an unfortunate revelation recently: my programming (especially for myself) was terrible! It wasn’t a matter of poor exercise selection, unbalanced training, or any real shortcoming in my individual workout prescriptions (for the most part), but there was a much bigger, overarching principal that I had failed to acknowledge.
I’d been so wrapped up in movement quality and skill progressions that, while I was teaching clients to move well and get results in the short term, there was very little in terms of a long-term program. I just hadn’t figured out how to make it work yet; how to integrate all of the elements I felt were important in a way that made sense.
Embarrassing as it is, with only a few years in the industry, it’s probably not the last hard lesson I’ll learn; but we don’t have to all make the same mistakes to learn from them. If, like me, you’ve had to piece together the strength and conditioning game through your own research with little available influence from high level coaches (not trying to make excuses), then hopefully this will give you a little boost up.
Yeah, having a solid plan is pretty damn important. Without some sort of logical framework to build your training on and some idea of how things should progress, results are going to be hard to come by. Sure, you might make good progress in the short term, as I did, but eventually those “noob gains” will run dry, and your haphazard excuse for a program will stop yielding that sweet, sweet performance. Besides, imagine how quickly you would progress as a beginner on a solid program? (Hint: VERY quickly.)
For any good coaches and trainers out there, the lesson here is probably an obvious one. For the average gym-goer or casual athlete, however, this may be a wake-up call. I know plenty of people who come to the gym and just do “whatever”, or who come in and ask me what to do for their workouts, and that’s no way to make progress.
As an exercise in understanding program design, and a program-selection opportunity for you, I’ll make a post in the near future discussing various popular training programs that are available online. I will also include a little primer on some of the major principles involved in program design so you can better understand why these programs are set up the way they are.
Lesson learned on not having a good program. Now, let’s go deeper.