Masting Your Craft: Programming

Programing: Do Your Work

    If you have read the last post you know that time in the sport of weightlifting or powerlifting or bodybuilding is the best way to gain knowledge or skill.  So unless you have been a highly competitive coach or in this case as an athlete for a minimum of five years or have obtained a masters in kinesiology or strength & conditioning do not argue or debate programming.  Your time will be better spent focusing on your weaknesses.  These are easy to find if you know how to look for them. If your clean and your front squat max a within 30 pounds of each other strength might be your weakness that needs attention.  You can get even more specific.  If you can squat heavier than your deadlift then pulling power needs to be addressed, through strengthening the posterior chain via any number of methods. Finding a coach or programmer who is right for you might be the biggest trick.  

    Lets say that you are someone who needs extra hamstring and lower back work.  Your primary focus is finding a coach or programmer who puts extra focus or work into things like deadlifts, reverse hypers, RDL’s, and even hamstring curls. The reason being that your biggest limitation will not improve it is not addressed. In this scenario if your strength work is heavy squats, and presses then how will you ever gain the strength needed to pull the bar off the ground. There are a couple of ways you can master your programming. 

    The first way to master your programming is to be attentive and thoughtful when picking whatever program it is that your going to follow. Follow whom ever you feel makes the most sense to you, for you, today the options are almost literally endless.  That does not mean pick any old person, you need to evaluate their philosophy and if it fits your needs. So if the programing (exercise selection, volume or load) are not in your control what is.  

    After you pick your program the next step to drive you towards success is being able to communicate with your coach. Having an open and free flowing line of communication with your coach is key to adjusting and Communication with the programer is crucial.  Lets say that you get injured (in or out of the gym), under recovered or overtrained, or simply don't have access to equipment needed you must let them know so they may correct the program for a day or week or month to allow you to get the most out of the program. But in order for your information you give the programer to be accurate you must do your due diligence and actually do the program, not part of it, not the pieces you like, but all of it.  It is all written for a reason.  So to perfect your program, you must actually follow one for a substantial amount of time (six months to a year), and let your coach or programmer know when issues arise. 

    Make sure that you check with your coach on what to do in the inevitable case that the occasional workout will be missed or need to be shortened to ensure the most optimal training session possible. They may instruct you to focus on the secondary and accessory work if that is where your improvement needs the most focus.  They may tell you to lower the percentages or volume for the day.  What ever it is that they tell you to do, do it.  For you to master your programing you must do the program plain and simple.  After every block, cycle or mesocycle you need to inform your coach on what you felt helped the most, what hurts, what feels good. This way the following program can build on the last program. 

Do Your Work

  • Choose your program based on your needs, not your strengths
  • Do the program (all of it not part of it or the parts you like) 
  • Communicate with your coach to keep them informed on how training is going
  • Only adjust your program when necessary only if your coach knows
  • At the end of a mesocycle touch base to make sure you are on track.
  • Do Your Work everyday
  • Master your craft