Everything you need to know to start writing training programs

How to Dominate Your Program Design

As coaches, we all have to write programs.

But if you’re anything like me, I didn’t really learn the “rules” of program design, even with six years of higher education.

And perhaps most importantly, what I did learn never really held up when it came to start writing real programs that worked!

In this article, we’re going to talk about the specific variables you have at your disposal to dominate your program design.

Whether your train high level athletes or fat loss clients, once you understand the underlying principles and physiology of program design, every program you write will immediately become clearer and more effective.

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Training Clients vs Coaching Clients

Training Clients vs Coaching Clients

What is the difference between a trainer and a coach? The two terms are often used interchangeably, although perhaps “trainers” are often associated with “personal training,” while “coaches” might be associated with sports teams.

Dictionaries often conflate the two, as well. In fact, they are used to define each other. A “coach” is “someone who trains or directs athletes,” while a “trainer” is “one who trains, especially who coaches athletes….”

But in my mind, I find myself drawing a subtle distinction between the two.

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The Nervous System

The Nervous System

If you’re going to understand movement, the brain and nervous system are the king!

They’re also dense, dense topics that only get heavier when you dive in further.

Because of this, Brandon has given you as brief an overview as possible (just the stuff we think that trainers should understand). And he’s broken it up into two different parts to make it more digestable.

In the first video, we go through the “nuts and bolt” of the nervous system.

  • Basic neuroanatomy
  • How neurons communicate with one another
  • Circuitry that allows multiple neurons to perform complex tasks
  • Sensory motor integration
  • How the nervous system uses predictions to produce movement

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Writing a Program for a New Powerlifting Client

Writing a Program for a New Powerlifting Client

This month, Lance shows you the assessment results of a new client and writes her first program with you right there by his side. This post will help you get an idea about

  • How we structure our movement assessments
  • How that translates into a program
  • Where we want to head next with this client

The overwhelming majority of you have said that you enjoy the case studies, so here’s another!

For reference, here’s a video of her back squat.

You can learn more about the reset exercises chosen for this client at a Postural Restoration Institute® course | www.posturalrestoration.com.

How Many Times a Week Should Your Clients Workout?

Everyone wants to know how often they want to work out. Do you tell all of your clients the same answer?

In this video, Mike takes you through this foundational topic of programming. What exactly is training frequency? What dictates the optimal amount of times to work out each week?

He even adds in a few example programs for you to take home and ponder immediately.

For related videos, check out our intro programming course.
Intro to Writing Training Programs

For further reading, look no further than the manual of training science, “Supertraining”.

When “Speed Work” Isn’t Making You Faster

Rest periods might be the most underrated component of any program. Clients tend not to realize how important it is that they take a certain amount of time resting between exercises, and it’s easy for coaches to let it slide.

And if you remember nothing else from IFAST University, you remember this:

Improper rest periods completely undermine your speed work.

In this video, Mike takes you through this foundational topic of programming. What exactly is a rest period? What dictates the optimal amount of time to rest between exercises?

Walk away with the 4 ranges of rest time that correspond to a specific training adaptation to make sure your athletes who need strength are actually getting stronger.

For related videos, check out our intro programming course.
Intro to Writing Training Programs

For further reading, look no further than the manual of training science, “Supertraining”.

Moving Motor Morons

Have you ever worked with a client who seemed to not understand a single word you were saying?

“Lay down on your side.”
**Lays down on back**

Seriously. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, you just wait. You’ll be so taken aback.

IFAST coach Jae Chung is familiar with these scenarios, and as our resident coaching expert, we’ve decided to bring him in to talk about

  • The kinds of problems you will run into with these clients
  • How to have empathy for these kinds of clients
  • How to coach these clients more effectively

Coaching these people can be frustrating. To be blunt, it is difficult. Use some of Jae’s wisdom to help you through these tough scenarios.

Mirroring Clients

If your clients are going to listen to you, you need them to trust you. You build trust by building rapport.

There are many ways to do this, but one of the simplest ways is mirroring.

In this video, IFAST coach Jae Chung addresses

  • What is mirroring?
  • Why do people do it?
  • How can I do it if I’m not good at it?
  • What to do if this feels weird and unnatural

That last bullet is, honestly, the most difficult part of mirroring your clients. Being too aware of it makes you look weird.

Treat it just like training: gradually increase volume and intensity over time.

Post-Activation Potentiation: Using our physiology to enhance training

Post-Activation Potentiation

Big words, simple concept: post-activation potentiation is simply the extra neural drive you get after doing a heavy set.

In this video, Ty dives into this tricky training method, showing you how to use it to maximize power development for your athletes.

And, to be honest, even the weekend warrior type of client gets a kick out of this!

For related videos, check out our intro to ex phys course.
Intro to Exercise Physiology

Building an Off-Season Training Program

Building an Off-Season Training Program

Once you understand the X’s and O’s of training, the next step is understanding how to put the pieces together across multiple training blocks.

In this video, Mike outlines how he links together multiple training cycles to ensure a smooth transition for his athletes. Whether your goal is to better understand progressions and regressions, loading cycles, or how to periodize your energy systems training, it’s all covered in this video!