Programme Design Tips

Programme design can seem pretty complicated at times. Here are my top programme design tips.

1. Training Purpose - establish your training purpose. Always start with the end in mind and then work backwards.

2. Goal Setting - write down your goals (outcome, performance, process) and make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Timed).

3. Needs Analysis - figure out where you are starting from. Complete your needs analysis covering the five key areas: lifestyle, fitness, health, injury and performance.

4. Track Progress - decide what monitoring tools you are going to use to track your rate of change and adaptation (training diary, load lifted, time to complete 5km etc).

5. Structured Programme - develop a structured periodised programme that divides your training into manageable phases. This will be the blueprint that you'll work from.

When working on your plan, you will need to answer the following questions:

What is your training availability - how often can you actually train?

What volume of training can you complete, based on your training availability?

What type of training will you be completing during each training phase?

6. Workout Planning - start to plan your workouts. For each workout, you will need to manipulate the following training variables:

- Repetitions - Adjusting the repetitions for a given exercise can be a very powerful stimulus that will boost your training adaptations.

- Sets - Inverse relationships exist between sets and reps as well as sets and the number of exercises that can be completed during a workout.

- Load - How much weight you lift will dictate the speed of movement (tempo) and force production, both of which impact on specific performance outcomes. Typically, there is an inverse relationship between load and repetitions (high load - low reps , low load - high reps).

- Speed of movement - Always programme with 'specificity' in mind to achieve specific training outcomes.

- Recovery - Your ability to recover between sets is linked to 'available energy'. Once the 'tanks' are empty you can't continue, and to optimise performance, recovery times need to be carefully programmed.

- Exercise selection - Select the most appropriate exercise, taking into account the level of functionality and how it relates to the performance outcome that you want to achieve.

- Exercise sequence - Programme the highest priority exercises and the most complex exercises early in the training session.

If you would like to learn more about programme design, take a look at my best selling book, The Strength and Conditioning Bible or sign up for my online course.