Lets talk Programming Part 1

I have been receiving lots of questions regarding programming, especially when it comes to group training. This really could be an entire book. Actually there are hundreds text books and thousands of research papers written on strength and conditioning programming . Unfortunately, muscle confusion and random acts of exercise are the buzz. I am not saying we don’t need variety and tons of different movements, but it seems that this whole thing of wanting to be surprised with each workout is more of a selling tool than anything based in science.  Another thing that really throws things off is the increased popularity of group training. In many situations kettlebell classes and other forms of group training end up turning into bootcamp style circuit training classes. Having said that, there is nothing really wrong with bootcamps or conditioning classes, but if you are telling people that they will become stronger, these types of classes will eventually lose benefit. Sure they will be fun but what is the goal? Think about it for a second……….. what is the goal? What is trying to be achieved with the classes being offered. Only when this question is answered, can programming even start to happen. I know at Evolution Fitness our motto is “Tucson’s School of Strength”. So if I am making this my statement, I better foster programs that make this happen. Its not to say that conditioning, flexibility, and endurance are not also occurring, but how are we programming strength. Here is why I talk about strength so much. Bottom line, strength trumps conditioning . I was recently at an event where a young woman that runs marathons was amongst the group. I bet her conditioning was pretty darn good. Yet when we were tossing an 8lb Medicine ball around she was knocked of balance consistently and when called upon to throw it, the ball barely stayed afloat. I actually felt sorry for her. I could talk about lots of other things here as an example but I will move on.

So how do you program strength in a group setting? Well the answer…… the same way you program strength in the one on one setting. So where is the confusion? Well here is my experience with it. Strength takes practice, workouts are like practicing any skill. There is no muscle confusion. There is progression, and many of the workouts can be very similar in nature. So how is a trainer supposed to compete and sell groups that aren’t always different. Clients do have the tendency to roll their eyes and go….“ughhh we are squatting again”,  plus it is a great pitch to say, we make workouts fun!, you will never know what type of workout you are walking into. We will be so creative with your workouts that your body will never know what’s coming. You will be so challenged. Lets just get it out there right now.  Any idiot can make a workout hard it doesn’t mean it is effective.

The next biggest obstacle is women (mostly women buy training), will flip out with the word strength and say something crazy like, I don’t want to get bulky. If you have followed my blog you know how I feel about that, not need to repeat here.

So it really boils down to what is your philosophy and are you willing to sell it. I mean really sell it. When people sit across from me in a consult I break it down for them up front. It goes something like ” We will help you move better than you have in your entire life, and feel like you can take on a honey badger in brawl:-) Seriously we tell people our goal is to make people become strong. You want to sell it more. Tell them that sarcopeniais why people age so horribly. Loss of strength and power is one of the biggest reasons nursing homes are so busy. Endurance cycling, aerobics, running long distances, and random acts of exercise won’t prevent that.

To be continued…How we program at Evolution Fitness……………………………..

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