Friday, January 4, 2013

Making People Better at Stuff

I write a lot of training programs for friends of, a lot of programs. Currently, there are roughly 15 people participating in programs that I've written. Just this past weekend I wrote 8 one-month programs for a pretty wide variety of people. Why am I writing all these programs? Well, it's sure not for the money since no one is paying me for them.

I don't ask anyone for money because I treat this as my opportunity to get better at writing programs. I get to see whats getting what results, what people like and what people hate. The whole group of people that I'm writing for are either trainers or athletes of some kind. They are also all very compliant and willing to do just about anything I tell them to. 

I've got a guy who is getting ready for rugby who has had the mobility of a picnic table. Kelsi is going to be running every day for a year, while training for a half-marathon and needs to keep up her strength and mobility and stay injury. Another friend is coming back from a SLAP tear and needs to get ready for her rugby season. A couple of buddies of mine made the New England team for the newly formed Premier Volleyball League, an up and coming pro volleyball league. Two friends are getting ready for their wedding next year, and another buddy is concurrently training to run a 3:30 marathon and deadlift 405 pounds in the same week. Add to that some people who just want to get absurdly strong and/or lean, and you have the motley crew of people that I'm writing for!

The interesting thing is that the programs I'm writing for these people aren't all that different. They all focus on the same things (movement quality and strength) with different shadings for different people. 

The mobility work for these programs is pretty simple (with the exception of the one guy). Lengthen the hip flexors and activate the glutes. Loosen the anterior shoulder capsule and strengthen the back while fixing the T-spine. I've got a good grasp on the mobility stuff but I'm certainly not doing anything special. Here's a peek at one of my more mobility-intense programs...This first tri-set comes AFTER a full warm-up of SMR and dynamic stretching. 

(p.s. if anyone has a cool program template they'd like to share with me, I'd love to see it. I've been writing everything using a shitty word template and I think it sucks balls and looks like dogshit!)

Every single program I'm writing is starting off with a CNS activation exercise: box jumps, broad jumps, MB slams, MB shot put, somersaults, etc. These are short and sweet; the idea is simply to fire up their nervous system and get them ready to perform.

Since I've become obsessed with Olympic lifting lately, it's showing up into my programs. Damn near everyone has some sort of Olympic lift variation in their program. Since most of these people are (unfortunately) not lifting at a cool gym with bumper plates, the exercises I'm going with are hang high pulls for both the clean and the snatch. It gets them into triple extension with a loaded barbell, so I'm happy with it. There will be some heavy pulls off the floor coming for some of them soon too. 

During the strength portion of their lift, they are all doing the normal pushes and pulls for upper and lower. A lot of people are opting for 3-day programs right now which leaves one dedicated lower body day, one upper body day and one total body day. I place an emphasis on the lower body lifts, and decide if the athlete needs to focus more on their deadlift or squat: whichever lift I deem more important get's it's own day and the other one goes on the total-body day. I'm also prescribing a metric shit ton of tempo to lifts right now; 31X0 seems to be the most common, but I'm known to throw in a 5-second eccentric now and then. 

It's also funny to see which exercises I'm currently enamored with: the front squat, close grip bench, 45-degree back extension, rear foot elevated split squat iso, resistance band Pallof press iso, RKC plank and batwing row are all getting a TON of love in programs I'm writing. 

I don't prescribe a ton of core-work; I just don't find it necessary. I usually write in 2-3 dedicated core exercises per month, and they are anti-extension and anti-rotation. If I write in a third one, it's a flexion based exercise along the lines of MB slams, reverse crunches or hanging knees-to-elbows. I include a ton of extra core work in each program by using the goblet position and offset loaded exercises a shit-ton. 

There's really not a ton of variability in my programs, with good reason: it's what I think works. When someone is in the gym doing my program, they should be able to recognize that someone else is doing one of my programs as well. Mostly because they will notice that the other person is also a savagely awesome Alpha. 

That's it for today. If you have any questions, please let me know! Have a great day and go lift something heavy!

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