Keys to Programming
Yesterday we filmed a Q&A Podcast with The Barbell Life, and a lot of questions were regarding programming. As a strength & conditioning/weightlifting coach that is one of my favorite topics. Basically I use a few principles to guide me, and then it’s trial and error to find out what works best for each athlete. Today I want to go over a few of those guiding principles that we use with our team.
Programming is a coach’s art that is guided by some scientific principles. Each athlete is a new canvas to create a new piece of art. No two athletes are the same. They might be similar, but they are never the same. You will start with a well thought out base program, and then adjust from there.
We are getting ready for the American Open. Of course we are sending a full team of men and women, so to fund the trip I developed a new E-Book called “Mash Elite Program Sampler” (Check it out here: ⇒ Mash Elite Program Sampler).
Now I am going to use the 8 Programs in this book to explain the artistic approach to programming.
1. What sport are you programming for? In the book there are 3 weightlifting programs, 1 powerlifting program, 1 hybrid super total program, 1 Athletic Performance Program, 1 Speed Development Program, and 1 Functional & Metabolic Fitness Program.
This sounds like common sense, but a lot of coaches like to program for their personal goals and not the athletes. That’s a bad coach. Our goal has to be to help the athlete reach whatever goals they want. If you don’t feel comfortable programming for those goals, then send them to someone that will.
2. Start them out with a base program filled with some solid principles. You could use any of the programs in this book to help athletes reach their goals. It’s filled with the following principles:
• Daily Undulating Periodization- simply put instead of starting with hypertrophy and working to absolute strength over 8-12 weeks, we are working on all aspects during the program where the sets and reps are concerned. However the focus shifts from a hypertrophy focus to an absolute strength focus while keeping aspects of each during the entire program. Louie Simmons has been talking about this for years.
• Accessory work to target weaknesses. Of course I don’t know the exact weaknesses of your athletes, but I have targeted the common weaknesses with all of these programs like scapula stabilization, posterior chain, healthy hips, and a functionally fit core.
• Stick to the movements that are most important- Dan John really plowed this in my head during our last podcast. I put this principle to work with Cade Carney, starting running back for Wake Forest. We only had five weeks to prep him for his transition from high school to college. We focused on the clean, squat, a push, and a pull. We threw in some plyometrics and speed training, and the results were phenomenal. In five weeks his clean went up 70lb and squat over 100lb of course he was fresh off his high school football season. Still those were the best results that I have ever seen. Cade’s entire program is in the book.
3. Once you have tried a base program take note of the results. A. Did the person improve? If so, add a little overall volume, switch a few things up, but stay with that type of program. B. Did the person breeze through the program physically, but didn’t see results? If so, take the volume quite a bit higher, and try again. I call these people hard gainers. C. Did the program crush the athlete physically and emotionally, and they received little to no gains? If so, take the volume way down, and try again.
You will find that 99% of all people will fall within one of these three categories. Once you nail them down, I suggest staying with that type of program until that stops working. Then the process starts all over again.
These are some principles that all of you can apply right away. Over time you will start to understand your athletes. Then you can program even more specifically. Like I know that Tom Summa needs lots of volume to get his legs strong. His technique is solid, but we beat him up to get him strong. One of our powerlifters Malcolm Moses-Hampton needs frequency. The more comfortable that he feels with the movement allows him to lift more and more weight.
I want all of you to know that we appreciate your support. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcast, or watch our videos, we appreciate each and every one of you. Our goal remains to provide our athletes with a situation to reach their goals. My number one way of doing that is providing all of you with quality products that can make your training or coaching a little better.
The “Mash Elite Program Sampler” is one of those products. For only $29 you will receive 8 Programs that I have used and still use to make my athletes incredible. I hope that you will enjoy it, and I hope that you know that your purchase is appreciated. It’s also helping Olympic hopeful athletes reach their ultimate dream.
Thank You from all of us at Mash Elite Performance and Mash Mafia Weightlifting and Powerlifting!
The “Mash Elite Program Sampler” is 8 Complete Programs (3 weightlifting, 1 powerlifting, 1 hybrid super total, 1 athletic performance, 1 speed development, and 1 functional and metabolic fitness). This book is for you! All proceeds will go towards helping our team get to the American Open and take one step closer to their Olympic Dream. Check it out now: