Should One Always Stick to the Program?

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Should One Always Stick to the Program?

Programming is scientific based art form. There are scientific principles out there, and hopefully your coach uses those principles to construct the perfect program for you. It’s an art form because everyone is different. Some athletes need more volume than others, and some need less. A coach should always take into consideration: age, training age, gender, and current athletic ability. There are more, but at least these things should be considered.

Today’s article isn’t about programming. I just want to show that a lot goes into a program. I enjoy creating programs, and I love it when a program works well. It’s my art form.

However, I am probably going to go against the grain when I tell you that I am ok with you going off the script. Programs are just an outline. I believe that athletes should stick to their program 90% of the time, but there are times to vary. A program normally doesn’t take into consideration biofeedback. Everyone has monthly cycles where their endocrine system is either high or low. I might have programmed a 85% Clean & Jerk, but the athlete is feeling like a hundred bucks. At that point, it’s ok to test things out.


Here’s the dangerous part in what I am saying. Some people will lie to themselves, and they will go off the script on the daily. That is a terrible idea. Most programs are designed with an average biofeedback day in mind, so most sets and reps should be attainable on a bad day.

What I am saying goes both ways. If a program calls for a max out day, and the athlete is feeling terrible. It’s probably a good idea to back off that day. There are a few simple ways that an athlete can test to see where their biorhythms are for the day like: a vertical leap, grip test, or bar speed. The key is tracking the test over several weeks to get a baseline. Let’s use vertical leap as an example.

If your vertical leap is 30 inches max, you should jump within a couple of inches of that number on any given day. However, if you come in and test under 82.5% of your best, consider taking a recovery day or lower percentages. Most advanced athletes will start to understand their bodies over time, but the question is will they listen to their body.

As the coach, I am able to tell when an athlete is firing on all cylinders. If the bar is moving fast, then I will give them a green light. If they are looking beat up and slow, I will cut the daily volume and focus will shift to recovery. This is when the real magic of training happens. The hard part is listening to your body and trusting the process.

When people have terrible days, they normally freak out and think the world is ending. The truth is that the training is working at that point. The whole point is to break the body down, let it build back up, and then it really gets strong. It’s a simple process that has to be trusted.

I have seen so many coaches and athletes that believed in sticking to the plan no matter what. Why? I mean why fight the body? The key is to work with the body not against it. Today is max out Friday at the compound. Some athletes have complexes today. However if they are looking crisp, I will shift things to a true max out day. Then again, if they are looking slow and beat up, we will cut it early and maybe do some sled pulls and mobility work.

I hope this helps. We are hoping to pass on tools like this to our affiliates. Today we are opening up the affiliate program for new affiliates. We are excited to offer:

Level 1
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