Program Design. Evolving vs. Structured for regular clients.
When you are training a client 2-3 times a week, how do you find the right balance between a structured and predictable program vs. a new challenging workout every time. I want my clients to make measurable progress, but I also want to keep my clients guessing and teaching them new things. Clients want to see progress, but that often involves a lot of repetition with certain exercises, but if you are always doing the same thing, your are not really doing a good job of challenging your clients. Any tips?
What I do is I keep one day for guessing when I teach my client how to perform some new moves, use new equipment. And two other days we are doing predictable routine. I still vary but I don't give completely new exercises during these two days.
During this one 'unpredictable' day I might keep some parts of the routine as usual - like warm up or abs work, but 30 min out of the training will be completely new.
But it doesn't work with everyone though. I have few clients who are uncoordinated or have very stressful work and they prefer to keep it simple and don't mind to do same things all the time (with certain progression). So I think this is very individual. But if you feel like your clients wouldn't mind to vary the training don't give them all at once. start slowly especially if you are using new equipment that requires a bit of time to get used to (like TRX or kettle bell for example).
This is in line with the SAID principle. Imagine if a person who is training for a specific sport did not have structure--let's say a sprinter. There needs to be a measure of predictability if one has a specific goal.
One has to also take into consideration the individual's learning curve. It may mean that you have to linger in a certain program until the individual has learned how to execute the movements effectively. The individual may be new to exercise and may need to hang out in "predictable/structured" program before you can mix things up.
Hope this helps.
That being said however, a lot depends on the type of training that I'm doing as well. For example, if I'm working with one of my athletes, repetition and progression via repetition is a MUST. Certain sports performance skills such as proper deceleration only comes from repetition and building a sound foundation of the basics. Even when I'm repeating certain skill, exercises and drills, I ALWAYS introduce new things for my clients (both athletes and non-athletes) in EVERY training session. My clients look forward to this "surprise" each session and I'm careful to plan those new exercises as a way to build on what they are currently learning through repetition. A good example of what I mean is let's say I am working on learning the basics of deceleration training with a girl athlete, I may at the end of training play a game of tag with her (lots of agility, cutting, stopping and deceleration training/reinforcement going on there, all in the disguise of a game).
I hope that this helps.
I always mix things up
From a psychological point of view, once our client starts getting bored, it's very difficult to get them going again
Keep them "guessing" by adding new options each time.
It can be as simple as putting a ball toss in between the cardio segment. But always have fresh ideas
I believe u ALWAYS address the goal/s. If they r new 2 u or fitness, establish a firm foundation w/structure/repetition. Ur watchful professional eye/awareness should key u 2 when some type of modification should b made to the program (partial/entirely).
@ three sessions a wk u can utilze a bit more variety especially w/the average client as long as the program is goal sensitive. This can allow 4 a learning curve 4 both u & them.
@ two sessions or less a wk, I want 2 establish n them the sense of quality work.
They have X amount of other days 2 wrk on these things 4 self b4 I introduce anything more advanced.
Think FREQUENCY - INTENSITY - TEMPO - TYPE (of training)
This is where most of us may differ. I believe this to be a personal judgement call.
I utilize a bit more structure in overall program design w/athletes cause that's what they do & results need to be measurable.
My goal is advance them, not keep them dependent on me. This is where my difference n quality of programing comes n. If they look good and do good, SO DO U!!!
Usually get someone onto starting strength to simply give them a foundation. Most people we find ourselves working with are extremely de-conditioned. Simple routine is the safest and best way to get them used to a program.
The programs I run are always structured, but I aim to put them on a steady upward slope.
My workouts are always evolving. Depending on the client's needs and goals as well the time they have available, I'll design a program that it will constantly change and evolve. I'll throw new variables in their training (tires, kettlebells, ropes, etc.) and also change the terrain where they workout (hills, grass, sand, indoor/outdoor, urban or open field, etc.). I never tell them where they will be working out till the day before. Sometimes it involves a lot of running and other times it doesn't. It's always tailored to their goals and at the same time they'll get a lot of exposure to many different methods of training...never a dull moment.