As a new trainer I’m reading a ton of different books and articles on creating workouts and programming and different ways trainers create their workouts and programs for clients. With each one I get caught up in it and feel mine should be created that way, when instead I strive to build confidence in my own workouts and how I would initially plan a program. My question is how did you (more established trainers) come into your own in planning your clients programming?
Welcome to the industry!
Program design is a true art and science of personal training. It is what will ultimately determine the amount of success your clients achieve. You got some pretty great suggestions from our fellow IDEA members.
Here are my helpful hints:
1) Have an exercise library readily available, whether in the form of a book, dvd, chart, social media or even via YouTube. This is a great start for a new trainer as it gives you a source to always go to if you need an exercise for a certain muscle group. Over time, and as you garner experience, you’ll rely less on this library and just know what to do.
2) Have a way of keeping track of clients’ workouts. You can only play the ‘freestyle game’ so long. I fell into that habit early on in my training career. I used to train clients by guessing my way around the gym and just doing whatever came to mind. While this can still be helpful, it won’t give you an idea of how much progress your client is making. You should and must record reps, sets, and loads of your clients every session. There are a plethora of forms, charts and apps that have easily, usable workout sheets. I currently use an app called ‘The Workout Journal’ on my iPad. It allows for creating client profiles, assessments and well-presented columns for plugging in reps, sets and loads.
3).Finally, like Frank said above, you should find a way to progress workouts between days, weeks and/or months. Linear periodization is the most commonly used method for progression because it calls for weekly increments of intensity over at least 3 weeks followed by a week of De-load.
A great book you can pick up is ‘Program Design For Personal Trainers – Bridging Theory Into Application’ by Douglas S. Brooks, MS.
Good luck and keep up the good work!
PTonthenet has some good programming tools. An exercise library, which you can add to, and then build a workout plan for your client with as much or as little detail as you want, then email to client.
They have quite a few templates of basic workouts. When I was newer at training, I used several of these, then customized them for individual clients.
experience really plays a big role, and there is nothing wrong with starting with workouts from books as long as they are appropriate for a client.
Once you are comfortable with assessing clients and discussing their goals, you will find that the choice of exercises easily derives from there. One of the things I have as a principle is to make sure that the client can be successful with the exercises I choose. Particularly people who are new to exercise often lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. I remind them that the assessment is there to detect weaknesses to make sure that the exercise programming can be safe. It is not a character test. The exercise programming initially should build confidence and establish a base of motor skills.
You will soon come into our own and move away from books once you have been working with a few clients.
Good luck and success.
Thank you all for your responses! I think that’s so true, it will come with experience and I’m just anxious to get there. I feel I should be an expert on it all when in reality I have been training clients for under 3 months.
I’m certainly feeling more confidant in reading a client and designing something they will like and have the ability to be good at put be pushed as well.
Always make sure that you’re doing more progressing of exercises then regression, that way the client is creating mastery of such said exercise. Also knowing what the clients goals are can help steer you in exercise selection when programming. All the reading in the world wont help unless you start putting some of these theories into practice. Do what you feel confident in the “Tell, Show, Do” when training your client. Keep them safe, sweaty and happy!