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!