When constructing programs for clients there are many factors that go into making it unique, individualised and programmed in a way that is the most efficient way of getting results.
Whilst each individual person requires certain differences. Everyone’s hip mobility, habits and previous exercise history is different. Goals aren’t the same and neither is their strength.
Whilst there are so many variables from person to person the following hold true for everyone not making progress with their gym efforts.
The following are 7 principles I feel let the majority of people down from seeing the results in the gym they crave. They are in no particular order, so here goes.
Sticking to the same exercises for too long
I often see people switch exercises way too quickly. Jumping one type of exercise to the other. Instead. Just progress the current exercise as far as you can. Let’s take a squat for example.
Box Squat → Bodyweight squat → Goblet Squat → Front Squat → Double KB Front Squat → 1.5 Front Squat → Staggered Squat
(You don’t need to know what these exercises are) but the goal is to progress each week and build on the last, not switch things up so often you’re not actually progressing or even knowing if you’re progressing.
You complete the same routine over and over and over again
Done the same plan for a number of years now? Perhaps it’s the same program the fitness instructor gave you when you first joined the gun as part of the gym induction.
The usual 20 mins cross trainer, a few leg presses and the addiction machine. It’s the same for everyone.
After a while, the stimulus is gone. No longer will you make progress as your body doesn’t need to adapt any further and it’ll exert the minimum amount of energy and effort to get by.
It’s a clever little bugger. And annoying too.
What’s better is to progress your workouts. Progressively make them more and more challenging. Think sets and reps and weight. We call that intensity and volume. Perhaps at the start of the month you could leg press 50kg for 3 sets of 12. Well, by week 2 you better be aiming to lift 55kg and by week 5, perhaps 65kg.
Beyond that, as the above principle goes you could move from a leg press to a squat to a rear foot elevated split squat.
Changing routine works. As does progressively overloading that routine. If you stay with your current plan, intensity and volume you’ll go backwards.
Rest between sets is too short
The goal of strength training is to get stronger. That means you need adequate rest between sets to allow for your energy reserves to refuel and recover.
You’re probably used to hiit classes giving you a short break of 10-20 seconds but studies show, when trying to get stronger you need around 2 minutes rest between the main exercises of the plan. Any less and you can’t recover quick enough to really maximise your gains.
With your first few exercises that are generally the heaviest and the ones you want to improve on the most, work with a 2-3 min rest ratio. After that, for the other exercises a rest of 1 min between exercises will suffice.
It’s too full on from day one
Your aim isn’t to be the strongest on day 1, but day 90.
Don’t push it too hard from the get go. Feel yourself in to the plan. Go slow but aim high.
Doing so will spare your joints and allow you to stay committed to the plan because you’re not constantly fighting fatigue or battered joints.
With every plan I start, I integrate a 1-2 week build up phase that gets us used to the intensity, exercises and tempo. This builds confidence and buy in because clients feel like they can accomplish it, they get to know the correct movements and feel safe doing so.
And the more consistent you are the better results you’ll get because the more work you can get in.
The risk is greater than the reward
Don’t let your ego get in the way of your training. What you used to do a couple of years ago isn’t what you can do now, especially after a couple of years off. Don’t work through pain. Work around it. Progress carefully and at a pace in the first few weeks especially that challenge your current fitness levels not the ones you wished you had. Learn from others mistakes so you don’t make your own.
Complicated over logical
When training, think of the space you have and the equipment available. Don’t pair exercises together without any rhyme or reason. Always know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Just because you’ve seen a video on Instagram of a workout of a lady in a bikini and a 6 pack, doesn’t mean it’s effective for you or get you the same results.
Logical can mean training three full body workouts a week, with the same exercises for Workout A & C. That doesn’t mean workout A, B & C have to be different each and every time. Once you have the workouts set, then apply principles 1 & 2.
There’s no goal
The goal is to lose weight and shape up. That means you gotta strength train, right? Strength training gets you stronger and that’s why you’re doing it. The stronger you are, with a good diet (that suits your goals) the better you’ll get.
So the goal of your strength training routine should always be to get stronger. Don’t confuse training with aiming to lose weight. Let the diet take care of that. For a start, take 5 lifts and aim to improve them over time.
Here’s a head start:
Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts, RFE Split Squats, Pull Ups and Overhead Pressing.
If you can improve those each week and month and build up to a point where you can manage an external load equivalent to your bodyweight for 10 reps you’ll completely transform your physique.
These principles stand the test of time, regardless of your specific goal. Aim to get through these and you’ll be on the right path to a new body, mind and mentality.