Program Design

Overview

Putting together a training program requires knowledge of which exercises to use, the right intensities, number of exercises, sets and reps variations as well as days to train per week. Program design is putting together different components to achieve a desired result over time. 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Implementation

Creating your own program requires careful planning and some basic knowledge. Before developing a new training plan conduct a fitness assessment. It will give you the foundation to build upon. From there it’s knowing what to incorporate.

Different considerations when creating a program are training variables, periodization and training models. 

The different training variables are:

  • Reps: a complete movement of an exercise
  • Sets: group of consecutive reps
  • Intensity: the level of effort exerted up to your max
  • Tempo: speed at which reps are performed
  • Rest: time to recover between sets and reps
  • Volume: work over time
  • Frequency: amount of training sessions in time
  • Duration: time frame of a training session
  • Selection: selection of a specific exercise

Periodization is an approach that allows the body to adapt overtime. Training is divided into different periods of time. Training plans can be broken down into annual, monthly or weekly plans. Annual plans show a macro level of training protocols over the course of a year. Once broken down into monthly and weekly plans the view is more detailed and specific. 

Training models are the different phases of training throughout the course of a program. Each model is specific to a particular type of goal and works hand in hand with others. A strong stable core is necessary to gain strength and see muscular hypertrophy in the gym.

  • Stabilization is the first level of training and focuses on building strength in the stabilizer muscles and preparing the body for the demands of exercise. At this time you’re not only building a foundation, you’re correcting any imbalances.
  • Strength is the second phase of training designed to build upon the body’s ability to handle stress and lay the foundation for additional training models. 
  • Hypertrophy is the third phase of training and focuses on maximal muscle growth. Training and rest periods are designed to force cellular change. 
  • Max strength is the fourth phase of the training program and focuses on increasing the ability to handle heavier weights.
  • Power is the fifth phase and focuses on increasing the force and velocity at which loads can be moved.

When you combine all of those aspects with the direction and measurement of a specific goal you create a training program tailored to you. All considerations are considered and a path to success is outlined. At this point it’s up to you to execute as well as adjust when necessary.

Example Training Program