Training Priorities And Program Design

Whether you are a Fitness Professional or simply trying to optimize your own workouts, deciding what to do at the gym/track/park is a complex task that the overwhelming majority of people fail at. The following post by Patrick Ward offers a glimpse into what Top-Flight professionals consider in designing and implementing programs for their athletes – from Pro’s to Joe’s. PK

Fitting It All In – Training Priorities

by Patrick Ward

In the past I have discussed the importance of being flexible with regard to your training program and not being so rigid with regard to what is written on paper.  This is especially true when talking about backing off of the training intensity on a given training day if an individual is physically not preparedto do the assigned work.

In talking with a number of coaches over the past few weeks a common topic that has come up has been fitting it all it. There are many things that are considered in a training program:

  • Warm up
  • Mobility/Flexibility
  • Corrective exercise
  • Medicine ball throws
  • Sprints
  • Power Training (jumps, plyos, olympic lifts, etc)
  • Strength training
  • Energy system development
  • Etc

With so many qualities that need to be trained it is easy to see why it may be difficult to fit everything into the hour (or however long you have with your athletes).  And then there is the question of “why would you want to fit everything into an hour?”

It isn’t that this can’t be done or that I think it is bad.  In fact, there are times when this may be the best way to go.  However, I tend to run into the problem with this sort of programming where my training session end up looking a little schizophrenic.  With so many qualities to try and cram into one session, I find it hard to prioritize anything or take the time to focus on something more specifically.  Additionally, there are often times where things don’t work out as planned – people show up late to training, practice was harder than usual, there was a competition the day before, etc.  Thus, it is more beneficial (in my opinion anyway) to prioritize your training sessions as much as possible.

Rather than trying to do everything, look at the training session and determine what one or two things on the sheet are THE MOST IMPORTANT things to focus on for that day.  Make those things the priority.  Warm up and get right to work on those qualities.   Instead of lumping everything together on one day, prioritize one or two qualities to focus on and then focus on different qualities the next training day.

This same sort of mentality can be taken with soft tissue therapy as well.  Instead of trying to  improve everything, look at your assessment and determine what one or two things are the most important things to focus on that day.

With so many components to take into consideration in a training program, it is important not to lose sight of what the main goal or objective is for the day.  Attack that goal and really try and develop it.

One thought on “Training Priorities And Program Design

  1. Thank you for the shout out, Pete. I am glad to see you enjoyed the article.

    I see you have “PT” at the end of my name. Just to make sure no one gets the wrong idea about me, I am not a physical therapist and wouldn’t want to misrepresent that profession.


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