In the first part of this article I identified the distinction between training principles and methodologies. It is critical to adopt a “principle-centric” position when designing workouts or long term programming, however the variety of methods, righteously available to the athlete development coach are infinite. The methods are the choices, the exercises, implements, variables and tools of the principled program.
Naturally the methods are a critical to getting a client/athlete from point A to point B but more than that, it’s were the coach gets to truly express them self. As an example, if the programming objective is to guide an athlete towards greater lower body power, then principle-centric thought will dictate (with few exceptions) that squats will a featured lift. Programming a squat is the principled decision, but what kind of squat? Back squats are the “King” of all lower body developers yet front squats may be a safer and more practical choice. But what about the value of one legged squats, pistols squats and rear foot elevated squats? After all we humans are bipeds and when we run we push off one leg at a time so doesn’t it only make sense that strengthen our legs independently? The point is that their is no one perfect training program but many effective strategies using a great variety of methodologies.
Think of the principles of programming is the objective part, the science, while methodology the subjective part, the art. Here’s a definition that I got from dictionary.com, “wisdom is the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment.” I typically use “wisdom is the place where wisdom meets experience” which gets straight to the point. I want to encourage everyone, whether your a coach or training yourself to think wisely as you train. The availability of knowledge has never been greater and their is no excuse to not be taking advantage of it. Their are huge benefits to be gained with a few minutes of daily reading; for starters checkout http://bretcontreras.com/ and http://t-nation.com/ and the huge archive of articles and videos a http://crossfit.com.
I hope this short article helps you gain perspective and with some, confidence when it comes to optimized training. Just remember that principles are few and methods are many. Effective training is hard work so make it count and remember to have fun!