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How To Make Your Own Training Program
I’m fed up of seeing these ready-made, copy-me programs that are sold to you on the basis that the guy who’s selling it looks in great shape… it’s a load of gumf and any half-decent fitness professional will tell you that!
I get how the seller thinks it will work though. The majority of them are competitors or people with amazing physiques that used this program to get to where they are so they figure it will work for you too, right? Not likely.
You have to appreciate that the program they’re using is specific to them and their current level of fitness.
There are so many variables involved in physique building and you have to tailor at least 51% to your desired outcome in order to receive it.
You body adapts (by itself) to the environment (internal and external) that it is in with the resources it has; it’s your job to supply the right environment and resources to elicit the response you desire.
The reason why they achieved that outcome with that program is because it matched their current environment to their desired outcome, so unless you have the exact same current environment then you won’t achieve the same results.
But this is when we start getting too complicated..So I’m gonna reign it in a little and show you how you can design a smart program that will work for you.
Not gonna lie, it won’t be the optimum (you need an expert-level of knowledge and skill for that), but it will certainly get you started.
Now I know this kind of goes against what we do at RAW and encourages you to do your own thing instead of come to us to have it all designed and delivered for you in the best way by a pro, but it’s for those of you that are just hunting for all the freebies with no intention of buying – I know you’re there 😉 – I want to make sure you’re doing things right and perhaps when you see the value in the service we offer, you’ll be ready to take action and get some real results nailed!
Anyway, let’s get going! Pen & paper at the ready…
The End Result
I think it’s vital that you work out first where you want your program to lead you before you start designing the individual exercises of your workouts; this is called reverse engineering (starting with the completed product and breaking it down to its finer components).
I design all programs this way because it reaffirms direction and exactness to your training as oppose to training without direction which can bring on boredom, plateau, lack of motivation, frustration and ultimately lead you to give up and create a negative association with training.
Nope! None of that business round here! We start at the top and make our way down.
Knowing specifically what you want your end result to be can be quite difficult so if you’re struggling with this then read this article first – (https://resultsaimedworkouts.co.uk/#!Designing-Goals-That-Youll-Stick-To/c1i1w/559f85250cf2ba155eccc235)
Now, I’d like to take this moment to contradict myself and say ‘scrap your end product, where is your start point?’
The Start Point
It is vital you know where you are before you establish where you want to go, as direction is completely dependent on position first, then destination.
So why did I contradict myself?
It’s good to have an idea of where you want to get to, and it’s inevitable that you’ll have at least a general idea.
So, once you know roughly where you’re heading, you can figure out where you started from and then redefine your end point accordingly.
The initial drill of deciding on your end result will have shown you what type of goal you have – appearance, performance or longevity.
Appearance – you’ll know that your goal is appearance-based by the simple fact that you probably established you need to change when you either looked in the mirror or put on some clothes. Your goal would have been something along the lines of ‘lose _stone in _’ or ‘look like _ by _’.
Performance – You’re in a smaller population and are either looking at improving for enjoyment or for a specific sport. If you feel like you’re doing it purely based on how you feel or how you do in your sport/competition, then you’re in this category.
Longevity – If you’re in here with complete honesty then you’re probably in less than 10% of the population. Longevity goals are ones that are solely focused on sustaining quality of life and being healthy from a physiological standpoint. If you think this might be you then ask yourself the following question: ‘Would I care if I looked like I didn’t exercise, had no level of fitness, but had a healthy heart and body?’
Once this is identified, you start taking measurements to establish your current starting point.
Look at what bits you are most interested or unhappy with and find a way to measure these.
At RAW, we have specific pieces of equipment and grading criterion to measure our members, but you can be creative with how you measure so long as the environment will remain constant and controlled.
Redefining the End Point
Going back to that end result. Now you know where you are and the type of goal you want to achieve and how you will measure your progress, you just need to establish how far you want to go and in what time period.
Because this part is so personalised, I can’t offer you guidance without knowing your exact example.
A macrocycle is a big period of time where your environment will remain relatively constant and you intend to make a big difference before a certain time.
These are generally between 3 and 6 months in length and will specify how much progress you intent to make over that time (medium-term goals).
It’s important to consider what will be happening over the course of this macrocycle and to focus on either achieving one component of your goal or one fraction of the goal in its entirety.
For example, if you wanted to squat an extra 80kg in 2 years but you have a lack of hamstring flexibility to perform a decent squat, your first macrocycle would be to improve squatting technique to a grade 5/5 in the first 3 months.
Mesocycles are the big portions of your macrocycle and are usually 4-8 weeks in length. You would usually focus on 1 particular program/training principle to master in this medium length cycle work on mastering that. It’s important that you design these relative to your macrocycle so that they will achieve either one component of your macrocycle or part of the macrocycle as a whole.
Carrying on from the previous example, a mesocycle in the goal to achieve 5/5 squat in 3 months could be to improve hamstring mobility, whilst another could be to learn to stabilise with the new range of movement as these two together would achieve your 5/5 squat.
This is where we get into the finer details of exactly what each session will look like. Microcycles have quite a lot of variability in them in as much as they can be linear, block, daily undulating or weekly undulating. What all this mumbo jumbo means is how you vary your training within the mesocycle. There is still much debate over which is optimum for which goal but most people (particularly now with it being so trendy) tend to opt for a daily undulating as this provides more changeability in the training and helps keep focus on one particular session rather than on the big scheme which can be quite daunting.
Daily undulating is the method of focusing on one thing in one session and another thing altogether in the following.
To even further extend the example used above, I would break the mesocycle of improving hamstring mobility into 3 different components through the week: stretching, activating and SMR (foam rolling, etc.).
If you don’t have a lot of knowledge in performing a session that is completely focused on one of these principles then this probably still leaves you thinking ‘okay, I still have no idea what I’m doing’.
So I’ll take you one step further and show you how to design a session that is specific to you.
Once you’ve whittled down your big end result all the way into microcyles, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you session needs to include; all you need is the knowledge of how to include this.
This is very tricky for me to explain as I don’t have you right in front of me and I don’t know you as an individual or your goals, but what I can do is offer very simple guidelines that are science-backed and I can help you know what movements you need to create; it will then be up to you to find exercises that include these movements for these styles of delivery.
Firstly, here is a graph that will explain what reps, sets, tempo, number of exercises, load and rest are required for certain goals.
I’d definitely write that down if I were you because this is exclusive information for top-level pros only
With regards to exercise selection, you have to figure out what muscles you want to work and in what way. Here are some basic principles that will help you decide what you need to do:
- Easy exercises (one plane of motion) allow for less error and therefore more intensity/load to be progressed forward
- Hard exercises (multiple planes of motion) encourage muscles to work more efficiently and often include more muscle activation which is great for stability, mobility and mind-to-muscle connection.
- Working muscles when at length creates more stress on the muscle and is excellent for injury prevention and for stability & mobility
- Working muscles in a shorter, more compact position encourages more forces production and can help for goals such as robustness, max strength, and max power and is also very helpful for people that are currently very prone to an injury.
- Concentric contraction (the lifting part of an exercise) is great for strength training and applying force against a resistance.
- Eccentric contraction (the controlled lowering part of an exercise) is great for injury prevention, power production, increase in muscle mass and stability.
- Isolative exercises (working just one or two muscles) are great for focussing on one area of the body but are poor calorie burners and don’t encourage much total output in the body.
- Compound exercises (working multiple muscle groups) are excellent for improving dynamic movement, whole body growth, maximum output and joint strengthening.
Get To Work
Well, I think that’s enough free content for one day. You now have lots of work to do in designing your program from finish to start and entering into the proper side of training and program design.
If you’re struggling to get your head round that stuff then I’d suggest you consider membership where I can not just sort out this program for you but actually design you a high-standard program that is complete customised to work with you, your goals and your preferences.
And, after reading this, if you’re still tempted to go for a pre-made program by some guy who has no experience in program design or coaching but just looks like he works hard and has a decent set of abs on him, then I sincerely suggest you read this again and perhaps accept the fact that you need our help!
Look, I’m trying to do all I can here to make this work for you by offering free content, entry-level memberships, free goal analysis and a guarantee for results and if you still have reservations then I’m kind of stuck with what I can do to help you – you need to help yourself out by seeking our help.
I’m not saying you MUST come train at RAW, although it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, but help yourself out here and take us up on the free Goal Analysis session. Even if you don’t become a member, at least you’ll be clearer on what you want to achieve and will have a better understanding of what we offer – perhaps I’m biased, but the service we offer here is so advanced that I’d be amazed if you knew what we offer and still decided not to train with us.
Ask For Help
Make sure you send me across what you come up with for a program and I’ll be sure to reply to every single one of you with my opinion and advice on how to improve it.
I really do care more about your health and fitness than I do about you giving me money and if you really don’t want to pay for what we offer here (I’ve tried to make it as worth the investment as possible), I’ll try my hardest to find an alternative way that you can achieve your health & fitness goals so don’t be affraid to ask.
I wish you every bit of luck with your pursuit of a better health and body and I hope to see/speak to you soon.
If you found some helpful content from this article then I’d really appreciate a comment, like, favourite, share or retweet to let me know that I’m actually helping people with the stuff I’m offering.
Also feel free to let me know what you’d like me to write about next. I’ve got a few more lined up from previous requests but I’ll be sure to either add it to the list or just respond straight to you personally with some advice.
Photos will be up soon of how the Open Day goes so keep an eye out for them!