A simple, foolproof program design strategy to help your clients move, feel and look better while at the same time alleviate pain and prevent injury and increase your income.
I would argue that a “balanced” strength-training program mixed with soft tissue mobilization and a consistent individualized stretching/mobility program is all the corrections you may need.
“If you’re not assessing, you’re just guessing.”
From the moment our clients walk in the door, my staff and I are watching body language, gait, and a host of other things happening in the pre-hab and active warm up portions of our training sessions.
The session begins and we’re back at it. Assessing, coaching and cueing everyone, “chest up, knees out, double chin” etc…
I know I’m going against the grain here, but I’m convinced that when someone has an injury or pain, they don’t always need an individualized corrective exercise program or Physical Therapy session
When in doubt refer out…
Training around pain NOT injury is part of the job and I’m convinced that, with the system I’ll show you below, you can not only effectively prevent injury, but also rid yourself and clients of common aches and pains.
Know Your Clientele
Who’s your “Tribe?”
I’m often asked whom we serve and treat and how we assess them.
In our case, the majority of our clientele would be “general population” business owners and professionals between the ages of 35-60 yrs. old looking to lose body-fat and feel better.
They are, like the majority of the population, spending a large majority of their day in the seated position.
They drive to work seated.
They work at their desk seated.
They workout seated and then they repeat it all over again the next day.
This very common scenario will eventually take its toll on their health and body showing up in low back, hips, shoulder, neck, or knee pain or some with a combo of it all.
This clientele without fail will usually be “stuck in flexion” but not always and showing:
- Tight pecs
- Tight neck flexors (SCM and Scalene’s)
- Tight lats
- Tight hip flexors
- Tight rectus abdominals
- Weak Serratus Anterior
- Weak upper back
- Weak lower traps
- Weak low back
- Weak Glutes
- Weak hamstrings
- Weak lower abdominals
They also usually lack:
- Ankle mobility
- Hip mobility
- Thoracic spine rotation
- Thoracic spine ext.
The goal in designing this person’s program would be to “open” up the anterior portion of the body and simultaneously “wake up” and strengthen the posterior aspect of the body. It’s easier said than done, but ultimately we want to do the opposite of what they show up with and not reinforce the dysfunction that they may already have.
Programming is a science no doubt, but not rocket science, and once you understand the human body, “assess” enough moving people, and know your population and niche, it’s more common sense than anything else.
Know Your Clientele: ask questions
First things first…
I believe that all good coaches should be asking their clients a series of important questions such as:
Who is my client?
What do they want? Their problem?
How can I provide them a solution the safest way possible while helping them move and feel better?
Who do you train? Do you really know the clientele that you are serving and who your niche and ideal client actually is?
If not, there is a good chance you may not be helping them as much as you could. In order to truly help someone you should know everything about him or her.
You should be an absolute expert in that particular population.
Is it a particular sport?
What is this population’s ultimate goal?
- Increased speed?
- Increased muscle mass?
- Improve bone density?
- Lose body-fat?
How do they spend their day?
- Are they seated?
- Desk ergonomics?
- Night shift?
What is the common stress demands that they encounter on a daily basis?
- Work stress, home stress?
- Are they married?
- Do they have children?
- What are their eating and sleep habits?
What is their health history? Are they currently taking any medications?
What motivates this person?
To effectively communicate, engage, and positively affect your clientele, you must know their goals, lifestyles and personalities like the back of your hand.
Now for the fun part…
The program design
After answering some of these questions and knowing this person, you can then begin choosing movement patterns from the following categories:
- Bilateral vert/horizontal- Shoulder press/Push-up
- Unilateral Vert/horizontal- Single arm shoulder press/Single arm cable press
- Bilateral vert/horizontal- Pull up or chin up/barbell bent over row
- Unilateral vert/horizontal- Single arm”W” Cable Pulldown/Single arm DB row
Squat and hinge-
- Bilateral hip/quad dominant- Trap bar deadlift/Barbell Back Squat
- Unilateral hip/quad dominant-One leg RDL/Step-up
There are literally hundreds of exercises you could plug in this formula above. You are truly only limited by your imagination.
Want to take it even further?
Rotational patterns– Presses, Pulls, Wood chops, Grappler, Med Ball
Crawl patterns– Contra-lateral, multi-directional, prone, supine, bear, crab etc…
MUT (movement under tension) – Loaded carries and walks (kb’s, sandbags, partner)
Core and “anti” core patterns– ab wheel roll outs, Paloff presses, Club Bell anti-flexion, anti-extension
Conditioning- sprint/hill work, battlerope, med ball slams, versa-climber, air-dyne etc…
Correctives– Blackburn mob’s, shin-box, halo’s, prone cobra, crab reach, scorpion reach’s etc…
Tumbling– rolling patterns
Animal Flow– Traveling forms, flow patterns and sequences
Gymnastics– ring work and body-weight ie. Levers, planches, cart wheels, parralettes
Hand balancing– wall and free standing
A traditional strength program
SMR– Foam roll
SCAM (Stretch hip flexors, Core Four Matrix, “activate” Glutes and Mobilize Hips)
Stick work- “Magic Stick”
A1 Trap bar deadlift– Hip dominant leg
A2 Flat bench Db – bilateral horizontal push
A3 DB renegade row- unilateral horizontal pull
B1 Bulgarian Split Squat– unilateral quad dominant leg
B2 Kb Push Press– bilateral vertical push
C1 Jungle Gym Skull Crusher– single joint isolation with abdominal component
C2 Jungle Gym Scarecrow– bilateral pull/lower trap work
An Unconventional Program
Restoration/Conditioning session using a similar formula
8 movements, 45s ON, 15s OFF 2min break and 4 rounds.
Rotational Lunge– transverse plane, unilateral, hip dom w/mobility,
Loaded Front Step– Prone closed chain unilateral w/ thoracic ext and hip ext
Alt Tripod– supine close chain, unilateral w/hip ext (Glute activation), shoulder stability and thoracic rotation
Alt side kick through– prone, closed chain, unilateral w/ core stability, anterior sling activation and conditioning
DB Halo– core stability, shoulder mobility
Static Beast- prone, closed chain, shoulder stability, core stability
Blackburn Mob– posterior chain activation w/ scapular mobility and humeral internal rotation
Behind This Approach
As you can see each one of these movements has a particular purpose for a desired outcome that tackles strength endurance, stability, mobility, dynamic flexibility or conditioning.
There should always be a rhyme and a reason for every movement chosen.
You can also see that this isn’t a typical session. This would be more of a restorative session with a conditioning component. In fact you could even program something like this for an off-day or active recovery session.
A client’s training program should be created with a “method to the madness,” utilizing primarily movements/patterns taken from lists and categories’ such as these. This is a great system/template to organize a well-structured strength and conditioning program.
In my opinion the goal of the Fit Pro is first and foremost the client and creating smart and balanced programming.
Balanced to me means choosing more standing (open chain) and ground based (closed chain) movements utilizing a good mix of upper and lower body, multi-planar and bilateral/unilateral patterns. We choose more “pulls” than “pushes”, more hip dominant vs. quad dominant and more unilateral vs. bilateral with the majority of movements performed standing rather than sitting.
The main goal is simply to get people to stand up more and MOVE!
This programming not only gives them the training effect they are seeking but also a lot of what they “need” more of.
In most, but not all cases, an approach like this will inadvertently address imbalances or asymmetries, subsequently alleviating if not eliminating all together most people’s common aches and pains.
It’s like magic and I’ve seen it time and time again.
Open or lengthen what is short on the anterior chain.
Strengthen and activate the posterior chain.
Increase ROM and mobilize joints that are designed for mobility while stabilizing joints that are designed to be stable.
Mobile, Stable and fully able.
If it seems simple it’s because it really is.
The great thing about this approach is that it doesn’t take a two hour assessment or a Physical Therapist or a “corrective exercise” program filled with Bird Dogs and balancing acts to address someone’s aches and pains.
Please don’t misunderstand me.
I’m not against Physical Therapy or any other screening or assessments you may be using. In fact, we use the FMS. Improving the quality of a person’s tissue, and getting them globally stronger is the large majority of what people need.
To sum things up, It’s totally possible to give your clients “correctives,” a good training session and have some fun along with it. It’s all in the design of the program. Think outside the box and you can improve multiple training qualities all at one time. A little creativity can go a long way.
S.M.A.R.T 360 Program Design Certification
Would you like to learn how to create your own “bang for your buck”, balanced, science based and, most importantly, fun workouts that will actually get results?
Would you like to increase your training income?
Keep clients longer?
Separate yourself from the competition?
Do you lack the knowledge to create customized workouts for your clients?
Do your workouts have a rhyme and a reason?
Is there an actual “method to your madness”?
Are you getting the desired results with your current workouts?
Spinning your wheels or worse injuring yourself and your own clients?
Would you like to learn a simple yet effective system that will make you more money, increase your value and make you the go-to trainer in your area?
Primal Fit 360 has your solution…
Introducing S.M.A.R.T 360 Program Design Certification for personal trainers and coaches.
Behind the Certification
This certification is for trainer/coaches or anyone else looking to take their clients or their own results to the next level using a tried and true repeatable system that actually has a “method to the madness.”
This certification is based off of PF360’s S.M.A.R.T (Systemized Movement and Recovery Techniques) philosophy, the umbrella that oversees are patented 6 Pillars to Optimal Health and Fitness used in our gym on a daily basis.
For the last 20yrs, our programming blueprint has proven to be successful for hundreds of people from all demographics no matter the exercise level or health history, and for the first time ever we want to teach other fit pros our exact system.
Things you will learn and receive
- Why unveil our Systems and Philosophy?
- Why Small Group Personal Training
- Receive Matt’s book Six Figure Fit Pro
- What is S.M.A.R.T
- What are the 6 Pillars
- Assessment Protocols/Health History
- Consultation process
- The Art of Program Design
- What are you doing with rest periods?
- Customization- Regressions/Progressions
- Coaching 101- Separating from the competition
Personal Training 101
The Business and evolution of the fitness industry
Magic Stick Protocol
Primal Movement Patterns
The Art of Coaching Small Group