In-Game Adjustments: The “REAL” Strength of a Program
Solid program writing is one of the hallmarks of any good fitness program. If you plan on achieving the best possible results and want to maximize efficiency of your time, its critical to have a solid program in place. However, it’s almost inevitable that at some point during any program there will need to be adjustments. This is truly when the program starts. Its safe to say that if you write programs for people, you will need to make adjustments to those programs. Why? Because people change, things change, circumstances change and all these problems can become quite complex when broken down into their various types & forms. I’ve seen it time and time again, people begin doing a certain program and then all of a sudden they stop seeing results. Weight stops coming off, strength stops rising and enthusiasm soon dips. Well, the life blood of any good program is not in the blueprint. That’s right. Although a solid system is necessary to build from, its not the the thing that makes the program work. The true strength in any “good” program comes in the adjustments made along the way….
Here’s what I mean
Over the past 10 seasons anyone who’s followed the sport of American Football will tell you that the New England Patriots have been considered the “gold” standard when it comes to building and operating a solid program. This team has been headed by the legendary coach Bill Bilachick. Coach Bilachick has the uncanny ability of designing schemes and formations that attack other teams weaknesses while also accentuating his teams strengths. In addition to this, there have been countless times his original plan didn’t work. For some reason or another, the plan the team worked on during the preparation week didn’t work. Whether this is due to his teams’ inability to execute the plan or the other teams own imposed plan, adjustments had to be made. Coach Bilachick makes these in-game adjustments almost better than anyone who’s ever coached the game. This is why he’s in the top 3 active coaches winning percentage and won 3 super bowl titles.
Whats my point….
Prorams 1st need to be specific to you. In my business I deal with a large amount of small groups. I train athletes here in groups of anywhere from 3 to 10 people. With this set up having a “personal” program for everyone to follow is not only extremely difficult to manage but almost impossible to execute. So what I do here is write up what I call general/specific programs. This simply means that within our general approach, we have programmed in specific measures to address certain members of that group. For instance we may have 7 athletes, 3 of which play football and 4 that play soccer. The performance goals for these athletes is going do differ based on size, age, maturity, strength level, mobility, general conditioning etc. In order to make the training effective for each of them we will design a program that addresses strength or conditioning in general. Then we will make specific changes to that type of conditioning these athletes do at their respective time of training year they are in. This takes practice, trial and error and sometimes a little luck. However, through approaches like this, athletes can be assured that they are getting a general tool that works no matter what their sport is & a specific tool that meet them right were they are.
This may differ for you. Some people only do 1 on 1 training so these parameters would be different for them or their clients. Others do team training where they may have more difficulty programming specifics individually, so they program based on positional requirements and so forth. Whatever the situation, coaches and personal trainers need to be aware of the mid way adjustments necessary to have their clients or subjects excel.
This may lead to a few questions…
With all this being said, how would you know when or where to begin? Have you recently asked yourself these questions
How to make adjustments? This question can be a loaded one. This requires an understanding of the human body and the systems associated with the goal for that individual. Adjustments may be factored in a progressions for each block or phase of your training. They may also be considered during the in-between phases. It’s really up to the situation you are in. However, in any case, the adjustments MUST suit the best interest of the person involved. If you’re looking for raw strength, and the back squat is NOT an option, you have to consider the next best exercise that reaches the same goal with out the negative side effects. Understanding adjustments works hand in hand with understanding asymmetries and weaknesses. If you are dealing with a weak or tight joint, muscle or group of muscles, fixing asymmetries will point you in the right direction. If you are dealing with a structural (bone) issue, its a good chance you may have to select a new alternative altogether. Whatever the case may be, adjustments need to be directly related to the reason for the adjustment in the 1st place.
When to make adjustments? This differs from person to person, however, making adjustments usually comes when performance comes to a halt. When things stop or slow down significantly, it usually due to lack of rest/recovery or homeostasis. When this happens making small adjustments will most assuredly keep results coming.
Making the wrong adjustment or an adjustment that’s too advanced can come back to bite you later. Our bodies need only a small adjustment many times to stimulate a different response. This is different from person to person based on maturity, age, mobility, stress level and a host of other issues. From our standpoint here at KEY 2, we don’t need but very small adjustments to either the volume or intensity of a specific exercise to see good results. We see mainly hs kids who are in some form of pubescent change anyway. We make small adjustments and wait for the body to respond. FOR EXAMPLE: If we go from barbell back squatting one week to low box squatting with bands and chains the next month, we’ve left no room to grow into that exercise in down the road.
When to stick to the script? This is what many people should be doing more of. Although this is an article on adjustments and how they are the lifeline of a program, I have seen way too many people jump from program to program week to week and wonder why they aren’t getting results. Your body, like a plant, need time to grow. You don’t plant a see today and expect a full blown flower tomorrow. Likewise you do continuously use different types of water, plant food and lighting options with out given time to the baseline method for growth. Water the plant and put it where the sun light can reach it & in time, it’l grow. Likewise will your muscles under a sound regimen where there has been a appropriate amount of time spent.
When I do make adjustments, which ones should I make? Only you or your trainer can truly answer this question. Adjustments always have to fit the goal. If you want to get faster and all you’ve done is strength train, start incorporating speed work into your training. Simple. If you need professional help in this area, please call 732-749-3093 and give a understanding on how we can help. Adjustments come in all different shapes and sizes. They are only truly bound by your training stage and ability to devote yourself to them.
How will I know if its working? When you see results. Period. This will however come in time. Some goals will take less time to see results in than others. If you’re looking to gain weight and you’re skinny and under nourished, eating more may be a good way to see results in a few days or weeks. On the contrary, if you’re looking to have a stronger bench press & you already bench press 500lbs, it may require more time and more effort to see even the slightest change at all.
1 – Make sure you begin with a sound program. This is the first thing that MUST be done. With out a good foundation, the program will never stand the test of time.
2 – Once you’ve begun your program, stick to it for a while. Depending on your age and goal this may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Either way, dont just go jumping from program to program without any real time invested. You will just confuse your body and it will eventually shut down on you.
3 – Don’t be afraid make the correct adjustments along the way if things aren’t going as planned. Re-evaluate the situation and do whats best suited to help you maximize your ability to reach your goals. Sometimes adjustments may be subtle and sometimes they may be greater. Either way, make sure you are on the right track by understanding your weaknesses and strategically attacking them in the least successful manner possible. No need jumping to progressions 4 & 6 when you haven’t done progression #2 yet.
Monitor your results to see if everything is working. This meas effective logging and recording of what each performance is telling you.
Get in the habit of effectively making the right changes and enjoy the results of reaching your goals.
Until next time….
GET STRONG BE EXPLOSIVE
KEY 2 SPORTS TRAINING