15 באוקטובר 2014

5 Reasons why Personal Trainers should periodize for their Clients

There’s a big thing going on around this one.

-          Should or shouldn't PT’s Periodize?

I stumble upon this one every time I teach my Girevoy Sport course and when we get to the Program Design and Periodization, all hell is breaking loose on this one and for a good reason!

Most (if not all) of us agree that building programs for our clients is a must do if we want to make them progress towards their goals but it’s a very slippery road since we all familiar with a situation where our client disappears for one reason or another for a couple of days or weeks, in a middle of a cycle and all of our time and effort goes down a toilet…

Jon Goodman wrote a very enlightening article on a subject on PTDC - Personal trainers shouldn't Periodize where he advises for a different approach regarding periodization and program design but as we all know, there are two sides for everything, so allow me to present my POV on the other one.

1. Legal stuff

      I’ll start with something that has nothing to do with programming but everything with our professional future – law suits.

We all want our clients to be healthier, stronger and happier - otherwise we won’t be doing what we do! But life is a dynamic thing and as Forest Gump put it: “Shit Happens” and our clients might get injured, regardless if it was our fault or not and he or she might press charges for us being responsible and when this happens – again, I wish no one of my colleagues such an experience – you’d better have those workouts and progressions written down from day one to prove him or anybody else that the progress was gradually built and there’s no chance that you are personally or professionally responsible for that unfortunate incident!

2. Don’t improvise - adapt!

     Improvisation is a trade of actors and stand up comedians. In our field, good coach doesn’t improvising but rather adapting to whatever may roll.

Let’s say that today is a squat day (for me, everyday should be a squat day but hey, someone have to DL and press either J)  and you planned a heavy 5x5 session. You client comes and drops the bomb: “so and so, this and that…..” and you see that he’s in no position for a heavy squat, what do you do?

-          Improvising? Taking him for some TRX session or Biceps curls to make him feel good and break the cycle? Maybe, if the case is that bad.

-          The other scenario that instead of improvisation you apply adaptation  and change the 5x3 to 1x8 + 3x5 + 1x10 (make him work hard for three instead of five) or 5x2 or, if thing’s really bad, you do 5x5 60% for technique…

You get my point here? We’re adapting inside the planned cycle instead of breaking it!

One other thing is that muscles don’t get confused and a plan dictated by clear goal gets results so improvisation is a sign of laziness and dilettantes - it can be very embarrassing if a client keeps track of his progress and catches you improvising…

3. Team work

    
   You and your client are a team, the A team! The more involved he’ll be in his own process, the more you educate him and include him in a decision making regarding his own training, the more devoted, serious and personally responsible he becomes!

4. In the name of science

  
   Unlike the real scientists we have a rare privilege to “test on humans”! We all know how our own body reacts to this or that protocol, method or system but we are not our clients so we test - yes, this is exactly what we and the best coaches in the field do, we test, tweak and modify different workouts on our clients, whether it’s a college team, Olympian or an average Joe, with one exception – elite coaches take notes and later publishing books we all buy and learn from…

We should do the same - make an excel sheet for every client with every workout he ever did and monitor his response for different protocols, seasons, life crises and every other aspect that affects his life.

 Only if we do so, we will be able to track back and analyze the reason for a sudden sensation of tiredness and lack of recovery – overtraining maybe, we can scroll back and prevent potential injuries (re-read 1…) and we can compare which protocol works best in an annual plan.

5. Set a “close call” goal and roll with punches

   
  There’s no reason to periodize more than one month (three, if your client is a devoted trainee) in advanced. The options for method, approach and exercise selection and articles that were written on a subject are numerous!

So my two cents here will be: “Keep it simple but don’t simplify!”

Set one-three (no more!) clear and simple goals for and do everything within your power to nail them by taking it step-by-step, adapting if necessary for whatever reasons may be, write it all down and at the end of a period sit with your client, open up the excel sheet or a notebook and take him on a journey of his own training by sparing him no details and making him involved – it’s his body and his finances that are invested here, RESPECT THAT!

            Summary:

ü  Programming and documentation may protect your name (and money) in a legal affair.
ü  Don’t improvise – adapt to the circumstances but follow the path you’ve set.
ü  You’re a team – you want him to train harder, make it his own and educate him.
ü  We are all unique, everyone adapts differently to a stress so act like scientist – take notes, observe, test and lead forward in a safest way.
ü  Set no more than one to three clears and measurable goals, for a period not longer than one-three month and “roll with the punches” to nail them.  



Well, in the words of mighty Donald Duck: “That’s all folks!” but, as a matter affect, it’s only a beginning of an individual quest for YOUR way – enjoy the trip!

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