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Programme Design – Newsletter October 2015

Some Tips for Great Programme Design

Putting together a training plan can be tricky for some people, not knowing EXACTLY what to do.

However, by following some guidelines you can design your own programme which is balanced, challenging, and suited towards your goal.

Here we go…

Compounds First

There may be times when there is a reason for an isolation exercise being performed first, for example, rehab purposes, or for specific physique goals.

Compound movements work larger muscle groups, and in most cases you’d be stronger performing a compound movement over isolation.

Movements such as deadlift and squat variations, rows and presses in most cases should be a staple in your programming as they offer the most potential for you to develop strength and build muscle.

These are essential if your goal is to have a more athletic physique.

Think About Movements

Understanding different movements will allow you to easily change exercises when it comes to altering your programme, without losing too much structure.

For example, vertical pull may include deadlifts, barbell rows, and single arm rows. Whilst vertical push could include barbell presses and split squats.

We could very easily expand upon the above, however just ensure your programme has slightly more emphasis on your weaker points.

More Volume on Weaker Areas

If you have a body part which is weaker, imbalanced, or you just want to work on, then add more volume through additional sets and/or reps, or even through training frequency.

For example, if you’d like to improve your lower body, then it’d be a good idea to train your glutes, hamstrings and quads 2-3 times per week.

Working your weaker muscle groups more often with the correct level of intensity and volume will improve strength.

Equal Intensity

Aim to match intensity across sessions to minimise imbalances. A common pitfall will be to focus and push harder on the things we’re good at and enjoy.

As mentioned above, increased volume is one way to go about correcting this.

I acknowledge nothing can ever be perfect, however things can always be better!

It Must Be Manageable!

Being the nerd I am, I could reference studies stating ‘x’ number of days with ‘x’ amount of reps and sets are optimal to achieve {insert goal}. HOWEVER, if you can’t fit this with ease into your week, then forget it, don’t even try.

Less stress by far outweighs the extra session in the gym, and would probably give you better results.

If you know that you can get to the gym twice per week without fail, then train twice per week. If you feel you “might” be able to sneak a third session in, then plan a third session which is more of an accessory session, therefore nothing is lost if you miss it.


Consistency. This is what it comes down to.

If you can’t follow the programme every week, it’s simply not for you.

But this is where we can help you.

author: jasonpatmore

I am a Personal Trainer and coach based in Liverpool Street.


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