With all the advice, workouts, methods and philosophies about strength, conditioning and fitness out there... How do you develop a physical training program that is right for you?
First of all, there are may reasons to get involved in a physical training program... and you must first determine yours is you are to choose correctly.
Some people's physical training program are targeted toward muscle growth, others toward burning fat, others toward gaining strength, others to meet general fitness goals, etc.
I personally believe a physical training program should be used to improve the physical abilities of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, power, speed, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, accuracy and toughness.
A physical training program should improve the physical abilities that are needed to face the challenges of sport, work and life with excellence... basically, allowing us to become better suited human beings for the unpredictable environment in which we live.
Here are the guidelines I use to develop, analyze and evaluate my physical training program:
1) A physical training program should commit to functional strength, superior conditioning and fitness excellence OPTIMIZATION... Not muscular size and aerobic conditioning MAXIMIZATION.
Your physical training program must address the improvement of all the physical abilities... and not just one physical ability at the expense of all others.
The sad fact is, most people get caught up in becoming the best at one particular physical ability... and completely ignore the others.
Who cares how strong you are when the life challenge calls for balance and flexibility.
True physical fitness is a compromise between all the physical abilities and the seamless transition from on ability to another.
2) A physical training program should continue performance improvement through deliberate variation of training methods, intensities and stresses... Not monotonous, unsustainable and long term routines.
There is no one best, one size fits all physical training program that universally fits everyone's goals, needs, abilities and limitations.
Use variety to produce an environment that keeps the body improving... long term routine will only bring about limited results.
3) A physical training program concentrate on quality physical training and proper technique and then increase the quantity of your training... Leave your ego out of your workout program.
Your physical training program is where you work on your weaknesses and seek improvement... and not a place to show off.
Make sure to perform the exercises correctly before increasing the quantity.
4) A physical training program should focus on core strength and developing a body that functions as one complete unit... Just say "no" to machines.
Isolation exercises on machines teach you to do isolation exercises on machines... a skill which is of little value in the real world.
Make your core strong by including it in all your exercises and use the body as one complete unit... just like you would in the challenges of sport, work and life.
5) A physical training program should train movements through compound exercises, single limb and alternating limb exercises... Not muscles through "isolation" exercises.
Who cares how big your muscles are if you can't use them to complete a task in the real world.
Train movements that translate into real world performance improvements.
6) A physical training program should train muscular strength, muscular power and muscular endurance for functional strength improvement... not muscular size for appearance.
Strength training should address all aspects of strength... and not be treated as the secondary effect of size seeking.
It is better to be stronger than you look... Than to look stronger than you are.
7) A physical training program should train the anaerobic, anaerobic lactate and aerobic energy pathways for superior conditioning under the greatest set of circumstances... Now only one energy pathway for "specialized" conditioning.
Metabolic conditioning training should address all the energy pathways for versatile conditioning.
Extreme aerobic conditioning is not the measure of fitness excellence.
Sport, work and life challenges are made up of intense flurries of activity broken up be periods of less intensity and rest... not one long, continuous, monotonous, rhythmic activity.
8) A physical training program should train the physical abilities of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, power, speed, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and toughness for fitness excellence... Not just one or two abilities creating unbalanced fitness performance.
True fitness is not the maximization of one physical skill at the expense of all others... But the optimization of all physical skills in fluid interaction.
Fitness is a compromise.
9) A physical training program should fortify your strengths while concentrating on improving your weaknesses for the greatest over-all fitness improvement.
It is a waste of valuable physical training time to spend all your energy trying to improve your strength while your weaknesses go untrained
Greater fitness improvement can be made by turning your weaknesses into newfound strengths.
10) A physical training program should be personalized, short, intense and frequent.
Keep the training sessions short and intense for the best results... but don't forget to throw in some medium intensity, medium duration and high intensity, long duration training for variety.
Varying your workouts this way will allow you to work out more frequently without the fear of overtraining and injury... and prepare you for a greater amount of physical circumstances in the bargain.
Ultimately, any physical training program must be personalized to the goals, needs, abilities and limitations of the individual.
These are the guidelines I use to keep my physical training program on track and the physical improvements coming that will allow me to meet the challenges of sport, work and life with excellence.
So how does your physical training program stand up to these guidelines?
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Coach Lomax is a strength, conditioning and fitness coach dedicated to building better humans for sport, work and life. Learn more at Optimum Physical Training or take his FREE Tabata Calisthenics Workout Mini Course.
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