Improving training 3: How to Structure your Training

Now that we know how to recover properly from training and manage our training week, we need to look at how we actually train.

(Find my article on recovery here and training load here)


 

There are two simple methods you should employ to ensure you get the result you want:

  1. Have a plan (this goes without saying). If you are just going into the gym and whipping together a random routine everyday you are not going to be able to effectively track progress and continually (progressively) overload your body.
  2. Follow the plan.

Now, a plan does not need to be a complex beast, fine tuned to the smallest detail. For most people a basic plan is all you need.

Generally a 3 month outline is a good starting point. An example 3 month outline might look like this:

M1 – High rep and Movement Conditioning
M2 – Mid range reps and work capacity
M3 – Low range reps and specific accessory work

(Some of these concepts might not be familiar and they will be discussed in further articles)


 

For now let’s just break down what we are doing with the rep ranges across the 3 month cycle.

Month 1:
What we are trying to do here is build some size through increased volume and prepare our body’s connective tissue for the upcoming months.

The first exercise/s of a session here might look like this

A1 – Big lower body movement (e.g. squat) x 4sets x 10-12reps
A2 – Big upper body movement (e.g. chin) x 4sets x 10-12reps

Month 2:
In this phase we are looking to develop a base level of strength and ‘train up’ the new muscle we built in the previous month.

The first exercise/s of a session here might look like this

A1 – Compound strength movement x 4sets x 8reps
Rest break activity – Core stabilisation/activation x 1min

Month 3:
This is where we really get to work. We have built our base and developed some strength. This phase is focused on developing max strength.

The first exercise/s of a session here might look like this

A1 – Compound strength movement x 5sets x 4-6reps

By no means is this the be-all and end-all of program planning. There are countless different styles. This specific structure is called a linear periodisation model (this big word means plan) model. A liner model (as its name implies) works from a straight line progression – in this context it is a three month plan progression from 10-12 reps (hypertrophy) down to 4-6 reps (strength).

With our plan done we now need to stick to it for the prescribed period. This is a more complex issue than it sounds and requires a blog post of its own down the track. However, some basic guidelines:

  1. Actually follow the plan as set. Don’t deviate because you saw something cool on YouTube. The best plan is the one you follow.
  2. Rest and recover appropriately and you will decrease the chance of missing sessions due to fatigue
  3. Have a clear understanding of your goal and how your plan will get you there.

Next week we are going to start looking at some specific elements of training – starting with building work capacity

 

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Musician, Coffee lover, Book Reader, Beer Drinker. I have always been the sportsman in my family and through my school years I was involved in a variety of different sports, from Cricket and Volleyball to Karate and Rugby. When I was 16 I decided I wanted to become a more serious athlete and over the course of my summer holidays between year 11/12 I lost 20kg and without knowing it I had put myself on the path to where I am today. My own transformation experience gave me a passion for training fitness and what started as a subscription to muscle and fitness saw me take on a degree in Exercise and Sport Science at UQ (Majoring in Exercise Science). As an avid rugby player, my desire to progress my skills and become a better player led me to The Results Room in September of 2013. Under Dan’s supervision I was able to get myself in the best possible condition to play and ultimately achieved my goal of starting every game of the season in the Premier Grade competition. My goal for 2015 is to become a level 1 Super Sayian! Working in the health and fitness industry, I realise how much my approach to training is influenced by the countless people (and different sports) I’ve worked with over the last few years. However, the one element that is consistent from under 13s rugby through to elite sport is the requirement for a strong work ethic. No goal is too big as long as you are willing to sacrifice and work hard to achieve it. It is my goal to eventually work in Strength and Conditioning for elite athletes and sporting teams.