Essentially, someone comes in and they’re more of a beginner or novice or early intermediate. There’s going to be a much heavier focus on skill acquisition.
We’re probably going to have higher frequency of competition lifts or close derivatives to really drive up some of those fundamental motor skills that they need, if they’re under muscles for their weight class or for their long-term goals, if they want to lose weight, or if they want to gain a bunch of weight or whatever. We’re going to be prioritizing those things.
Maybe a concurrent model might work really well for those individuals. You can prioritize hypertrophy and strength and skill acquisition simultaneously because ultimately, strength is a skill. You can be super strong in the leg press, but maybe only squat 225 because you don’t have the stability, the internal stability requirements.
Skill acquisition is going to be a really, really big focus. And so, all of the ways that we can do that are going to be through maybe increasing frequency, monitoring exercise selection, doing video reviews, if you’re not coaching them in person, having supporting exercises that can help bolster their ability to execute those movements effectively.
If someone just got really weak lats or really weak lutes or something that, maybe you need to apply a little bit more volume and accessory exercises there. A good general well-rounded base is going to be good. I also think, especially that for beginners and early intermediates, this is my perspective, doing a lot of bodybuilding, as your accessory work is going to be very valuable long term.
Because you’re building up that base and muscle is strength potential, essentially, to some degree. When you get into intermediates, that’s when it becomes, you start having to be a little bit more methodical in terms of what variables you’re changing.
For those people, you have to really start thinking about lifestyle a lot more. You need to be thinking about that stuff for everyone, but that’s where it really starts to matter a little bit more. Programming has to become a little bit more detailed and a little bit more individualized as well.
Hey, you know what, I’m noticing that SSB squats don’t seem to be doing anything for your comp squat, but front squats seem to be fantastic. How are you collecting that data? Are you doing, let’s say weekly reviews, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever? That feedback is really important and the communication of your athlete’s super important.
How are you finding this? Are you enjoying the training? What do you find is working? What do you find is not working? Obviously, just reviewing the data and seeing what do we need to prioritize? In the intermediate stage, you probably still need to be focusing on building muscle as well.
Again, there’s a little bit…I don’t want to say less of a focus and skill acquisition, but there’s a little bit more of a focus on specialized skill, so really increasing the intensity and giving them more exposure to high intensity because they are better at bracing and moving and all of that stuff. Now, we can really start to push them.
Whereas with a novice, you maybe you couldn’t write because you just weren’t technically sound enough. For an advanced athlete, that’s where specificity has to become really, really important and take center stage. Now, maybe you get let’s say two standard deviations away from the competition lifts, and all of a sudden you’re not really seeing any carryover.
Now maybe that’s not the case, but maybe it is. So that’s where you really have to start dialing in all of the knobs. You have to be pulling all the levers looking at their sleep, looking at their nutrition, looking at their stress management, looking at their mood, their level of enjoyment of the training, looking at their hydration status, their supplementation, looking at their meal timing, all of these things.
None of those are even programming specific. Even if you’re only doing their programming, you still have to monitor those things because those have a very strong indirect influence on their training performance.
Then when you’re looking at the actual program design, you have to look at things like how much volume can they tolerate? How often are we deloading? Could we maybe pull back volume just a little bit? Maybe stretch out their productive training time so not having to deload as frequently.
Are they getting any hip pain with their squatting too much? Can we alter their frequency? Those are the little details you’re going to have to parse out. By that time, an advanced athlete should have a pretty darn good understanding of what actually works and what doesn’t work. If you’ve been working with them for a reasonable amount of time or if they have a training log, you should be able to tell a lot of that stuff just through that as well as the intake process.