How to be good at programming Part 1
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve received DMs on Instagram from coaches asking how to get good at programming or what my favorite go to books are for writing programs.
It’s funny because there isn’t a book that teaches you how to program fam. There are books that include programs, sure. But programming as a whole is so freaking broad and complex, I think it’s darn near impossible to create a book on quote unquote “program design.”
And for the sake of this conversation I am strictly talking about designing programs for weight training & strength training, so barbells, dumbbells machines and body weight exercises are all included in that.
Today I’m going to cover what I think makes me, and other professionals experts at designing programs, and what goes into a writing a program. I think if you can grasp those basics, you’ll be in a good spot as a trainer and coach.
Straight up, if you do not understand these three things, your programming will lack purpose and be subpar forever and always.
Numbers one and two really just have to do with the human body.
How can you possibly develop strength or mobility in a muscle if you don’t know what it does? How are you going to go about exercise selection if you don’t know what the prime mover of an exercise is? What muscles act as protagonists? Antagonists? And stabilizers.
We go DEEP into this inside the episode; but the idea is this – would you hire a freaking plumber that didn’t know the anatomy of a toilet or kitchen sink? Probs not! Quite frankly think it’s dangerous for coaches to not have background knowledge in anatomy. And you don’t need a four year degree for that you guys. You can take classes at anytime or study online for freaking free. The information is out there.
It’s my belief that if you want to be a programming wiz, you need to grasp these things. You don’t need to memorize EVERY muscle, origin and insertion. But it will benefit you to know the big ones, and to understand WHY that matters in program design.
You’re changing human bodies. The least you can do is actually understand the musculature of a human body.
Like I said, number one and two go together, and you’ll have to listen to hear what number two is.
And then number three is really a few bunched into one.
You need to understand progressive overload and how to make that happen overtime. If you don’t know what I am talking about, tune in NOW.
Understanding this training principle allows you to program in a very simple manner. Because there is no need or pressure to change up everything in a program every month or day or week.
There is so little need for that if you understand how to progressively over load the muscle in order to grow or build strength. The only reason to make alterations is to avoid boredom, and to give a new stimulus from a different angle to a muscle group.
Beyond that, you need to have a general understanding of set and rep ranges and what those can yield in the way of strength, hypertrophy, endurance or power. We cover more of this is part 2 (coming next week).
So when people ask what my favorite programming books are I am hesitant to answer because it’s rarely a program guide that they need. But rather a deeper understanding of the human body itself.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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