How to write your own training programme (Part 1: Choose your goal)

Home / Blog / How to write your own training programme (Part 1: Choose your goal)

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. This is one of my favourite proverbs and one that is quite important in the fitness industry. By teaching people the key principles of training and nutrition, everyone will hopefully fall for fad diets and be able to come up with their own diet plan and training plan for themselves. With that being said, sometimes it can be hard to put all the principles of training together to form a good training programme. In this series of articles, I hope to help you create your own programme and perfect it over time.

The first thing you need to think about when creating your programme is your goal. This seems like a pretty basic step but you need to spend time figuring out a long term goal and then maybe some shorter term goals. These goals need to be specific as your training is going to be based entirely around this goal. The law of specificity dictates that training should stimulate the underlying systems that you are trying to improve. This basically means that if you are trying to increase muscle size then you need to train in a way that will stimulate muscle growth. This means training in the 8-20 rep range with 65-80% of your one rep max rather than running 10km a day. This principle seems pretty obvious but you will be surprised by the number of people who say they want to gain muscle and are then doing HIIT sessions on the rowing machine 4 times per week.

Another principle to consider her is the SAID principle. This basically means that, in order for training to be effective, training should be aimed to improve one aspect of fitness at a time. This means that if you want to get stronger and bigger in the long term then you are better off focussing on strength for periods of time and maintaining size and then focussing on gaining size for a period of time and maintaining strength rather than trying to get bigger and stronger at the same time.

So what we have established so far is that training needs to be specific to a goal and training should be dedicated to one aspect of that goal at a time. This means you need a long term goal (maybe where you would like to be in 12 months time) but then also need shorter, even more specific goals which your training programme should be aiming to reach. But what should your training look like for different goals? How is strength training different to muscle building? Well hopefully the table below can help clear up these questions.

Training Goal

Intensity

Reps/ Duration

Aerobic

60-100% max heart rate

>20 minutes

Muscular Endurance

<65% of 1RM

>15 reps

Hypertrophy

60-75% of 1RM

8-20 reps

Strength

75-90% of 1RM

3-6 reps

Power

0-60% of 1RM

1-5 reps

Hopefully this table gives you a rough idea of what sort of training you should be doing depending on your goals. The last thing I want to touch on in this section is the compatibility of different training styles. Above I have listed 5 training styles and in some way or another they compliment each other but some to a lesser degree than others. What I mean by this is that your training may not have to look overly specific to your long term goal in the short term if it is aimed at improving a trait that may help your long term progress. To give an example, if your long term goal is to get stronger then you might choose to dedicate some time to training for hypertrophy in the hope that building more muscle will allow you to build more strength in the long run. As I said previously, some training styles do not compliment others anywhere near as much. For example, it might be a waste of time for a strength athlete to spend months on aerobic training as it will likely lead to some muscle loss as well as shift muscles from being more fast twitch to more slow twitch which is problematic for strength. The following table shows the compatibility of different training styles. If you are doing a style of training that is not compatible with your long term goal then you should consider changing to a more compatible training style.

Aerobic

Endurance

Hypertrophy

Strength

Power

Aerobic

 –

X

X

X

Endurance

 –

✓/X

X

X

Hypertrophy

X

✓/X

 –

Strength

X

X

 –

Power

X

X

 –

There is one small note I would like to add to this table is that there is a tick between endurance and hypertrophy. I have put a tick and a cross because there is a style of hypertrophy training known as metabolite training which can look fairly similar to endurance training although the goal is not to improve endurance. For the most part these styles are not compatible apart from in that circumstance.

I hope this article has been useful. There are going to be three more parts to this series and hopefully by the end of it you will be able to make a good start at writing your own training programme.

Speak to you guys again soon.

Albie

Related Posts

Leave a Comment