So you want to get strong and build muscle, but how in the world do you create a workout program to do that?
This blog post is meant for two different type of people:
1. The personal trainers and coaches wanting to become better at designing a strength program.
& 2. Clients wanting to understand the reasoning behind the program they’re on.
I want to start this off by saying that strength training is not a one size fits all approach.
There’s individual considerations that need to be taken into account when designing a program for a client.
However, overall there are a few basic components you’ll typically find with an effective strength program.
Foundational Strength Movements
I consider the foundational strength movements the squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press. Inside of a basic strength program the goal should be to complete each of those lifts 1x per week. So, that breaks up into 4 days of workouts. If the program that you follow doesn’t complete each of those lifts in some variation or capacity, then I encourage you to inquire with your coach as to why.
With each foundational lift, there are complimentary accessory exercises that pair with each day. An accessory movement, in my books, is typically a single joint exercise that is used to correct imbalances, build proper movement patterns and strengthen those smaller muscle groups. For example, on a day that my client is squatting I will program complimentary accessory movements such as a single leg squat, banded hamstring curl or glute bridge.
Progressive overload is a technique used in strength training where you gradually increase the stress place upon the body via. Weight increases, time under tension, frequency, volume or complexity of the exercise. AKA- Gradually increasing the difficulty. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to add weight onto the bar every week for your back squat, although that is a tool, but you can also progressively overload the muscle by increasing the amount of time you spend under the weight using tempos.
De-load Weeks & Days Off
Notice how I mentioned a basic strength program needing no more than 4 days a week of workouts? Thats because YOUR BODY NEEDS REST TO RECOVER. I think that proper recovery days, full rest days and reload weeks are the most underutilized component of a strength program. You can’t expect to build muscle if your body doesn’t have the proper nutrition, rest and recovery to do so.