Brendan’s Blog: STOP getting people stronger !
Let me share something quickly with you…
It’s NOT simply getting stronger and more powerful that matters.
Purely chasing numbers is generally just NOT the right way to go for athletes and for the general public either.
As coaches our job is to achieve a result. Improving sports performance, making people move better, reducing injuries etc etc.
This doesn’t happen overnight so what we need to do is build programmes that allow people to enjoy and engage with training for years to come. That means they stay with you long term too (generally a good thing right?!)
Let’s keep our eye on the prize otherwise we end up simply doing ‘stuff’ with no real purpose. And this is when the results stagnate or you even start going backwards.
With this in mind to achieve the target result we need to progress people through a movement journey to continue challenging them.
However to do this we MUST have a series of smart progressions . If we don’t then a couple of things can happen.
The first is training stagnation. People will just get bored doing the same old session all of the time. Even the very best need variation!
The second is over specialisation. Not a good thing as training needs to have a high exposure to general movement patterns before going specific. Specialisation can lead to injury down the line. And certainly can lead to being under prepared for whatever activities your clients may face.
Here’s an example progression that I generally use for the squat pattern:
Hands in front squats
Hands behind head squats
Back Squats with 2s pause
Etc, etc etc.
The athlete or client must display competence in hands in front squats before moving on to hands behind head squats and through the rest of the patterns.
All of the above movements can be trained and manipulated by adding complexity, load, speed, fatigue and many other variables. So of course when strength is a goal you can choose movements that they are capable of performing well and load these up to build strength. But you’re not limited to the classic Back Squat, bench press, bent rows, and deadlifts either.
Looking at the list above you could literally build thousands of different movement challenges just by combining the movements with the different progression variables.
You can even go lower level if you need to. If you have injured clients or you feel they need it. Eg wall squats, swiss ball squats.
When you’re armed with this ability to progress people through movement challenges your sessions instantly become competency based meaning your clients need to display competence before progressing.
You can then instantly use your movements as movement testing as well as performance training giving you, the client, and the coach if required very accurate feedback on a daily basis. Very handy!
You are also able to instill an ‘Earn the Right (Kelvin Giles)’ culture in your sessions. So people know that they need to show they can perform movements well before progressing. This moves away from purely loading people up and focuses more on quality. Again very handy.
You can train people of different abilities at the same time , with quality, where they all get better. This is massive when you have group based training sessions.
But it does mean that us as coaches must know our progressions. And this is the hard bit, because it’s not just squatting.
We need the same for single leg squatting.
The same for the deadlift or hip hinge.
The same for split stance squatting.
The list goes on and on.
So get playing and experimenting to find your progressions!
In our Long Term Athlete Development module on the Level 4 I include a resource I created that I’ve never released in any video or product elsewhere which has ALL these progressions on it and more. Along with practical coaching and implementation of this system. It’s a really useful resource. You can check out the Level 4 HERE.
NOW is actually a really good time to speak with one of our Performance Consultants as we have some new venues opening up very soon as we expand across the UK and beyond.
I’ll leave you with this.
Stop concentrating on purely loading people up and start focusing on creating engaging coaching sessions and programmes. People will be excited to train. They will come prepared. And guess what…they will achieve more personal bests.
The wider the base the higher the peak.
To your success,
PS: If you like the philosophy and angle i’m coming from in this article from I’d love to invite you to apply for our Level 4 course. We are looking for people like you who want to do things better and really make a difference. Fill in your details on the form below and we will be in touch.
Thanks in advance!