3 Points on planning for performance

Here are some more planning considerations from an S&C perspective that must be considered. If you missed my recent 2am rant on this you should check it out here before reading this!

1. If you add something in you have to take something out!

Kelvin Giles mentioned this in his recent workshop at Leeds Met stating that:

“before you add something into the programme, ask yourself the question what do you need to sacrifice to accommodate it?”

So many times when things are going well we always look to add more. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

However when things do need changing it should be steadily introduced at the expense of something else. Consider the demands of the newly introduced element from a fatigue perspective. Sometimes it’s better to wait until you have a competition free period before adding anything in at all.

2. Periodisation has to fit the sport AND the athlete.

Everyone needs a range of qualities to compete at any sport, and these should be all within the programme to some degree. We know this. But novice trainees need to emphasise basic strength development over any other quality. Forget power, specific strength, plyometrics etc. Have elements of all of these in the programme but the emphasis has to be on basic strength. How do you know when you are a novice? When you can put more weight on the bar every week in pretty much every exercise and still recover for your next session ready to go again!

Intermediate trainees can certainly include more power and specific work but the emphasis still needs to be on developing basic and maximal strength.

For me a 1.5x bodyweight squat and deadlift, bodyweight clean for a set of 3-5 reps, 5 good chins and 0.75x BW press are good measures of passing through the intermediate stage of training for female athletes obviously depending on your sport.

Male athletes more like 1.75x BW Squat/Deadlift, 1.2-1.5x BW Press, 5 chins with 0.5xBW, and a clean of around 1.2 x BW for 3 sets of 3-5 reps is a good range of strength.

Once these are roughly achieved I tend to think a lot more about specific strength qualities.

Mark Rippletoes’ excellent text ‘Practical Programming for Strength’ is well worth a read if you’re looking for more detailed information on categorising athletes like this.

3. Work Capacity VS Recovery Ability

Have to give credit to Kelvin Giles again for flagging this up in my mind. I have been talking about planning and programming a lot lately as well as controlling volume in general. It really is not about the amount of work you can do in a given session, whilst this is a factor of course, as important is the ability to recover from the work.

I think a lot of us are or have been guilty of this at some time. Whether you prescribe it or witness it from sports coaches you work with is irrelevant. If the athletes can’t recover from it you’ve done too much, irrespective of how they perform in that given session.

It doesn’t have to hurt to make you better, a little and often is generally better than a lot all at once!

That’ll do for today, let me know your thoughts!



  1. Mathieu December 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Hey very informative article!

    I just wanted to know: The “press” you refer to when you say 1.2-1.5BW press (for males) is the regular bench press or is it another exercise?

    Also, can you specify: a male able to perform the 1.75 bw squat, 5 chins with 0.5 bw etc etc is considered an intermediate or an advanced athlete from your perspective? If you consider him as an intermediate, what would the numbers be to be considered “advanced”.

    Thanks alot


    P.S. good to see that you wrote this email while watching badminton! I’m actually a badminton player and I benefited alot form reading your “building badminton athletes” article!

    1. Brendan Chaplin December 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Mathieu,

      Thanks for the comment. The press is referring to a horizontal press whether it be bench, dumbell etc.
      The strength standards are for an intermediate lifter for progression into advanced, but it rarely happens in this way as certain lifts will be stronger than others and more advanced techniques can be used in these whilst using intermediate strategies for other areas.
      Its really to say that until you get to around these levels very specific types of strength and power development may not be as appropriate.
      Hope that makes sense!
      And yes badminton players can be as strong as any other athletes given consistency and dedication! Glad you enjoyed my badminton article!