"Programming for the Beginner"(3.23.2011)

Programming for the Beginner Athlete”

Programming for the beginner athlete will be the most important task a coach will endure as a trainer of a physical movement. This section will discuss in brief terms the overall goal as a coach to program for a beginner athlete in a strength phase or cycle. In retrospect, programming for a beginner athlete can be the easiest thing for the coach, because at most times your beginner athlete will be brand new to the movements, and inevitable will see results. Many programs will consist of single sets, multiple sets, high volume, high intensity, super slow, supersets, giant sets, and etc. The choices are endless and abundant, but the way you program it will determine the way your athlete excels in your program. Any adapation for the beginner athlete will show results, because they have gone through little adaptation throughout their lives. Most beginner athletes will actually recover and be able to increase training load within a very small window ranging from 24 to 72 hours. A beginner program must progressively increase work load as rapdily as possible as tolerable so that increase results happen in a useful way. Do not try to reinvent the wheel and come up with some fancy program, keep it to the basics and build upon your program, as your athlete becomes more advanced in your understudy. The beginner athlete actually adapts much quicker to stress than the typical strength and conditioning coach would believe so. The best time to train again after the first session is within 48 to 72 hours after their first session.

I recommend to train your beginner athlete 3 days a week. A schedule would like this. Train the person on Monday, have them rest on Tuesday, and then train Wednesday, rest on Thursday, and then train again on Friday. Generally 2 to 3 workouts a week will generate excellent results and you will see progress. A novice or beginner, generally means they have little weight training in their background, and these are the bulk of your clients inside a CrossFit Gym. Novice lack the motor skills to perform higher skilled movements, so keep to the basic barbell exercises and repeat these barbell exercises frequently to establish the basic motor pathways to excel in their program.

The first movements to be taught should be the squat, deadlift, press, and bench press. The next movements to be taught should be the higher skilled movements, such as the power clean and power snatch, as their skill level permits them to learn these highly skilled movements. After a few weeks of successful training in the basic barbell exercises, you may introduce the power clean, as this is considered the core exercises for most sports, but cannot be allowed in a beginner’s program until you are comfortable with their ability to perform the basic barbell exercises.

Once the basic barbell exercises have been mastered, you may begin to add in such assistance exercises, such as back extensions, glute ham raises, as these are very useful for building up the spinal erectors and hip erectors. Be smart with choosing these movements, as they are both great exercises, but can be very detrimental to someone’s health if they are not trained correctly or properly shown in a gym setting. The next movement you can teach for the back developement is the barbell row, which is a great exercise to build up great back strength if done properly. For assistance to the upper body, you may add in chin-ups or pull-ups, which work the entire arms and upper back muscles, which are vital for pulling movements.

What Sets Should I Use?
Well, you got to ask yourself as a coach, what is your athlete training for in the future. The follow repetitions are good for the following developement:
1. Absolute Strength is gained by using very low reps between 1 and 3
2. Mass is increased by using higher reps between 10 and 12
3. Local Muscular and Systematic Endurance is developed through even higher reps at 20 or more.

For the Novice and my best advice is to use 5 reps at sets. This is right in the middle of anaerobic endurance for strength and provides increases in strength, which is our primary focus for the novice client.

What Template Should I Use for the Beginner?
Any strength program will probably garner some improve strength for the beginner athlete. Through my data and analysis, I have seen that Linear Progression in weights can be best used for the Novice Athlete. Every workout will garner a strength improvement, so stick with the linear progression for the novice athlete. As your athlete becomes more aware of the movements, and they begin to show signs of reaching the Intermediate Stage, you can bump them up to Sets Across for their strength development. As progress begins to slow in the linear wave cycle, you can use smaller increments to ensure safety from physical and mental fatigue.

Be Smart about Programming and Always Think of what Your Doing!

Next to come is the Model to use for Strength Training on the Vagabond Blog!