Here are five tips that I believe should be thought of and frequently used during the initiation of a new program to make your athletes and yourself more successful with your training program.
1) Being Aware of Body Basics – When adding new exercises into your program always keep in mind the use of correct technique. This involves a good sense of proper exercise performance through its full range of motion with correct posture and using the proper muscle groups for lifting effectively. Are you driving with your hips during deadlifts and squats? Do you have even weight distribution between legs during your lunges? Are your shoulders pinched back together on the bench and your grip as tight as can be during your bench press? Know how your body should engage and move during the exercises implementing constant assessment and form correction from knowledgeable strength and training partners
2) Know Your Source – Where are you getting your information from? Magazines, pictures, web sites, that crazy yoked guy you saw in the gym? Are the sources you use reputable? There are a ton of training programs out there and there is always something, either good or bad, that can be taken from them, however, is the complete protocol right for you or your athletes? Remember not all programs are designed to fit every single person. It is good to see what others are doing but take only what you need for your individual athletes and compose your own program.
3) Know why you are Choosing Certain Exercises – Most coaches can argue the pros and cons for almost any exercise. A good strength coach will know which exercises should be used in an athlete’s training program to enhance their strengths and bring up their weaknesses. If an athlete cannot perform a certain number of push ups or body weight dips should they be bench pressing? Are power cleans and snatches necessary in the program you are creating? Know exactly why you are using each exercise in your routine and know what exercises are right for the individual you are training.
4) Realize Limitations – We all try to make ourselves and the people we train better each time we head into the gym or the playing field, but ignoring certain limitations may cause great setbacks in training progress. Neglecting minor injuries that need attention could lead to more serious injuries down the road. Most injuries do not need complete time off from training; however some exercise substitutions, lighter weight and set and repetition manipulations may be necessary when you or your athlete cannot train at full capacity.
5) A Little Prehab/Rehab Goes a Long Way – Adding some preventative maintenance work into training programs will pay huge dividends down the road. Foam rolling works out the tight and damaged muscles so they can release and heal properly. Proper warm up drills for the upper and lower body prime the joints and muscles for training.They may not be the most fun movements to do, but a little preventative maintenance will minimize injuries, increase range of motion and potentially create greater athletic success.