10 Principles For Better Programming

Another awesome article from Charles Staley over at T Nation!


Here’s what you need to know…

  There are thousands of training programs out there, but the most effective ones share similar principles.

  Check out the list below and make sure your training program puts most of these principles into action.

There are as many theories about programming as there are coaches who apply them. But in my 30-plus years in the field I’ve found that all successful training programs have common themes. Here are the top 10 most important principles for creating programs that work.

1. What Matters Most Comes First

The more important an exercise is, the earlier it should be placed in the workout. And, according to some, the earlier it should be placed in the week. For a bodybuilder with weak calves, this would mean training calves first in the workout. For a powerlifter with weak triceps, this might mean doing close-grip bench presses rather than the more standard wider grip. For someone with chronic orthopedic issues, it might take the form of specific prehab-rehab drills. The applications are nearly endless but the principle is simple – get to work on what’s most important first while your energy is at its highest.

Seasoned lifters will recognize that this principle contradicts a few other well-established practices, such as:

a. Speed exercises should be placed before strength exercises.
b. Exercises requiring more skill should be done before exercises requiring less skill.
c. Multi-joint exercises should be done before single joint drills.

Although these three “rules of thumb” are all valid, when a conflict arises, they should always take a backseat to prioritizing weaknesses by placing them first in the workout.

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