Have you ever looked at your trainer’s plan for the day and wondered how did he plan this exercise equation? Without an educated eye, it can be nearly impossible to do. If you’re not interested in understanding why that is totally fine. Plenty of clients come just for convenience and the community, which is awesome. This blog is for new clients who want to learn how to eventually do things on their own or understand the thought process of a coach. I can’t say this applies to every coach out there, but here is how I personally approach things with newer trainees.
Being a Coach and Starting with New Clients
New clients come with their own individual needs and goals; my job is to figure out what those needs are and map out the most efficient route toward their goals. Starting training can be looked at like learning the piano. You don’t start by learning Mozart’s Requiem in D minor. You start by learning the individual keys and eventually progress to learning Hot Cross Buns. Training is very much the same. Clients start with learning the basic movement patterns and how to do them well.
An example of this would be learning how to squat. I tend to start people with a goblet squat unless there are reasons why they need a more regressed version. The weight isn’t anything crazy like a barbell squat, which allows the individual to learn the skill at first without feeling like they are getting crushed.
Now is a good time to loop back to the piano scenario. If you’re learning to play the piano, you obviously want to do it often. This goes especially for the first year or so while learning the basics. Squatting is a skill in itself as well, which means it needs to be practiced and honed before you play any of Mozart’s classics. No matter the skill, the brain needs time to learn before we drive more ‘output’.
What does this mean?
The output would be squatting with a barbell or even something like a leg press. Both of them allow moving more overall weight. Heck, if the goal is simply improved aesthetics, you don’t even need to squat. A leg press will allow you to move more weight from the start and expedite the muscle growth process. Just make sure not to do it until you’re unable to walk for a week straight. I would usually have a client doing both as soon as possible to drive both skill and output in moderation.
This idea of ‘skill’ can obviously be applied to any exercise, whether it’s benching, rowing, squatting, or any other exercise you can think of. Get good at it first, then find ways to load movements or progress movements for more ‘output’.
How I Apply This
We now have an idea of how the training process works. Once that we learn the skills, we push for more of a stimulus in the form of increased weight or reps, running further/faster, etc. over time. Then progress movements or stimulus over time as it aligns with your goals. Just remember to eat and sleep well enough to recover so that you can stay consistent.
And of course, the number of days you have available to train will dictate how your plan is organized. You only train 2 days a week and want to bench 225? We’re probably benching both days, starting with dumbbells to learn. You have 3 days to train? You can spread out the amount of work you do on your benching during the week, with the ability to practice more frequently. A 2-day split would be a couple of full-body days for a beginner, while a 3-day split could look more like 3 full-body days that eventually become a push/pull/legs split over time.
This will allow you to do better work on specific muscles in one day and for good rest between sessions. In my next blog post, we’ll do a part 2 to this that goes a little more in-depth about how many exercises to do in a session, how many reps/sets to do, among other things!
If you want to learn more about my coach perspective and my approach with new clients, feel free to contact us. You can also check out our Instagram, where we post tips, workouts and important fit information from each coach to our clients.