A basic introduction to designing your own training plan

July 13, 2021

A basic introduction to designing your own training plan.

Lazy man’s summary: Plan around the seven primal movements and you can’t go far wrong
  • One way of approaching a complex subject.
  • Based on personal experience
  • Biased towards the structure I prefer…I care not

The basis of any successful programme, except the hyper-specialised, are the primal movements, supported by big compound exercises. Once you have this firmly lodged in your brain, you’ll find that structure is very easy to achieve… Qué?

The Primal Patterns are defined as the following:

The primal 7 patterns of human movement

Good guide but I would add to that…As a human you should be able to squat to depth, lung, press above your head, press forward, press down, hinge at the hip, pull from above your head and from your front and rotate. Cool, so far, so simple. Structure your workouts around these. I have underlined those which absolutely take priority.

  1. Squat- Squat variations…duh
  2. Lunge- Lunge variations, Step up variations
  3. Press Above head- Overhead Press variations, Pike Press Ups etc…
  4. Press Forward- Bench variations, Press Up variations etc…
  5. Hinge- Deadlift variations, Good Morning variations, broad jump etc..
  6. Pull Above- Pull Up, Lat Pull down…etc
  7. Pull from the front- Row variations8. Rotate- Cable Rotations
“Pull Ups are for winners.” - Oliver Cromwell 1632

Now, let’s look at some considerations. Here are some basic assumptions you can make and what it means for you:

1. Your posterior chain (behind you) is under-trained relative to your anterior chain (front).

You will need to prioritise pulling movements both in volume and when you’re short on time. There are other important reasons for this but that can be discussed another time.

2. You are not flexible enough.

The start of your training should be mobility focused and the end should include flexibility goals. The cool down is not just that irritating bit at the end your normally skip. We know you do. We enjoy those sweet gains of full range of motion training, all along my muscle fibre length, because we develop and maintain flexibility.

3. There will be days when you cannot complete your full workout or will not have access to all the equipment you require.

Use the basic rules you have been taught to develop back-ups. Sometimes the equipment will be busy, time will be short, or you will be away. Habit is vital, see Habit Maintenance. Therefore, you need a plan. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN!

“That species with the greatest ass is most likely to survive.” Charles Darwin 1869

4. Your glutes (ass) won’t be firing correctly

A good priming warm is required on leg days, I recommend Limber 11 by Joe DeFranco. Every leg needs additional glute work. Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy and author of The Glute Lab, is your man for a guide to glute exercises, rep ranges etc…

5. You have rounded shoulders and excessively curved lumbar spine (Kyphosis and anterior pelvic tilt)

Your posterior work, so pulling and glute work, is vital for pulling you back into shape.

6. You will have imbedded cross patterns which affect your performance (differences between the left and right side of your body)

You should have some single arm and single leg work in your programme (unilateral). A good place for this is the second movement you complete.

Right, the session itself, what does it look like? Well in the interest of brevity have a look at these:

More detail will be provided in later posts

That is a lighting fast overview of one way to approach planning your strength training. It will work, that much is certain. There are other ways to skin a cat, but these are the principles we train by. Have a look at our programmes, the key tenets outlined here will always feature. When planning the whole piece, recovery rates, interrelating energy systems and individual differences play a much larger role.

“Never skip leg day.” - Mother Theresa 1962

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