NCSF Personal Training Study Guide Chapter 16 – Introduction to Exercise Programming 5

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Chapter Goals:

  • Understand the importance of prioritizing the needs of clients.
  • Find how to create the needs analysis for the effective development of programs.
  • Determine the preparation goals, aerobic endurance, hypertrophy-strength, and strength-power phases.
  • Know the right exercises to align with the preparation, aerobic endurance, hypertrophy-strength, and strength-power phases.
  • Find how you can progress core lifts across phases of time.
  • Be able to make a sample program for each of the phases of training.
  • Know the importance of program tracking.

Program Design

The prescription of exercise is premeditated and structured with quantified stress, which is then applied in appropriate dosages to stimulate the body’s physiological system to make adaptations.

For successful program creation, exercise professionals need to identify the physiological needs of the clients and find the specific components of exercise that target them.

Exercise programming for even the average person may be complicated due to the number of health-related considerations, differing personal goals, training aptitudes, and limitations in contact time needed to address all physiological issues.

Prioritizing Needs

To become optimally proficient in the design of exercise programs, one must do these things:

  • Be able to find the most important information within the comprehensive screening and evaluation.
  • Prioritize the defined needs.
  • Knowing the activities and exercises address the problems based on the physiological adaptation response.
  • Use exercise principles and program components in a way to foster the achievement of goals.

Some broad categories that require improvement will highlight in the needs analysis to create more specific lists of objectives for the clients.

Needs Analysis

This helps to categorize the relevant information in client evaluation.

The needs analysis includes the initial interview, screening protocols, behavior questionnaire, resting assessment battery, physical fitness assessments, and client interviews.

The most important factors in the need analysis must be pinpointed and addressed first or at least prioritized early in the program.

It is a good idea to list the findings as they come up.

The three areas of concern in the realm of health and function will be musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and metabolic health.

Musculoskeletal health and function are determined by assessing posture and some functional tests.

Cardiovascular health and function are determined by assessing the resting heart rate and blood pressure.

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Metabolic health and function are determined by assessing body mass index, central grith, body composition, and blood glucose levels.

Cardiorespiratory fitness can be found through the assessment of the many tests for cardiovascular health in the previous CRF chapter.

Muscular fitness can be found through anaerobic strength, endurance, and power testing.

Movement fitness can be found by assessing stability, flexibility, and mobility.

The needs evaluation will likely follow this order:

  1. The assessment done
  2. The issue found in the assessment
  3. The solution for the issue
  4. The exercises which will achieve that solution
  5. And any additional notes of relevance

Preparation Phase

The body cannot manage all stresses simultaneously, so it makes sense to find the major issues first and then establish a plan to restore them to functional levels. This is known as the model of prioritization.

Before adding big challenges, the general preparation or physical readiness phase will be drawn out over weeks or months.

The preparation phase has the general aim of doing four different things:

  • Make the joints function correctly
  • Establish the proper activation of muscles
  • Establish a baseline level of stability
  • Promotion of competency in movement

The preparation phase will rely on progressive warm-ups to help reduce the restriction of movement.

Warm-ups in the early phases must be progressive and emphasize around 5 – 7 issues that the client and exercise professional wish to fix.

Programs should attempt not to have too much variety to establish the quality of movement patterns.

Introducing the multi-planar movements in the prep phases is a good idea. Actions taking place in the three planes allow the client to learn the proper activation of muscles, cooperation, and better joint mobility.

It is also a good idea to have movements in the preparatory phase that can be expanded on and changed in the future phases of endurance, strength, and power.

Time-under-tension is an important concept that means the time that muscles spend under load within a set.

Cooldowns will also be needed to clear the metabolic leftovers, attenuate myofascial tension, and return the blood to the heart.

Anaerobic Endurance Phase

This is the logical next step after the preparation phase’s activities.

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Like with all transitions, certain things will progress, and others will likely remain consistent.

Too much variety will still possibly stop the ability to be proficient in higher levels of movement patterns.

The main goals of the anaerobic phase are going to be:

  • Continuing to promote activation, strength balance, and range of motion
  • Increasing the central and peripheral stability segments
  • Enhancement of ground reaction forces for the transfer and kinetic chain proficiency
  • Increase in mobility and movement competency

Trainers may be able to stress these goals independently of one another, but addressing multiple goals will save time and allow the body to learn better.

Many of the activities here will move to the warm-ups for future activity in the further stages of exercise programs.

Residual adaptations are physiological training effects that are retained for a time period after stopping the particular type of training.

The anaerobic endurance phase mainly consists of open circuit and unilateral movements and provides many exercise combinations.

Hypertrophy – Strength

The hypertrophy-strength phase gets its name because it focuses on increasing lean body mass and improving the muscle’s relative output force.

These hypertrophy phases generally emphasize muscles over movement and use moderate time-tension relationships of around 20 – 45 seconds.

In the hypertrophy-strength phase, pyramids, compound sets, and strip sets will be used to complement the traditional form of hypertrophy sets.

Accumulative fatigue happens when one workout’s effects build up and transfer to the next workout. This is something to look out for with this training style.

The goals of hypertrophy-strength phases will have:

  • The improvement of force transfer across the kinetic chain
  • Increases in lean muscle mass
  • Increases in force output
  • Challenges in the stability and mobility abilities

Warm-ups in this stage will have a combination of corrective strategies and more movement-specific resistant preparations.

The phase will generally last for 3 – 5 weeks when done on the heavier side but 6 – 10 weeks when taken a little more progressively.

The use of more traditional exercises happens in this phase and it also begins the crossover from glycolysis to the phosphagen system.

It is also very common to see programs focus on separate body parts when exercising for 6 days a week, as opposed to full bodywork.

The rest intervals will be a key component in mass and strength development. For strength purposes, we see a longer rest interval being prioritized and the opposite for more of a focus on mass.

The aerobic training that accompanies training will generally shift from modality adjustments to strictly intensity adjustments.

Strength-Power

This is the phase where a focus is put on strength or power but inherently suggests a shift toward increasing movement speeds.

Work speed will be a major focus, as this is what power is about.

Only proficient actions will be done for ballistic movements, as the load is actually exchanged for speed. These ballistic actions are likely to cause harm if they are not done properly.

The activities done in this stage will often all be less than 20 seconds, and thus they will significantly focus on the phosphagen system.

The activity complexity, velocity of movement, and load will determine the sets, time under tension, and load assignments for the exercise.

Progressions and Re-assessments

Writing exercise prescriptions will require ongoing and appropriate management of the need assessment and the client’s defined goals.

All programs must be individualized as this is needed for long-term success.

Progressive changes and re-testing will be important for optimizing and continuing adaptations.

Duration of Program Phases and Cycles

Exercise programs may be aimed at eliciting many adaptive responses. The training cycles that we define are macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles.

Macrocycles are time periods that last 6 – 12 months

Mesocycles are time periods that last less than 3 months

Microcycles are time periods of up to a few weeks and usually include one acute goal

Program Tracking

Programs must be tracked daily to gauge their effectiveness and monitor any problems that may come up during training.

It is also a requirement to track programs from a liability standpoint.

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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