As I sit here, programming countless hours of exercise for the athletes that I care for, I often find myself struggling with making decisions about what workouts are truly best for the classes. The difficulty lies within me recalling specific athlete’s weaknesses and how I can’t program the whole class to perform the same thing because so-and-so has it as a weakness. I also find that developing the strength to perform some movements is not completely necessary for those that already have strength in that department. An example would be the pull-up. A lot of people are good at pull-ups, while many others cannot perform 1. How can these athletes be on the same program? How can I program the same volume in the shoulder when some athletes have great balance in the shoulder while many do not? There are many other factors that need to be considered as well. How much sleep is everyone getting? How much food are they eating and what is the quality of that food? What stresses are being put on everyone? How consistent or inconsistent are people being with their gym routine?
It is impossible for me to know and track all of these, for 100+ people, AND create a program that suites them all equally. This is the point: The program is a template to health and longevity. The workouts are designed for people to move with certain mechanics, consistently, and at a preconceived intensity and have everyone feel as though they had “fun” or accomplished something. That being the case, not everyone will perform 10 rounds of 5 pullups and 5 burpees the same at all! This means that every athlete needs to take their workout into their own hands and make some decisions about the work ahead. Given the above workout, if an athlete cannot perform pull-ups at all, then they should perhaps take the workout time to develop the strength in their lats and grip. Say they haven’t performed cardio for a while though, then just lower the reps and scale the pull-ups and keep the burpees. This way they can move fairly continuously throughout the workout and get some work on pull-ups and preserve the desired intensity with still doing burpees. This is not me saying that you have to coach yourself! The opposite really. You should be able to ask your coach for advice and that coach should be able to lay out several options that will do the job!
What I plan on doing moving forward is to add options below the workouts that people can add or do instead in order to develop the strength and skills required to improve. They will be organized into different categories depending on the movement and there will be options for preserving stimulus while scaling. Through communication with the coaches and working on the things you need to improve, you can make the workouts exactly what YOU need.