The modern environment facing you the professional in the Fitness Industry is one of information overload. You can type into Google any fitness term you want and you will find hundreds of thousands of results. You can search Amazon for fitness related books and find the same. There a literally thousands of “experts” around the world professing to know the answers, and you may find any number of fads from these experts on any shopping channel, high street “box” or in any supplement company owned fitness publication. That's not to mention the number of Scientific Journals there are to supposedly provide evidence. In order to be truly effective In your application of your tools you need to know exactly which information you trust and which you cant. My aim will be to outline just how the best professionals do this, and I will tell you how I do this in order to maximise my Athletes performance.

Getting your programming wrong can literally lead to serious injury at worst or the loss of a client at best. You as a fitness professional whether you work with Athletes or not should not want either. One famous incident which highlights what poor use of available information can do is the Spinal injury of Crossfitter Kevin Ogar. He was injured in a poorly programmed “Throwdown” which exhibited many facets of a poorly programmed workout with misapplied concepts. There were first a higher number of hip dominant exercise movements than there should have been. Secondly there was the use of Olympic lifting in a low rest situation. Olympic lifters allow high rest between executions of a movement and so are aware of when they need they should the training session. Due to this not taking place a failed Snatch resulted in a severe Spinal injury which could have been avoided with proper programming. I'm not targeting Crossfit to single anything out, and I don't want to give that impression. There is bad programming coming from any one such as GP's to Personal Trainers. This incident merely highlights what happens when we get this truly wrong. It's something the whole industry needs to be aware of. You need a step by step way of getting through the minefield and providing only the best for your Client or Athlete.

The First Rule: I shall do no harm

Your starting point before you apply anything should like Doctors be the first rule of “Do no harm”, and you would be surprised how much injury prevention is a forgotten aspect on many professionals programming outline. The very first part of applying this first rule is sourcing your information. It may be a controversial idea but Fitness Trainers and Strength Coaches are not the best people to provide expert advice on how you should train. These people don't make a career of studying movement in as much as depth as needed to reach correct conclusions. As much as you think they do there is no replacing the knowledge of someone who works in this area day in and day out with many sections of the population whether it's Clinical or Athlete targeted. Your training concepts should be guided by Physiotherapists, Kineasiologists, Biomechanics and other professionals in similar areas. Changing your focus on where you get your concepts from will greatly improve you level of knowledge, the standard of service you provide and allow your Athletes to stay safe during the process of undertaking your programming.

Risk to reward ratio should always be your guide for anything you do decide to use based on how you source your knowledge. If there injury risks or injury rates are higher than the rewards to given to Athlete then there should be no place for the given method within your programming, however if you cant avoid a certain training method then you need to find the safest way possible to manage the loading of it when applying it to your athletes. Of course the factors influencing a methods safety will be affected by age, experience and prior physical conditioning levels.

Focused Application-The 3 Questions

To make your way through the minefield of information that faces you there needs to be a simple, clear and focused way of questioning the material in front you. This will greatly simplify the application of your own concepts and focus your method in a more client focused way. Using this focus you will greatly enhance your knowledge, credibility and the performance of your Athlete through a solid evidence based approach. You can do this following the 3 questions below in the order given. Work through this and draw your conclusions from the right sources as described above.

  1. What will work best for the goals of my Athlete/Client?
  2. Why does this work best? Question this critically. Why does it work best? What is the reason for the use of the method as described? Its place in the program along other methods? The order of application?
  3. Which Specialist/Coach/Program has already achieved the goals I'm looking for and why? In this step you're looking for evidence and successful application over time. You can then adapt and apply.

Your Obligation the Athlete

Our clients put their trust in us as professionals and it is misguided to think we have right to risk their safety by exposing them to many injury risks which can be avoided with correct sourcing and application of information in our programming. You owe it to them to improve your knowledge base and focus with specific questioning towards the right solutions. This is not the only model for searching for solutions but it is by far the simplest and the one I've had best results from. Which ever model you use the concepts of the model still apply. You owe it to those who train with you to take that time find the right solutions. To not do so is letting those down who put their trust in you as professionals.


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