It is quite funny sometimes and sometime quite frustrating when I speak to people about training. A lot of personal trainers take all of their clients through same program – because it’s easy and or they are just lazy. I believe / know everyone is different – skill levels, needs and wants from a program. That is why I write individualised programs for everyone I work with. Oops a bit of topic there yes writing a program may not be rocket science but there is a science to writing a good program and one that is not worth the piece of paper it is written on.
Today I want to talk about and hopefully educate you about some of the overlooked training components that can be the difference between a successfully program giving the client results compared to a generic one that has just been edited to have your name at the top of it.
Tempo’s – you may not have ever heard it used before in relation to training but the tempo of an exercise can greatly impact the effectiveness of a chosen exercise. The tempo is the time taken to lift the weight, pause and lower the weight. The first number usually represents the first phase of the exercise. For example a Squat may have a 2:1:2 tempo – which is 2 seconds down: 1 Second pause and 2 seconds up. Many programs don’t specify tempo’s and or people don’t follow tempo’s and complete the set much faster than they should. Tempo’s effect the exercises TUT (time under tension) which is my next point.
TUT (time under tension) – so 8 to 12 reps are best for Hypertrophy (make muscles bigger) hey? Yes technically that is correct but did you know that the set should last 40 – 70 seconds? Yes that’s right so if you pump out 12 as fast as you can you aren’t really going to get the desired result! What I find frustrating is trainers and people are often doing a really good exercise (particularly for posture / injury) but the TUT targets the wrong type of muscle fibres meaning they again won’t get the desired result. This is especially important for corrective exercises.
Rest – Taking a rest between sets in not being lazy. Rest gives muscles time to recovery so that you can complete another set with good technique. If you feel as though you don’t need a rest between sets maybe you are not following the TUT, the correct tempo or the weight simply isn’t challenging enough. Rest periods should be longer for heavier lifts with fewer repetitions, and shorter for higher repetitions using lighter weights.
So as you can see there are a few more variables than just the weight and number of repetitions and sets. Add to that choosing the best exercise for that individual client, coupled with the clients goals and needs means that writing a program can take some time and thought –that is if you don’t overlook the training components discussed above.