To help your clients make the most of their time in the gym, practice these three programming tips:
- Use Foundation Lifts
- Use Complex Training
- Use Recreation as a Training Tool  Foundation Lifts  Fundamentlifts are resistance exercises that work on the main muscle groups. As they target the largest muscle groups and increase metabolism, they work best for overall fitness and weight loss goals. Basic lifts are divided into the four categories:
- Bilateral Lower Body Exercises
- Unilateral Lower Body Exercises
- Upper Body Exercises
- Core Exercises
Note that the exercises presented below are not an exhaustive list. They are recommended exercises and a good place to start to make sure all the important muscles are involved.
Bilateral lower body exercises
- Modified deadlift
- Leg press
Unilateral lower body exercises
- Forward or Schrittleine
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Single-legged squat
Upper body exercises [1
- Barbell or weight bench presses
- Cable, machine or belt row
- Barbell or dumbbell bow series  Dips
- Bicycle crunch
- Backward crunching / leg lifting
- Swiss ball crunching
Example Foundation Lift Workout
Rest between sets  Barbell bench press  2-4
65-85% 1 RM
65-85% 1 RM
This training is an agonist-antagonist superset. To change and / or evolve the routine, increase or decrease the number of sets or iterations, resistance, or intra-set recovery periods. Other programming suggestions include upper and lower body super-setting exercises, including core superset exercises and the use of circuits of three or more exercises.
Combined resistance and plyometric training is called complex training and is designed to improve muscle strength (how much power a muscle can generate) and strength (how fast muscle power is generated). Because one of the main goals of the complex training is the development of strength, it is preferred in athletics training. With strategic modifications, however, it can be an extremely effective exercise tool for general fitness and weight loss for advanced to advanced clients.
Referring to the foundation lifts, pair a foundation exercise with a plyometric exercise from the following list to design a complex training
Suggested plyometric exercises
- Tuck jumps
- Bulgarian jump split squat
- Cycled split jumps
- monopod repulsion
- Deep and / or plyometric pushups
- Smith machine blister
When the exercises are selected, it is recommended to take two to four sets of Foundation boost with two to four sets to reinforce plyometric lift as shown in the example workout below.
Sample Complex Training Workout
Rest between sets
Front Squat (foundation)
8 15  65-85% 1 RM
Tuck jumps (plyometric)
Body weight only
- Since the intensity for the plyometric drill is higher than for the foundation buoyancy, the recommended number of reps is lower
- The recovery phase should be longer after the plyometric set compared to the foundation buoyancy.
- You may add an external weight to the plyometric drills, but it is recommended that you complete at least one set without resistance to check the mechanics before adding weight.
Change the level of difficulty in a complex training set Increase or decrease the external weight to change the intensity. The volume can be increased or decreased by changing the number of repetitions. Finally, include shorter or longer intra-set recovery periods to change the intensity of the entire workout.
Recovery as a Training Tool
The key to using recovery as a training tool is to recognize that recovery is an active physiological process that plays a key role in conditioning, muscle building, and performance. The length and composition of the intra-set recovery periods are critical programming variables. During a session, an active recovery can be something like in-place jogging or dynamic stretching between sets. Moving between sets will prepare the muscles and other supportive systems, such as the heart, for the next. It also keeps the metabolic rate high, improves cardiovascular fitness and increases the benefits of the weight loss exercise.
After training recovery is even more important. It is during recovery that the actual rebuilding of muscle tissue takes place and muscles gain mass and strength. During exercise, muscle is broken down or catabolized; Conversely, during recovery, the muscles reconstruct or regenerate after the session.
When it comes to using recovery as a positive programming tool, intra-set recovery is critical. However, the length of time between sessions is just as important. Research suggests that 48 hours of rest are required for the muscles to return to baseline after high intensity training (85% 1RM or higher). Note, however, that inactivity of more than 96 hours may result in detraining (Carter and Greenwood, 2014).
If you follow some important programming strategies, it's easy to safely and effectively build, modify, and refine your clients' workouts and programs.
Carter, J. and Greenwood, M. (2014). Complex training re-reviewed: review and recommendations to improve strength and strength. Force and Conditioning Journal, 36, 2, 11-19.