Programming IS NOT easy. Those that just take an excel sheet, plug in numbers and spit out sets, reps, and when to train are a load of crap (in my opinion). No one person is the same, and thus, no program should really be the same. Now, I understand in the collegiate S&C setting, things have to kind of happen because of time restraints but even those programs are usually tweaked for individuality based off of position, time played, experience, etc.

While the programs you listed are pretty good (especially for beginners!), actually writing a program isn’t easy OR a short process. This is why paying a coach to do your programming IS NOT cheap. The cheaper the program, usually the better chance it’s just an excel sheet or template they have sitting in a file folder. I write all my programs for clients and myself, and some times it takes days because I’ll have a different idea spark my mind.

Now, for as the things you listed, I think you’ve got a really good start on where to go with programming. You’ve got most of the basics listed, which is great. While it’s awesome to use science to back up your programming, I think you also have to have some creativity and « experience » with training as well. Think of it this way, if everyone trained with the ACSM guidelines, how many powerlifters would you see using boards, chains, bands, unique attachments/bars, box squats, and the like? Probably none. So while it’s great to base your programming off science, it shouldn’t just based off academic research alone.

I would recommend you pick up some good reading material, such as the following:

Periodization Training for Sports 2nd Edition

Principles and Practice of Resistance Training

Science and Practice of Strength Training

Theory and Methodology of Training

Triphasic Training

Weightlifting Programming: A Winning Coaches Guide

Block Periodization

Block Periodization 2: Fundamental Concepts & Training Design


Elitefts™ Deadlift Manual

While a hefty list, these are all great reads and should give you some good background and help.

Now, the best advice I can give you, is to just start writing programs! You can’t get better if you don’t practice. You don’t have to give the programs to anybody, but take them to people smarter than you and have them look it over, try them out on yourself, or if you’re lucky have a friend give it a shot and see what they think.

A good place to start is with Preplin’s Chart. Here’s a picture that I use frequently to help with my programming:

If I had to lay out some really simple basics though for you to get started it would be these:

Pull Ups

What does the sport, client, athlete or demands look like? How much experience do they have?

Get stronger and better at things that suck!

What kind are you going to use?

Does it make sense? Can it be easily followed? Does it allow for progression? Do the splits make sense? Is exercise order in a methodical sequence? Does it allow for optimal recovery?

While this seems like a lot, I hope I gave you something you can use. Once you have the education down, it really just comes down to practicing. Look at it like training, we all started off not knowing how to squat right…but once someone taught us we just had to practice to get better, and then it « clicks ». Feel free to shoot me any follow up questions if you need to!


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