Program Design

What soucres do you guys draw upon to creatine your own templates for the program design of yourself and clients? I am in the process of using a multiple amount of resourses

All of charlie’s products, Bompa’s Periodisation book, Supertraining, this forum… thats about it.

I use Charlie’s logic in constructing the training. Over the years, even before I met and trained with him, Charlie’s approach just seemed the most rational and I kept coming back to it again and again after trying other approaches.

However, notice that I use the word logic, rather than template or model. Be careful when drawing from multiple sources. If you don’t understand the underlying rationale for a given training approach, you might end up adopting elements from different programs that do not really fit together.

Definitely learn from multiple sources, but when it comes to combining elements from different training programs and approaches, ask youself if they are logically compatible.

The last point was a bit “big picture”, so let me give you an example. Much of the training and periodization literature is specifically focused on strength training or uses strength traning as its main context. The strength training is usually treated in isolation. However, when you introduce speed training into the equation everything has to be rebalanced. Outside of Charlie’s work, I have seen precious little material devoted to this rebalancing, and what little I have seen either references Charlie or rips him off.

In this same vein, think about people who read about how the Bulgarian weightlifting team trained and then tried to incorporate this with American football players or other sports.

I think the word “template” is throwing me off right now.
There are general principles and you work from there according to the individauls needs, etc.
What type of info are you looking for exactly? Id like to be more of help but i need alittle more info.


weel basically just, what frame work do you use in order to design your programs. yes I know individual factors but program design is a tough tough method. Guys like Alwyn Cosgrove make alot of money off of just teaching people how to design them

Are you specifically talking about track work, weights, etc.
Alwyne is the new guy in town? Selling something? What else is new!
If you want a great refernce guide on how to design strength workouts I would go to the store and purchase the CFTS (this gem has goodies on program design for for everything from weights-track work-restoration-streching-etc-GET IT!).
And Christian Thibs books, also on the site is packed with great info.
I use all three books regualrly to keep me in check.

You can download all three right now.

Hope this helps


I think it is Charlie’s basic philosophy that has helped me the most. Whatever way you train you need to have a philosophy that guides you (whether it is “wrong” or right). The idea of vertical integration is just so important to being able to produce a good plan. Before I used it I just did everything on instinct and my hit rate was sporadic.

Along with philosophy, I guess I am also talking about general rules of thumb for example my number 1 rule is:

“Each workout (of a specific type) should (in general) be percieved by the athlete as being about as difficult as the last. However, in absolute terms over time the sessions should get increasingly more demanding.”

Obviously this doen’t take into account rest days or deliberately easier sessions. The thing you have to keep in mind is that if you work the athlete too hard one day then when the next training session comes around they will be too fatigued (or tight) to do the session so while you might have throught it was good push the boundaries to the limit with the last workout in reality all you have done is make the next one redundant.

I would prefer to move the boundary more smoothly and get a seemless improvement one that is almost impossible to notice over the short term and only becomes apparent in the long term.

However, this causes what some psychologists call the Apex Problem. The fact that once the athlete gets to the top (improves) they don’t realise how much they have changed. So use video footage not so much for analysis but as a record of improvement.

Last year I trained an athlete for 3 months in the summer, while she was home from Uni. At the end of it she said that she liked the training didn’t think she had really improved (because i wasn’t killing her every session like she was used to). That made me feel a little miffed because I felt she had improved significantly.

Anyway, the next week she phones me and says that she decided to do an open meet near her mothers house just for fun and that she had knocked 0.3 off her 200m time and 2 hours later broke her PB in the 400m by 0.05 despite a strong wind and cold conditions - in a race she only entered because another runner dropped out at the last minute.

Just because a coach tries to make money doesn’t mean that their ideas don’t deserve a look. Most of the reason why good training information isn’t being bought by the masses is that most good coaches suck at marketing. In regards ot Alwyn, when the EFS guys put their trust in someone, i pay attention. There is always another equally valid way to do things and there is always room for another viewpoint.

This whole Alwyn / Westside connection is a bit suspicious to me. Why are these Westside guys all of a sudden into so much rehab? I though all these “extra workouts” and "pre-hab"exercises and GPP was supposed to take care of weaklinks and stuff? I feel something coming out in terms of new products. Hmm

Both Westside and Alwyne bring great info to the table, most of it free, so they have my respect their.
I never said you shouldnt look for new info, just the opposite. I always tell people to have an open mind. You might be confusing me with someone else.


Fair enough, i didn’t mean to imply anything.

As far as the Alwyn/EFS connection, it appears that the reason why EFS is concentrating more on rehab is that rehab questions are the most commonly asked on the Q&A. It does make sense as most of the PLers i know are struggling with injuries a lot. Also, it seems like powerlifting as a sport takes the “work around it” strategy when it comes to injuries. Since powerlifting is a longevity sport, without proper rehab things just add up.

As for the official reason, i think that is mentionned in the Dave Tate rehab article series (on EFS).

I am currently reading James Smith’s manual on the high - low theory and he combines this w/CFT methods, so I am learning a lot, especially b/c my clients do not regularly incorporate speed training. Now that I have a slew of Football players training here I knew I needed a more thorough understanding of how to design training programs that included more than just strength training. It’s a great read and makes a lot of sense the more I read it.

In addition with my wrestlers, all their live wrestling and club training, I am getting better at designing their programs and their results are much better.

I also tweaked Joe D’s WS4SB program; we do full body work outs each time, and when warmer weather is here we use more odd object lifts as opposed to the traditional gym lifts.