The 7 R's of Program Design (Part I): The New School Approach to Creating Programs

by Mike Robertson |   Date Released : 12 Dec 2012
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Mike Robertson

About the author: Mike Robertson

Mike Robertson, M.S., C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W. has helped clients and athletes from all walks of life achieve their strength, physique and performance related goals. Mike received his Masters Degree in Sports Biomechanics from the world-renowned Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. Mike is currently the president of Robertson Training Systems, and the co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training which was named one of America's Top Ten Gyms by Men's Health magazine in 2009 and 2010.

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Comments (7)

Vold, Trond | 18 Feb 2014, 13:09 PM

A lot of ideas well thought and presented. Not however a typical session more a tick box for covering different bases. Every client will have a different history and reason for training with you. If the client has a clean injury/health history and is primarily there for weight loss, then spending too much time doing bio-mechanical testing may not be the best use of their time.
Also I would not often take a client to do intervals unless incorporated into a PHA session. I do not see the point standing there for 20 mins, it is an activity can use to empower themselves.

Branco, Fernando | 20 Oct 2013, 18:28 PM

What a great article! So helpful and so so informative! Thank you so much. Best, Fernando

Williams, Laura | 25 Aug 2013, 18:37 PM

Thanks. Really helpful theories here. Is the intention that this can be covered in an hour? And secondly could you recommend any good books about programme design? My focus is on ski fitness. Many thanks.

Robertson, Mike | 02 Jan 2013, 00:55 AM

Thanks for the feedback!

On the second question, I don't consider energy system training such as battling ropes to be "reactive" in nature. Conditioning should typically be last in the workout.

And as far as time, sets, reps, etc. this is really dependent upon the goals of the client. Someone who needs a more aerobic base may use a 1:5 or 1:6 work to rest, while someone looking specifically for fat loss will typically be between 1:1 and 1:3 work:rest.

Hope that helps!

olexan, murray | 31 Dec 2012, 22:36 PM

This is a very good article! It certainly helped me realize that I can increase the effectiveness of my training programs, and showed me a few areas that can use some improvement.

Chadwick, Teri | 28 Dec 2012, 23:05 PM

Great article. Question: How many sets/reps would you say is a good amount for the Reactive phase exercises? I used to use the Battling Ropes, or some of other form of "explosive" exercise, prior to strength training with my group clients, and I would have them do 1-2 sets @ 60 seconds each right after their mobility drills and just before strength training. Is this enough, generally speaking? I also used "explosive" exercises (1 set @ 40-60 seconds) at the head of each couplet of exercises. Eg: 40-60 secs. Battling Ropes, quick rest, then onto A1- Squats and A2- Tube Pull Aparts (3 sets of 8-12, supersetted)... then another 40-60 secs on the Ropes followed by B1- DB Shoulder Press and B2- RDL (3 sets 8-12 supersetted). Etc, etc throughout the routine. Is this similar to what you are speaking of here? I wondered if it was overkill, and it was taking too much time to do the explosives at the head of each couplet superset (we have 60 minutes for class), so I quit doing it altogether. Now, I would like to bring it back in but just as a Reactive phase.

Garvey, Casey | 13 Dec 2012, 04:34 AM

Great article, well thought out, I am going to present to my trainers.

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