Exercise Progressions for Performance Training

Implementing exercise progressions is a key part of creating a good training plan, and how it's done can help set the athlete up for success or put them on a route to unnecessary frustrations. Below are a few ideas I keep in mind when planning and implementing progressions.

First, progressions should have a reason why they're being implemented, randomly deciding to do something different "just because" isn't a valid reason. Understanding what physical abilities you need to be successful in your sport, with a clear understanding of where you're currently at is the foundation for planning exercise progressions.

Second, and just as important as the first point, you should only progress once the athlete has shown that they are ready for it. This seems simple enough, but many times progressions are made because that's what the plan says to do, or the coach is itching to get to the good stuff. Yeah, getting to more complex exercises is fun, but unless the athlete has shown that they can do the very basic things well first, you'll only end up spending more time having to double back and correct issues that arise because they weren't ready in the first place. 

Lastly, progressions shouldn't add unnecessary complexity for the sake of novelty, this comes back to having a reason why. Training is to prepare you for your respective sport and that should be reflected with the exercise selection and progression plan. So instead of progressing to kneeling on a bosu ball while overhead pressing kettlebells (please don't do this), transition from a regular squat to pause squats where you hold the bottom position for a few seconds. This changes the force-velocity demands of the exercises and helps increase isometric and inertial strength (starting from a dead stop) which are beneficial for almost all athletes.

Ultimately the goal of a good training plan is to give you the physical capacities to be better at your sport. This is accomplished through the use of proper exercise progressions that emphasize different physical characteristics of the core lifts instead of moving to something else entirely. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, just refine it.

If you're interested in personalized coaching services to help prepare you for your next sport season, click here for more details regarding online training.