Individual Program Design

At Southwest Strength we offer a variety of services from, personal training, group classes (bootcamp, active, barbell, hockey fit) and individualized programming/remote programming. We are going to dive in to the power of individualized programming, and why it may or may not be for you.

First of all, the group class model that we offer at Southwest Strength is the most important and valuable service we have to offer for a few reasons:

1) Good beginner to intermediate class to learn all movements, skills, scenarios and gain a very good level of fitness.
2) Coaching – smaller classes allows for attention to details on technique
3) Community/Accountability – people develop relationships and not just gym friends but friends outside the gym.
4) Best bang for your buck – you get coaching (no more than 10 people in a class), accountability and a push from your peers in your workouts.
5) Results – if you believe in the training program and work your butt off every day your going to see results.

At Southwest Strength, we have on any given day roughly 50-60 clients. Out of the 50-60 clients, roughly 20 of them are on an individualized design (that is including our personal training clients, because that is an automatic with that service, as well as remote-coaching clients). The clients that are on an individual design have been training with us for about a year. Every single one of them attended the group classes and or still do. Some work on their own thing 2-3 times a week, then do the group classes for the remaining of the week.

So why individual program design? Is it because I don’t like working out in groups and think I am to good for the group classes? Not even remotely close. These clients all started out in our group class (that is generalized for the masses). At first, they probably didn’t have too many goals, more like generic ones, “I want to lose some weight, I want to get stronger, I want to look awesome”.

After about a year of consistent 3-5 days/week of training, they realized a few things:

1) They absolutely loved being in the gym and training
2) They started developing some new specific goals, “I want to back squat 200lbs, deadlift 300lbs, I want to do a muscle up, strict pullup, hspu or I want to get stronger for my sport of hockey, I want to compete in the sport of weightlifting, I want to compete in my first crossfit competition”..the list goes on and on.
3) They realized they had some weaknesses and wanted to get better at them.

Individualized programming is a big part of what I believe in as a coach and what I have personally been influenced by for the past 3-4 years. I am coached by Michael Fitzgerald from Optimum Performance Training Inc in Calgary Alberta. He has worked with me from 2013 and has really shown me my potential as an individual and turned some of my weaknesses into strengths. It’s been a lot of hard work, but he has designed my training based on my goals and weaknesses and watched me progress.

As a coach we always start off with an assessment, depending on the individuals goals, this could be a testing phase to get a better idea. Looking at things like physical abilities in structural balance, testing scores in mono-structural modalities and personal characteristics like height, weight, sex, age, training age, athletic back ground, etc. Usually we try to get as much information as possible to correctly set up the appropriate template in training.

After the assessment/testing the coach looks at your goals and assessment and sets up a training template that will allow you as an individual to start working towards your goals. It’s important to note here, that the coach will SET UP a template that is specifically tailored to your individual needs and goals. What I LOVE about this, is that it is efficient and there is not any time wasted on things you don’t need to do.

Week to week there is always constant communication and coaching done through the program. All our clients train in our facility so there is always a coach to assist you if you ever need help or have any questions. Being on your own individual program does not mean you never get any one on one attention, but rather you just don’t get the assistance for every little thing like the group classes.

Once a coach sets up your training, they then expect the client to put their very best effort and committment towards it. Then with the client keeping their own records on results, times, scores, weight etc, they send their weekly training results back to the coach. The coach then tries to progress their training for the next week.

Here is an example of a 5 week progression I designed for Rienna Skelton. Rienna is a 15 year old athlete that was prepping for her first weightlifting meet. At the beginning of this cycle her best overhead squat was 120lbs, snatch 105lbs, squat clean 135lbs and back squat 175lbs. I created a template with training priorities around improving her confidence in her overhead squat, increasing her squatting strength (its her limiter in her squat cleans and snatches) and continuing to teach Rienna how to drop under “heavier” weights in her snatches and cleans.

Week 1
Monday – OHS Int + Sn Mod + Bsq Int + RD/C2B
A. OHS @ 20×1, 5-5-3-3-3, 2 min – all tough sets
B. Power Snatch. Above Knee Hang Squat Snatch 1.1 every min x 10 minutes
-3 min @ 55lbs, 3 min @ 65lbs, 2 min @ 75lbs, 2 min @ 80lbs
C. Back Squat @ 20×1, 5-5-5-5, 2:30 min – all tough sets
D. Ring Dip, @ 20×0, 2 reps every min x 10 minutes – add loading if you can
E. Strict Supinated C2B, 1 rep every 30 sec x 15 reps

Week 2
Monday – OHS Int + Sn Mod + Bsq Int + RD/C2B
A. OHS @ 20×1, 4-4-3-3-2, 2 min – all tough sets – be sure they are tough -rest 2 min
B. Squat Snatch. Above Knee Hang Squat Snatch. Snatch Balance, 1.1.1 @ 65lbs every min x 10 minutes
C. Back Squat @ 20×1, 4-4-4-4, 2:30 min – all tough sets
D. Weighted Ring Dip, 1 tough rep every 30 sec x 10 minutes
E. Pronated Pullup @ 20×3, 2 reps every min x 10 minutes – follow tempo – 3second chinover bar hold

Week 3 – June. 14
Monday- OHS Int + Sn Mod + Bsq Int + RD/C2B
A. OHS @ 20×1, 3-3-3-2-2-2, 2 min – all tough sets – be sure they are tough -rest 2 min
B. Above Knee Hang Squat Snatch, 2 reps @ 75lbs every min x 9 minutes
C. Back Squat @ 20×1, 3-3-3-3, 2:30 min – all tough sets
D. Weighted Ring DIp Cluster @ 20×0 1.1.1 every 90 sec x 5 sets
E. Pronated Pullup @ 40×1, 5 reps every 90 sec x 5 sets – try hold a light db b/t feet – stick to tempo

Week 4 – June. 20
Monday- OHS Int + Sn Mod + Bsq Int + RD/C2B
A. OHS @ 20×1, 3-3-2-2-1-1-1, 2 min – all tough sets
B. Squat Snatch, 3-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1, 1:30 min –
3s @ 75lbs, 2s @ 85lbs, 1s @ 95lbs -reset b/w reps off the floor
C. Back Squat @ 20×1, 2-2-2-2-2, 2:30 min – all tough sets
D. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – 2 Weighted Ring Dips @ 20×0
2nd – 3 Weighted Pronated Pullups @ 40×1

Week 5 – June.27 Training
Monday- OHS Int + Sn Mod + Bsq Int + RD/C2B
A. OHS, work to a max
B. Squat Snatch, 2 reps @ 95lbs x 4 sets, 2 min -reset b/t reps off the floor
C. Squat Snatch, 1 rep @ 100lbs x 3 sets, 2 min
D. Back Squat @ 20×1, 1-1-1-1-1, 2:30 min – all tough sets
E. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – AMRAP unbroken Ring Dips
2nd – AMRAP unbroken strict pronated pullups

At the end of the 5 weeks (now keep in mind Rienna’s training age is less than 1 year and she’s very adaptable to training, also she has been working really really hard the past year and was very focused on improving), she improved her overhead squat to 140lbs, back squatted 185lbs, and squat cleaned 145lbs. This past weekend when she attended her first weight lifting meet she snatched 120lbs (15lb PR) and clean and jerked 155lbs (15lb PR).
I think our group classes at Southwest Strength is a perfect tool to be fit, healthy, strong and have a lean body composition. I also believe the group class model is amazing for getting exposed to all different types of movements, skills and scenarios. Not everyone will want to train on their own as the accountability, motivation and drive by themselves is tougher. It is also important to note that our goal with the group class is to make you competent, confident and motivated to train on your own individual training program. Individual program design is for people at an intermediate/more experienced level. They understand all movements, understand how to push themselves, have set goals, know how to warm-up, understand when to back off and not push, etc.

However, we all know everyone is different. Everyone has different things they are good at and different things they are bad at. Thats where I think the beauty of individual program design can really allow you to work on your weaknesses. I also believe if an individual can commit to training on their own program, that the accountability and motivation will come from their own drive from within themselves. I believe this is something that is needed for longevity and a lifetime of health and happiness.

Interested in remote coaching and individualized programming book your one on one consult today:


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