Are you really working your weaknesses? -Remote Coaching/Individual Program Design

Coaching FB AD.jpeg

Are you currently training for the sport of fitness? Are you looking to improve your muscle ups, increase your squatting strength, increase your engine in a metcon? Maybe you are looking for a new fitness routine to lose some body fat and get stronger? What about get your first strict pull-up? Do you have a plan or a coach? Individual program design may be just the thing for you.

Particularly individual program design through remote coaching. My name is Nathan Corrigal and I am the owner/coach at Southwest Strength, located in Melita, MB. I have been involved in athletics my whole life. I have been involved in the fitness industry for the better part of 10 years now. Throughout this journey I have learned a lot from my own training experiences, and as of the last 5 years, learned even more from the amazing clients that I have been fortunate to work with. I have worked with a very wide range of clients, from body composition and weight loss clients to competitive/elite weightlifters and crossfitters as well as people recovering from injuries trying to regain function in their daily life. You can find my bio here

Working with a wide range of abilities, schedules, injuries, goals, and designing programs for these individuals, I have learned that everyone is different, and everyone has different goals, physical abilities and priorities. This is where individual program design becomes very valuable.

My approach is very simple but effective. The initial steps for starting to work with an individual program design client is always an assessment/consult (Ideally this is done in person, however due to travel/location purposes – I have done the consult over skype/phone). During this assessment/consult process we have a lengthy conversation about lifestyle, goals, training history, schedule, work, relationships, and all things training. Here is a great time to try and get to know the individual and learn more about them.

After the conversation, we usually move to a physical assessment/movement analysis – this is always pending on the person’s goals. If this is in person, we do this together. Remotely I usually have some sort of testing/movement analysis that I get you to do and report back to me through text/email or video.

Now depending on the individuals goals, there may be a phase where there is testing involved (I do this a lot with my performance focused individuals – crossfitters, hockey players, triathlons, etc), the testing phase is necessary to gain an understanding of where we are headed with your training and purpose of your training. This is called the assessment process. This is the SINGLE most important part of individual program design. Without data on a wide variety of measurable tests/assessments, it would be very hard to create a template and design training specifically based on your individual needs without any direction or purpose.

The testing does not have to be performance based either. A simple movement assessment may be deemed necessary for an individual trying to gain function coming back from an injury, improve their quality of life or lose 20lbs of fat. Examples could be: 1) they are recovering from knee surgery and need to strength their leg back to 100%. 2) they are looking to improve their mobility and movement quality for their specific sport or job. 3) Gain an understanding of how their body moves through a full range of motion.


Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 8.56.53 AM.png

*snapshot of an individuals assessment/structural balance – this individual competes in the sport of fitness.

Organizing the data gathered from the assessment is very important. Once I have created a focus/template design we then move forward with the training. Once your coach has determined your training priorities, they design a layout to work on the weaknesses. Here is an example of a week of training for an individual that has goals of improving upper body pulling – wants to do things like pullups, muscle ups, rope climbs, etc. Important to note in the assessment, this client can not do a strict pull-up or any of the previous movements mentioned. This athlete competes in the sport of fitness and just completed their first ever CrossFit Open.

Wk 1 – Apr. 3
Monday – OHS Int + Sn Moderate + SN Based EMOM MAP
A. OHS, work to a tough set of 6
B. Paused Squat Snatch. Below Knee Hang Squat Snatch. Snatch Balance 1.1.1 every min x 9 minutes – 3 min @ 75lbs, 3 min @ 85lbs, 3 min @ 95lbs
C. EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:
1st – 5 Burpees + 5 L arm Hang KB Snatch @ 45lbs
2nd – 5 Burpees + 5 R arm Hang KB Snatch @ 45lbs
(rest 5 min)
EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:
1st – 15 Wall Balls @ 20lbs to 9ft
2nd – 8 DB Snatch @ 50lbs

Tuesday – CGBP/WNegative CU Linear + Split Jerk Int + Skills/Grip/Core
A1. CGBP @ 40×1, 6-6-6-6, 1:30 min – all tough sets
A2. Weighted Pronated Negative @ 40×1, 4-4-4-4, 1:30 min – all tough sets
B. Jerk Dip. Push Jerk. Split Jerk 1.1.1 every min x 10 minutes – start @ 85lbs + 5lbs every min
C. EMOM x 20 minutes:
1st – 30 sec KB Farmer Hold @ 32kg/arm
2nd – 30 sec Wall Facing Lateral Walks
3rd – 20-30 sec Hollow Hold
4th – 30 sec HS Walk
5th – 10 Barbell Romanian Deadlifts @ 115lbs @ 20×1

Wednesday – Running MAP EZ + AirBike MAP (Low Gym Volume Practice)
10 min Running @ ez pace
30 min AirBike @ 75%
@ minutes 2,4,6,8,10 – get off and perform 3 Negative HSPU @ 2” Deficit
@ minutes 12,14,16,18,20 – get off and perform 2 Ring Dips in single
@ minutes 22,24,26,28,30 – get off and perform 2 Supinated Chest to Bar – a bit of kip and finish pulling with your arms

Thursday – Power Clean Int + Bsq 10/8/6s + Pendlay Rows + Core/Gym Skill
A. Power Clean. Below Knee Hang Power Clean 1.1 -work to a tough set
B. Back Squat @ 20×1, work to a tough set of 10
C. Pendlay Rows @ 20×1, 10-10-10, 2:30 min – all tough sets
D. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – 20 sec Hollow Rocks
2nd – 20 sec Top of Ring Dip Hold – Rings turned out
E. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – 10 sec L arm FLR on Rings + 10 sec rest + 10 sec R arm FLR on Rings
2nd – 3 Pullups

Friday – Sumo DL/WNegative CU Linear + CJ Based EMOM MAP
A1. Sumo Deadlift @ 11×1, 10-10-10, 2 min – start @ 155lbs + 10lbs every set
A2. Weighted Parallel Grip Negatives @ 40×1, 4-4-4-4, 2 min
B. EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:
1st – 3 Squat Clean & Split Jerks @ 115lbs
2nd – 10 Bar Facing Burpees
(rest 5 min)
EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:
1st – 6 Box Jumps @ 24” + 3 Power Clean to OH @ 95lbs
2nd – 6 Box Jumps @ 24” + 6 DB Hang Clean to OH @ 30lbs/arm

As you can see the focus is upper body strength with building an aerobic base for their sport. This is the start of an offseason for this individual, so things are much more segmented in terms of strength training and aerobic base training. This is designed for this individual based on their needs, goals, schedule and feedback.

Here is another example of a training program for a 65 year old personal training client we have train with one of our coaches at Southwest Strength.

Wk of April. 3
A1. Glute Bridge DB Bench Press @ 22×1, 8-10 reps x 3 sets, 30 sec
A2. DB Reverse Lunges off of 2” Platform, 10 reps x 3 sets, 30 sec
A3. L Leg Glute Airplane, 30 sec x 3 sets, 30 sec
A4. R Leg Glute Airplane, 30 sec x 3 sets, 1:30 min
B. EMOM x 15 minites:
1st – 4-6 Axle Bar Bent Over Rows @ 20×1
2nd – 30 sec Front Bridge on Swiss Ball
3rd – 5-7 Goblet Squats – try no box
C. 10 min Rowing – every 90 sec perform 10 Russian Step-Ups on to Low Box – 5/leg

As you can see the training is different, all served with a purpose and intent. The goals and needs of this individual are much different. Therefore the training design and focus has to be different. This client needs to gain strength, mobility and overall gain function for everyday living. In the assessment we determined we needed to work on balance, core work, single leg movements, upper strength and easy aerobic training for blood flow and recovery.

Here is another look at one of my hockey players that trained from May-September for his upcoming junior hockey season:

Week 3- Aug. 15
Monday – Upper CP + Fsq Int % + Power Work
A, EMOM x 20 minutes:
1st – 3 tough Push Press @ 11×1 – try to increase to your heaviest
2nd – 6-10 Unbroken Strict Pronated Pullups
B. Front Squat @ 20×1, 3 reps @ 85% x 5 sets, 3min
C. 5 sets:
15 Slam Balls
15 Tuck Jumps
3 Broad Jump AFAP – reset b/t jumps
1:30 min

Tuesday –  Pchain/Core + Jumping/Throwing + Squat Stamina
A1. Single Arm Single Leg DB RDL @ 20×0, 12-15 reps/leg x 4 sets, 30 sec b/t legs –
A2. Stir the Pot On Swiss Ball, 60 sec x 4 sets, 1:30 min
B1. Anti-Rotation Medball Scoop Toss, 10 reps/side x 3 sets, 30 sec
B2. Plyo Push Ups, 6-10 reps x 3 sets, 1:30 min
C. Front Squat, 3 reps @ 145lbs every 30 sec x 10 minutes

Wednesday –  Running Map + Rowing Map
1 x 12 min Running @ 85-90%
rest as needed
15 x 300m Row @ 85-90% – rest 1 min b/t sets – great work here last week – try hold -59 sec or less

Friday –  Deadlift % emom + Bsq Int % + Power/Speed/Work/Agility
A. Deadlift @ 11×1, 4 reps @ 80% x 6 sets, 2:30 min
B. Back Squat @ 20×1, 3 reps @ 85% x 5 sets, 3 min
C. 5 sets:
10 in total Single Leg Cross Overs – explode and land athletically –
– 30 sec
Single Leg Shuffle Ladder – 1 x through/leg –
1- 2 min

Saturday – Mixed Map Sets (Running)
5 sets @ high effort/85-90%
200m Run
15 Pushups
200m Run
25 Air Squats
Rest Same as Work Time

As you can see this program was geared towards sport specific training (hockey), we needed to improve and work on speed, power, lower/upper strength and add in a good amount of aerobic training to increase conditioning and recovery. The assessment for this hockey player determined, he needed to get stronger, more powerful and more enduring for his sport. He constantly reminded me that after a few shifts of hockey, his legs felt heavy and he was out of breathe.

These are just prime of examples of three different clients with completely different goals. Whats unique about remote coaching is that you always have a plan to work towards your goals. How many people are training 4-6 days/week with big goals in mind, but really have to idea if they are doing the right things to get better? How about this one, you have been training in a group class model for 1-2 years and still haven’t improved in upper gymnastics? Or seen that back squat PR? The answer is quite simple, its because you aren’t working on your weaknesses. This is where the assessment and training lay out of priorities becomes so valuable.

The following are things we look at (these always depends on goals).

  1. Structural Balance – IE – Front Squat to Back Squat or Squat Clean to Front Squat or Upper push/pull + core
  2. Work Capacity
  3. Energy Systems
  4. Skill (sport specific – again pending on goals)

The benefits of individual program design/remote coaching:

  1. You are training towards your goals.
  2. You are working on your weaknesses. Training priorities from the coach and client are communicated very clearly.
  3. Constant feedback and support from your coach.
  4. Consistently assessed and reassessed to see if your headed in the right direction.
  5. Training program is set up specifically for your abilities and lifestyle/schedule.
  6. No guessing or questioning if you are working on the right things. All you have to do is put in the work and give accurate and consistent feedback to your coach.

The disadvantages of individual program design/remote coaching:

  1. Technical feedback through video – this is tougher than one on one.
  2. Sometimes you’ll have to put in some tough sessions by yourself.
  3. Communication.
  4. Compliancy from the clients end on the results and feedback on the program.


So here is how the process works for my remote coaching service:

-An initial consult (usually skype or in person – In person would be GREAT). Here I like to discuss schedule, goals, abilities. From here  I create testing if needed, depending on your goals.

-We will go through a testing phase – this could potentially take up to 2 weeks. It can be quite intensive, but deemed necessary. (pending goals).

-Your individualized training will be emailed to you weekly, once the previous weeks results have been sent in. I then analyze and continue trying to progress you.

-Your training program is specifically set up for YOU – based on abilities and goals. – I design your training based on your assessment/feedback and communication me and you have. I like to talk to my athletes often. So DO not ever feel like your bothering me. Text me/call etc. 

-You will receive continous support via email/text.

-If you wanted video analysis I could check videos you post on YouTube (I definitely recommend this) etc.**
-Nutritional/Lifestyle guidance

If you are interested in setting up a free phone or Skype consult contact us with the form below:

Leave a Reply