In my opinion, there are a few essential elements to an amazing session in the gym. The training programme, training environment and understanding of the sessions intended stimulus. These three are so important to your training and each is needed to get consistent results.
Over the years we have had so many different populations come into HG3. Our membership varies from 16 years old to 63 years old, so we have to accommodate for all needs. The stimulus and recovery needs of a person aged 16-25, are vastly different from those aged 40 and above. This means that we have to cater to each individual to make sure they are constantly improving, getting the recovery they need and still tackling daily life.
Let me explain a little how we do this and what we are looking for from the sessions.
Training Programme -
The training programme for everyone is going to vary in some way dependent on many factors, age, stress levels, mobility, training age etc and each person needs to be catered for. When taking group sessions it is important to make sure that everyone is getting the most out of the movements and intended stimulus for the session. So how can we do this? We programme for the population we have in the gym. Our members are tested on a 12-week basis in a variety of ways and this forms the depth of the programming that we offer. We can see areas of weakness, areas of strength and help to plan what our goals are for the next cycle. For example, when we test our 3RM back squat and then our Helen time (3 rounds, run 400m, 21 KB swings, 12 Pull Ups). We are testing two different energy systems. We assess the percentage of the gym that made improvements and by what amount, when then decide which stimulus needs more depth, is it strength and stability or is it conditioning.
We also look at the way each person body is moving and ask questions. For example, is there a high percentage of weak shoulders, inactive glutes, poor midline strength, poor bilateral stability etc. This is all information that we take in to make sure that the population we are programming for, is best catered for. We can then apply specific movements and action to the areas that need work and create a new training cycle with a real focus.
The next stage is to adjust the programming to individual needs. Each person has varying limitations, strengths or weaknesses and so we need to be able to work with them on the spot. Each day we look at who is coming into the gym and make sure we have planned ahead. Any adjustments are given on an individual basis, demonstrated and explain as to why we are doing this variance. This way no one feels like they are being singled out.
Our programming is varied but not randomised. In our last cycle, we focused on some specific aspects. The aim was to maintain strength and increase work capacity by using principles of Strength, Power Endurance, Power, Core and Fun/Skill Work. We then created a training template to make sure that each stimulus was catered for on a regular basis over the 12 weeks. This was then coupled with a focus on midline function and shoulder health. The members were briefed of the intention for the 12 weeks and given the overview of the training cycle. The results have been amazing. Everyone increased in work capacity and also increased in strength rather than maintained. This was a bonus to the programme due to the amount of midline strength and body function increase.
Now that this focus has been solidified we can move on. We have been speaking to the members and they felt they would like to follow a new strength cycle as they are feeling a lot more balanced and all round better to attack a solid cycle. We have decided to implement a years strength cycle that will both work for current members, but at the same time cater to anyone that is knew.
Why a year?
We can spend a short time chasing strength but it will not get the desired result. The body needs time to adapt and grow stronger. We are also implementing a cycle that does not re test 1 RM’s but will surpass them during the cycle. This is better for motivation and to keep our members focused.
We are a bigger picture gym…. short term gains are not what we are looking for. We want to have long term results that are sustainable and build a foundation for more in the future.
The years cycle will also let us take on many new members and help build there basic movement and function whilst being part of the training cycle and environment.
So that we have evidence of the success of the programme we have recently finished a weeks testing to get numbers to work from but the focus, as always, was on form over weight, so that we could work from a solid base. If people lifted a weight, but the form was not perfect, the load was not counted. Simple as that! The guys can now work with the numbers and gain confidence as well as strength.
What else have we got in there ?
Pulling Strength - Strict pull ups have come on so far for many people but We want to make it better. We are starting with a lot of shoulder structure work and lat activation, building then onto negative pull ups and then full pulls ups. For the stronger among us we shall be looking at weighted pull ups.
Speed and Power - Our fast twitch fibres, are a little sleepy in most of us. We are going to wake them up by implementing explosive work focusing on sprinting, jumping with acceleration speed being high priority. For this phase we are actually going to slightly move away from Olympic lifts and focus on more globally accessible moments which will benefit the wider populations.
Thats it for now.... but make sure you come back to read part two on Training Environment!
We can’t wait to see what the guys do over the next year. it’s going to be an amazing journey.
For more information on how and why we programme and about how our classes work, please feel free to get in touch. Pete@hg3fitness.com or 07776201005