The individual session is the core element of training. It is how coaches deliver their programs, build athletes, and connect with people. On this week’s GAINcast we look in detail about how we can rethink and improve upon training session and microcycle design.
Notes and quotes
- 0:00 – Introduction.
- 1:15 – The roots of microcycle planning: “When I started weightlifting in the 1960s, there weren’t many resources and a lot of the influence came from body building. So you had split routines with upper body day and leg day, without regard for how it all fits together. When you dive in the pool it isn’t upper body day and leg day, it’s all together.” “There’s a myth that you can’t train a body part two days in a row, but if you’re a soccer player, your legs are being used every day.”
- 5:00 – An alternate thematic approach: “Rather than dividing sessions into body parts, think about dividing it up into themes: power, connections, shapes, coordination, etc.”
- 6:30 – Goals: “What is the goal for the sessions? Training the arms is not a goal. A good session plan is derived from a clear goal of the session.”
- 8:30 – Reducing exercises.
- 10:00 – Designing complementary training and an example from speed training session.
- 13:00 – Motor learning in the session design and how to set up an exercise: “I like to think of leading in. The warm up leads into the theme of the day. And there is a logical sequence of the order of the exercises for one to enhance the other.”
- 17:00 – Microcycle planning.
- 18:30 – Multiple sessions in one day.
- 21:30 – Keeping an eye on the goal: “You need a theme and objectives for each session, but you also need to reflect afterwards to see if you actually reached those objectives.”
- 25:30 – Athlete autonomy, ownership, and responsibility.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- For some example of how session design looks in practice, check out the various training programs available in the HMMR Classroom, including speed, middle distance, and strength programs from Vern. Vern has also written about thoughts on planning a training session.
- For more on this topic, listen to our recent GAINcast 247 on process. On GAINcast 113 we also looked at training session management, and GAINcast 137 explored the microcycle.
- Jumps coach Jeremy Fischer provided a great example of how he tailors the warmup to the goal of the session on GAINcast 242.
- Using microdosing or multiple training sessions in a day is a topic that we covered in GAINcast 146. Our February 2021 site theme was also microdosing, with many articles and videos prepared on the topic. Short simple sessions are also at the core of Anatiloy Bondarchuk’s approach to training, which we outline in Video Lesson 1 in the HMMR Classroom.
- Thematic training is something Nick Garcia has shared a lot about on this site. For an introduction to the topic, look at this article on strength training templates.