How the Best Strength Coaches Assess Their Clients

How the Best Strength Coaches Assess Their Clients

A Six-Part Strength Assessment for Coaches

This weekend coaches from around the world gathered for the first-ever Programming: Strength workshop at OPEX Fitness. This two-day live workshop held by Kevin Don and Keegan Martin taught coaches of all levels how to assess, coach, program, and progress the big three strength movements—the squat, deadlift, and bench press. 

Throughout the weekend the instructors shared many valuable pieces of coaching knowledge, but the standout was their process for assessing the big three strength movements. Pulled directly from this weekend’s workshop here is a six-part assessment strength coaches can start using with their clients today.

How to Use the Assessment

The assessment is broken up into two parts, faults, and causes of these faults. To use this assessment first categorize the type of fault that was identified and second identify its cause.

(Coach’s Resource: New to coaching strength? Learn how to coach and progress the big three strength movements for a wide variety of clients in this course.) 


The Three Categories of Faults

1) Faults that can cause injury

This is the most severe type of fault. If seen, a coach needs to halt the movement immediately and identify the cause. Examples of this fault include the spine moving under load, and the femur rotating inward during a squat.

2) Force leak faults

This fault occurs when the client’s movement is not as efficient as possible. Examples include the spine going into extension during the deadlift or the wrists not being neutral during the bench press.

3) Range of motion faults

A range of motion fault is less severe in nature. However, it still needs to be cued. Examples include not reaching full extension in a bench press or not getting proper depth during a back squat.


The Three Causes of Faults 

Once a fault is identified the next step is to identify what is causing this fault and how it can be fixed. There are three different possible causes of faults.

1) Recovery Issue

The first possible cause of a fault is a recovery issue. When a client has not recovered fully it can lead to improper form, limited range of motion, etc. To address this cause increase the amount of rest in the program and assess lifestyle to ensure proper recovery. 

2) Motor Control

Motor control is the second potential cause of a fault. This occurs when a client is not familiar with a movement pattern. To remedy this, coaches should reduce the intensity of the training program and focus on building time under tension to myelinate the motor pattern.

3) Strength

The third cause of a fault is the client is lacking adequate strength. To build strength use specific exercises that target the weak muscle group at an intensity that is high enough to drive adaptation. 


How to Write Better Strength Programs

Getting clients stronger isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem. But with a principle-based education, it can be. Learn how to assess, coach, program, and progress the big three strength movements for clients of all levels with Programming: Strength.

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