How To Create Constant Adaptation

How To Create Constant Adaptation In Programs for Health and Wellness Clients

How To Create Constant Adaptation In Programs for Health and Wellness Clients

Ahh, the elusive task of writing effective programs. As coaches, we are all interested in writing better, more intricate (program) designs as we learn and grow. After all, individual programs are the foundation that keep clients motivated to train–and keep them progressing through their fitness journey. 

Have you ever asked yourself, “How can I ensure my programs will keep my clients constantly adapting?” Are there ways I can achieve outstanding client results without repeating the same redundant exercises from week to week? The answer is yes. 

This article shows you a practical and actionable technique to improve the effectiveness of your fitness training programs that you are writing today. 

Great programs must be repetitive enough to create adaptation (progress), but they can, and should, remain interesting. To do this, you must abide by the “duplicate and change” approach. Start with one weekly split (plan) based upon your OPEX Assessment data. For this example, a client is training full-body resistance 3 times per week. 

  • Monday – Full Body Resistance 
  • Tuesday – Rest 
  • Wednesday – Full Body Resistance 
  • Thursday – Rest 
  • Friday – Full Body Resistance 
  • Saturday – Recovery Hike 
  • Sunday – Off 

Let’s take a look at the Monday session of each week.

Examples of Programs that Create Constant Adaptation

Week 1 – Monday 

Warm-Up: 5 minutes AirBike @ Easy Effort

A1. Prone Row, @3111, 10-12 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

A2. DB Split Squat, @3111, 10-12 reps/leg, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

B1. Depth Push-Up, @3211, 6-10 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

B2. Plate Hold Good Morning, @3111, 10-12 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

C1. Seated Lat Pulldown, @2111, 12-15 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

C2. KB Goblet Squat, @2011, 12-15 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest

D. 3 Sets 

30 seconds Sorensen Hold 

60 second rest 

30 seconds FLR on Rings 

60 seconds rest 

Cooldown: 10 minute AirBike @ Easy Effort 

Next, take this structure to the following week, and change 2-3 characteristics within the program. Keep it simple by implementing a new exercise with the same movement patterns, manipulate rep ranges, or simply reduce rest intervals to create a slight increase in intensity. Any combination of these alterations will elicit a new dose-response. The concept of dose-response refers to the relationship between exercises performed and the effects they have on an individual. Manipulating the training dose will ensure you create a positive physiological response. 

Week 2 – Monday 

Warm-Up: 5 minutes Row @ Easy Effort

A1. Pendlay Row, @3111, 10-12 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

A2. Front Rack Split Squat, @3111, 10-12 reps/leg, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

B1. Incline Push-Up, @3211, 6-10 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

B2. KB RDL, @3111, 10-12 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

C1. Seated Lat Pulldown, @2111, 12-15 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

C2. KB Goblet Alternating Reverse Lunge, @2011, 12-15 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest

D. 3 Sets 

40 seconds Sorensen Hold

60 second rest 

40 seconds FLR on Rings 

60 seconds rest 

Cooldown: 10 minute Row @ Easy Effort 

As you can see, week 2 incorporated all three alteration examples listed above. The variations will keep a client in an environment of growth. Program design is all about manipulating volume and intensity. Once you are happy with your alterations to the progression from week 1 to 2, it is time to rinse and repeat. Duplicate week 1 to week 3, and week 2 to week 4 and continue to progress the intensity.  

Week 3 – Monday 

Warm-Up: 5 minutes Jog @ Easy Effort

A1. Prone Row, @3111, 6-9 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

A2. DB Split Squat, @3111, 6-9 reps/leg, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

B1. Ring Push-Up, @3211, 6-10 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

B2. Plate Hold Good Morning, @3111, 10-12 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

C1. Seated Lat Pulldown @2111, 9-12 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest 

C2. KB Goblet Squat, @2011, 9-12 reps, x 3 sets; 90 seconds rest

D. 3 Sets 

60 second Sorensen Hold 

60 second rest 

60 seconds FLR on Rings 

60 seconds rest 

Cooldown: 10 minute AirBike @ Easy Effort 

Week 4 – Monday 

Warm-Up: 5 minutes Ski Erg @ Easy Effort

A1. Pendlay Row, @3111, 6-9 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

A2. Front Rack Split Squat, @3111, 6-9 reps/leg, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

B1. Incline Push-Up, @3211, 6-9 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

B2. KB RDL, @3111, 6-9 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

C1. Seated Lat Pulldown, @2111, 9-12 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest 

C2. KB Goblet Alternating Reverse Lunge, @2011, 9-12 reps, x 3 sets; 60 seconds rest

D. 2 Sets 

Max seconds Sorensen Hold

90 second rest 

Max seconds FLR on Rings 

90 second rest 

Cooldown: 10 minute Row @ Easy Effort 

You now have an interesting four-week progression. These patterns allow for new stressors so the body can adapt. The great part is that you are able to implement your creativity week to week. This kind of strategy will be simple and easy to remember, but ever-changing. 

Use this strategy to make a 4-week to 8-week cycle. Depending on the client avatar you may choose longer or shorter cycles as well. 

When it comes to writing effective programs, this technique allows you to implement your creative brain and expand on repetitive routines, while keeping you the coach excited to write designs and giving the client variety. 

The best way to enhance your program design skills and remove writer’s block is by having a solid foundation of principles. The best place to start? The Coach’s Toolkit, our free course on principle-based fitness coaching. Start learning today.

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