How to Progress Strength Training Over a Lifetime

How to Progress Strength Training Over a Lifetime

Progressing Strength for a Lifetime: The OPEX Strength Lifecycle

The strength lifecycle gives coaches a framework and roadmap to apply strength programs to any client. By laying out clear lines between the “five stages,” the strength lifecycle makes this task as simple as assess and apply. It’s plug and play. It allows coaches to find where a client sits in their journey of strength and stay true to the heart of OPEX by programming for the individual. Without a lifecycle, coaches are essentially assuming without proof that clients are at a certain stage in their training. They are then applying protocols that may or may not advance the client effectively by guessing in the dark. The five stages of the lifecycle take care of this issue for us.

The five stages of the OPEX strength lifecycle give us clear delineation as to what is appropriate to program for a client. The first stage in the strength lifecycle is Novice, with the focus being on motor control. Clients graduate into an Intermediate stage as motor control is gained. From the second stage, once linear progression halts, clients progress to the Advanced stage. After showing coaches their clear mastery of the essential motor patterns found inside of the Programming: Strength course, as well as a highly developed central nervous system, clients then move into the Master stage. Finishing the lifecycle clients, may move from any of those stages into a Grandmaster stage to focus on motor control and maintaining strength, while fighting against the side effects of aging.

The Stages of the Strength Lifecycle

  • Stage 1 – Novice
  • Stage 2 – Intermediate
  • Stage 3 – Advanced
  • Stage 4 – Master
  • Stage 5 – Grandmaster

The Novice Stage

At the Novice stage we are seeing clients that have a high number of motor units, but due to a low training age have low motor control. The focus at this stage is on building motor control. Coaches should do this through tempo repetitions in hypertrophy set and rep ranges. Learn how to build motor control with the back squat in this free video lesson.

The Intermediate Stage

At the Intermediate stage, clients have gained an understanding of the five essential motor patterns. They can perform movements well and have earned the right to perform less tempo work. However, they still are in a stage where motor control can continue to be established. Coaches put the focus now on time under tension while moving these clients through several linear progression sequences. Learn those specific linear progressions in our course Programming: Strength.

The Advanced stage

The Advanced stage is one in which clients now have perfected the five essential motor patterns. Coaches can now focus on specific types of strength to produce results such as explosive strength and strength endurance. These varying types of strength will be rotated and applied as needed based around which area the client shows the greatest response until progression stalls. 

The Master Stage

This brings us to the Master stage. Progression in all varying types of strength has plateaued, and our client shows complete mastery of the essential motor patterns. We know at this point they have a highly developed central nervous system and are ready to express absolute strength. The focus is on making these clients as strong as we possibly can. 

The Grandmaster Stage

At the Grandmaster stage, we are dealing with anyone beginning to fight the side effects of aging. This means a loss of motor units along with a host of other potential issues which strength can play a huge role in hedging against. As coaches, we should focus first on gaining motor control in a similar fashion to what we saw in our Novice stage and maintaining as much strength as possible into our later years. 

Understanding the OPEX strength lifecycle allows you to take a client’s current ability, and place them into a system that funnels them through growing levels of strength and motor control. Bridge the gap from theory to implementation and learn how to program strength for clients of all abilities with our newest course Programming: Strength.

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