Organizing a Workout

Originally Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 11:40 AM

When I plan a workout for people in a general population or a specific program for throwers or Olympic Lifters, I take into consideration the following general areas of fitness:  Endurance, strength, power, speed, and flexibility.  I'll address flexibility in another blog, but will say right now that a good program addresses flexibility integrally as well as separately:  a person should get more flexible just by doing the workout, and not just in a stretching specific program before or after training.

When planning workouts, I follow a simple model.  We train first for speed, then power, then strength, then endurance.  For someone like Lindsey L, this order of training means she lifts then she runs.  For the Athena Strength training classes, we lift then do our conditioning.  The lifts we do first are those that demand attention to technique and which are the fastest:  The Olympic Lifts.  We begin workouts with the snatch, clean, or push press in Athena Strength training, and for the Olympic Lifters we begin with the Snatch or Clean.  We then do the Strength exercises which utilize our entire bodies:  Squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.  We follow those up with any strength exercies which isolate body parts:  pull-ups, single leg deadlifts, down the list to curls.  We finish with a hard conditioning type workout.  This workout usually consists of higher intensity training such as tabata intervals or barbell complexes.  Occasionally this is a longer, 20+ minute workout such as Michelle M. did this morning on the Airdyne.  

Why do we do the exercises in this order?  Well, there are many reasons.  In summary, due to how the body utilizes energy, we do these exercises in this order because we'll have less interference and exhaustion.  In other words, running before you do cleans makes you tired and makes cleans difficult.  Cleans before running won't hurt your running too much.  Simple, huh?  If you want to test yourself on a long run, then go ahead and do a long run.  You don't need to lift right then.

In Olympic lifting, organizing a workout can get complex.  Basically, train full movements then partial movements, faster movements to slower movements.  Sometimes you mix this up- I will do Snatch Pulls or Power snatches before I jerk, although the jerk is a full movement, because I need that CNS Stimulation and the warm-up to my shoulders.  Sometimes I do Power cleans and then snatch.  But generally, we snatch, clean, squat, pull, more or less in that order.  We train in that order because the Snatch requires much concentration and a high level of CNS readiness, while the RDL requires less of the same.  

Michael McKennaComment