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Sets & Reps

Mario Mavrides BSc.
No stranger to controversy, Mario is devoted to finding the most efficient and practical ways to peak performance even if that means dismantling current training dogma.
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Developing a training program.

QUESTION: How does one go about developing a training program?

ANSWER: An effective program has to consider so many variables. It’s often easier to just roll some chicken bones in a bowl while praying to some obscure Cimmerian god (for all you Conan The Barbarian fans out there) to get results than it is to actually take time to fully understand the science behind it all! This is a simple question whose answer would likely take an entire book! Nevertheless let me try to explain how I go about it: You must consider all the quantifiable and qualifiable variables of the situation and try to account for them relative to the ultimate goal. For example, it’s easy to say you want to gain mass, but what’s involved in actually gaining said mass?

• Muscle vs. weight gain
• Diet
• Time constraints
• Equipment availability
• Training experience
• Supplementation
• Athlete age
• Medical history
• Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic issues
• Training frequency
• Previous training plan

And on and on…

Honestly, I generally don’t assign formal “programs.” Rather, I prefer to provide a set of principles and targets to be achieved during an overall workout plan. Instead of listing a set and rep scheme around specific movements, I sometimes might suggest certain targets of time under tension, total reps or loads to be hit during the workout, or even repetition style (i.e., explosive/forceful) and muscle biases. This strategy frees up the athlete to really pay attention to his/her “settings” and “autoregulate” appropriately. This is certainly not the most popular approach, but, hey, it works!