From Google to YouTube, the Internet is smothered with endless information for us to absorb. Vast arrays of articles, studies and data are available at our fingertips to shed light on anything we desire to research. You’re sure to be a Google Expert by the end of the day if you take the time to learn about your Nutrition, Training, Recovery, and Supplementation.
But even with all this knowledge we are often times stuck with generic meal plans and training programs that leave personalized planning by the wayside.
It’s not uncommon for any of us to seek out the perfect plan. We find an athlete who’s physique we desire, subscribe to their program, and attack it with all of our energy and focus for the next few months. Along the way though, we all realize that while the program is well planned, it’s neglecting exactly what we personally need.
At a very basic level we must account for our own weekly schedule and availability, sleep and recovery, as well as potential roadblocks that can derail our training. Within our workouts we need the ability to adjust exercise selection to allow for developmental needs and accessory work. All of these aspects can cause a well written yet generic program to not work for us.
So how do we personalize any program to continually work for us?
My ideal training program has always been one that fits my goals, allows me to progress, and prioritizes what I need most.
By using the Prioritizing Method, you are able to make your training program consistently work for you and your goals.
Here’s how to use the Prioritizing Method as a tool to use alongside your current workout program.
Every Four Weeks you will sit down and assess your current progress and development towards your training goals.
1) How many training sessions were in your program this month, and how many did you fully complete?
2) What are your current lagging muscle groups and exercises that need to be worked on?
3) What are your current strongest muscle groups and exercises?
4) What is your number one goal going forward for the next month of training?
Once you critique your personal progress and development, you can assess which things need to be Prioritized to ensure continual growth in the upcoming training cycle.
If there are things always getting in the way of your training, muscle groups that are constantly overpowering others, or weaknesses that aren’t being addressed, now is the time to adjust your program and focus on exactly what you currently need most through the Prioritizing Method.
Let me give you some examples of how you can use the Prioritizing Method based on your own personal goals in the weight room, depending on what training style you are following.
Prioritizing as a Bodybuilder
When it comes to developing a complete physique, you are constantly adjusting your training program to account for lacking muscle groups. If your Quad Sweeps and Hamstring Tie-Ins are lagging, but your Chest is popping like a Barrel of Whiskey, then you are going to start Prioritizing your Leg Training. In order to do this, move your Leg Day to the beginning of your training split. This will ensure that you have the most rest and recovery to power your workout, and potentially allow you to add extra workload later in the week for further development.
After 4 weeks of starting your week with your weakest muscle group, reassess your physique and change that opening spot to what you need most.
You’ll be interested to see how muscle groups that were lagging may become your stronger points once given Priority.
Prioritizing as a Powerlifter
For the Strength Athlete, we can often times focus on the lifts that we are strongest at or come easiest. In order to progress though, we must develop our weakest lifts and movement patterns.
If your Squat is substantially lagging behind your Bench Press, then consider starting your week with your Squat workout. By not having secondary muscles that have been exhausted by other workouts, you are more likely to properly begin to develop the strength and be able to complete the necessary workload for growth.
As your Squat begins to strengthen, assess your competition lifts and determine which lifts now need to be Prioritized.
Prioritizing as a Weekend Warrior
For some, our training is a weekly hobby that helps us feel and look better, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t want the most out of our efforts.
If you are constantly struggling to stick to your plan, it most likely is resulting in becoming stronger in your early week workouts, but lagging in the muscles you leave for the second half. Start you week with the workouts that you struggle to complete, but leave your favorite sessions for the end of the week. You are more likely to complete your workouts Monday through Wednesday, but if Thursday and Friday’s workouts are your favorite lifts then you may just get into the gym when before it seemed impossible.
If you start to realize you are always skipping certain days, then rotate your training split to allow every muscle to be worked on a rotation rather than concrete plan.
As you can see, no matter what your training goals are, the Prioritizing Method can greatly enhance and promote continual development alongside even the most generic training programs.