Seven Key Concepts Trainers Don’t Think About

Seven Key Concepts Trainers Don’t Think About

Before we jump headlong into our 2016 training programs let’s nail down a solid direction.

What’s your training model? Why do you choose specific exercises? What do you base your planning process on? Have you ever really thought hard about how and why you design long-term programming and daily sessions?

Whether your training a long-term athlete, client or participant, development should focus on physical and mental parameters. Progression simply focuses on moving from point A to point B, and taking into account point A, which is current capability. It is important to note that some athletes or clients might not know their point B long-term goal, acquisition of a variety of motor skills and movement patterns. Distinguishing these key concepts with your clients is what will ultimately allow for personal growth, resulting in success.

Let’s start 2016 with a new attitude toward getting better.

Here’s how with this 7-point check list:

  1. FAIL: Your mantra is FAIL, FAIL AGAIN, FAIL BETTER; strive toward improvement, not necessarily perfection.COREFX WALL BALL


  1. GET BETTER: Whether an athlete is participating in his/her first or hundredth session, generally he/she should be given a training effect. Providing your clients with the attitude and expectation of I will get better today! Will ultimately result in your clients feeling confidant, saying, I got better today! Success often accelerates in knowing and feeling that you got better, and knowing that you got more fit!

    COREFX I will get better


  1. FEEL THE DIFFERENCE: Incorporating drills that will help your clients develop motor skills are a crucial aspect within their overall performance. These drills may include, core movement, outdoor skills as well as conditioning room skills. Being able to execute movement skills in the training room and having your efforts transfer to moving better in real life or sport, motivates anyone to take ownership of a program when they know training time transfers to improvement. How does one know? Answer: When you get stronger you move better.crop


  1. TRAIN TO GET BETTER: As a trainer, it is important to remind your clients that training is NOT their sport. They train to get better in their sport, and in life’s daily activities.


When I set up a training program, at its base are core movement skills, patterns and strength/power conditioning exercises that I would like my athlete and clients to develop, and continue to refine as long as they train, which should be forever.

Regarding exercises that will help them achieve their goals, a comprehensive checklist does not really exist as there are almost infinite possibilities of how conditioning can be personalized based on maturity and capability for every athlete. Keeping an open mind to alternative methodologies and equipment usage is a must!

TRX Exercise

The “Dual Instability” exercise features the suspension trainer (TRX) and the BOSU Ballast Ball (stability ball) providing top down (suspension trainer) instability and ground up (the Ballast Ball) instability at the same time!



Every athlete should be able to for example hip hinge, squat, deadlift, clean, push, pull, plank and carry, as well as execute bilateral landing/takeoff and single leg movements at some point in their journey, or be capable of an alternative that helps them to accomplish the needed base movement competency. Core stabilization, scapular control and loading overhead are important. As mentioned, no skills acquisition list is comprehensive, as there are many appropriate progressions and regressions possible within, for example, a core dominant movement or any other conditioning skill.


  1. ASSESS AND CORRECT MOVEMENT FAULTS EVERY WORKOUT: Keep in mind that movement faults and postural imbalances should not only be assessed once a year, but during every workout. Briefly, if vigilant coaching is maintained with regard to proper head, scapular, shoulder, spine, knee and foot positioning regardless of specific movement pattern or equipment being used, then assessment of movement quality is an ongoing process that is updated during every conditioning session, for each athlete. (More on this in a future blog, titled Why Annual Movement Screens Don’t Work!)number 3


  1. DEEP PRACTICE: Finally, it is important to keep in mind Miller’s Law, which is argued to be the most often cited paper in the field of psychology. The paper argues that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. No athlete can retain every teaching point from session to session, but they can begin to pattern in a few basic motor patterns, experiment with grips and stances, and learn how to use a variety of equipment. Ultimately, a progression to high-level skill attainment can be realized with perfect repetition and skill breakdown. (More on “deep practice,” in a future blog, titled “Deep Practice: What it is and how to claim it!)brain32


  1. BE HERE NOW: This is up to the athlete to figure out what this means, as it is different for everyone. However, it is important as the trainer to remind the client that it doesn’t really pay to just phone it in.Untitled-2

At the end of most sessions, the athlete will know they are closer to some of their long-term development goals, because they got better. In other words, providing your client with the feeling of improvement, which is measured and felt by the athlete, is important for continued progression, motivation and adherence. Skill based training and continual assessment/re-assessment is the foundation from which this positive training effect happens.



Douglas Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist, is the Director of Education for COREFX, RealRyder and BOSU. The former-Ironman triathlete currently directs Athlete Conditioning for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy where he works with elite junior and professional athletes. Douglas was inducted into the U.S. National Fitness Hall of Fame and has been honored by Can-Fit-Pro as the International Presenter of the Year. Coach Brooks is the author of numerous training books, and most recently, was the recipient of the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award.


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