The 70/30 Rules
So forget about the 80/20 rule, designing a good training program is about 70/30. That is, 70% of the lifts chosen should be the ‘bang for you buck’ lifts. The one’s that require you to chalk up the hands, hold your breath and bite down on your own gums.
- Presses (Bench, Incline, Decline, Strict and Push Presses)
- Pulls (Chin ups, Pull ups, Barbell Rows)
Each of the patterns above will also have infinite Dumbbell and Unilateral (single leg or single arm) alternatives for variety and structural balance (whilst still adhering to the criteria of being an effective exercise).
It is these lifts that will get you STRONG!
Any program, gym or Personal Trainer that offers ‘Strength Training’ without these lifts is misleading you as to what their actual product, and indeed their level of knowledge is.
Yeah you can build some relative and base level strength with body weight style training, but the money is with the big lifts.
So what about the other 30%?
This is where we tailor to the more specific outcomes of the client.
If it’s a weight loss client, maybe we do some conditioning (sled pushes, assault bikes, rowers or other interval work etc.) to get the heart rate up and burn some calories
If it’s for muscle gain, we can do some isolation and machine work to focus on and bring up certain muscle groups via biochemical adaptations.
If it’s an athlete, we can focus on the specific loading vectras, contraction speeds and energy system development of the sport.
If it’s a PT client or a group training session, maybe we use some of the tools of variety to engage and provide a sense of difference.
The big and most common mistake that I see being made with programming these days is too many trainers are using the 30% as their 100%. What this results in is clients that never get strong and spend most of their training time on activities that should be complimentary and supplementary.
So, what does a good program (and the set up required to execute it) look like?
Firstly, the person writing the program should understand the objective or the outcome.
These outcomes should then be measurable using valid protocols.
Skinfold or some other measurement protocol for body composition goals, strength or fitness testing for performance orientated goals (something Crossfit does well).
As us Strength & Conditioning Coaches say, ‘If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing’.
The other part of the puzzle is to then use the exercises and combinations of exercises that will get you the best return on your time (this is where the available equipment once again becomes important).
Below is a table where we list the differing outcomes and a general rule as to how the programming should be organised to achieve this.
||Optimal Training Style
||Optimal Rep Ranges
|Body Composition (Decrease body fat, increase lean muscle)
||Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Pulls, Lunges, Sled work and any other supplementary lift that will facilitate the above listed lifts being executed better.
Plus, some HIIT or Cardio based training (for best results though you should prioritise lifting with that making up between 70-80% of all training).
|6 – 20
||Manipulate total energy balance and macronutrient ratios of C/P/F
|Increase muscle mass
||Compound/Complex movements periodized to move you towards being as strong as you can, with varying time frames spent developing both volume and intensity.
||6 – 12
||Increase Protein and Carbohydrate intake along with total calories.
|Improve sporting performance
||Specific to outcomes but as a general rule, improve strength and power with the key lifts.
||1 – 6 *
* Can vary depending on the specific needs of the athlete and the phase of training.
Good training is not about entertainment. It’s about the tried and tested methods that have worked forever and a day. A great trainer will engage you in the process of getting better, moving better, understanding WHY strength is important whilst continuing to move you forward.
The inexperienced and unknowing trainer will distract you with fads, fallacies and ‘entertainment’ training, resulting in very little long-term progress or tangible results.
These principles are scientifically validated and widely accepted by educated fitness professionals as gospel. There is nothing new in fitness, only new people trying to recycle the stuff that works and the stuff that doesn’t.