Omit, Add, Modify – Program Design (The Countdown Method)

October 10, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

When it comes to the program you design (or the program someone else designs for you), I have a few BIG pet-peeves…

Complete Overhauls

This is when people completely change their training philosophy/methods.  Examples of this would be; “I’m a TRX person, no wait, I only do kettlebells, never mind, bodyweight exercises are where it’s at.  Ah no, forget all that, I only do single leg exercises, but now include all of the above (kettlebells, TRX, Dumbbells, Barbells, etc.)

This is stupid.  Don’t be this person.

Jumping From System to System

This is when a person goes from one system to the next.  For example, they do Crossfit one month, then completely change and go with Powerlifting, then it becomes Olympic Lifting, and before you know it they’ve moved onto P90X.  Talk about going nowhere fast!

Just as stupid.  Don’t be this person.

There are definitely a number of other things that get under my skin when it comes to program design.  We could talk periodization, exercise selection, the appropriate use of regressions/progressions, etc. etc.  But I’ll stick with the above two pet-peeves for now.

I do want to use myself as an example of the appropriate use of ADDING (not completely overhauling) when it comes to program design.  I’ve been working out and training people for many years now, and I’ve never used the countdown method. A couple weeks ago I came across an article written by Ben Bruno. I was still a couple weeks away from switching to my next training block, and I decided I would INCORPORATE the countdown method into my next block. The first day of my new program was yesterday, I used it for my “finisher” for weighted push-ups and neutral grip pull-ups.

The countdown method was included because it goes with my goals, my strength level, and I didn’t have to change EVERYTHING else around in order to make it work.  I just did one set for my chest and back to finish off my workout.  I’m not going to be, “doing nothing but the countdown method” for the next month before moving onto “nothing but max effort sets” the following month.

Add – Add an exercise/method into your training system/philosophy. i.e. I added the countdown method for this program but the rest of my program did NOT completely change.

OMIT – Take something out if doesn’t fit with your body type, goals, injury status, etc. i.e. your elbows have been really cranky for the past few weeks, so give chin-ups a break for time being.  Do not stop doing upper bod pulling exercises for the rest of your life.

Modify – Deadlifts have been bothering your lower back because you don’t have adequate mobility to pull from the floor.  Instead, try elevated deadlifts/rack pulls.  Do NOT go around making blanket statements about deadlifts. i.e. “Deadlifts will destroy your back.  Whoever performs them will die a slow, and painful death.”

I personally steal from many different “types” to create programs that fit my goals, and the goals/needs of my clients.  That means I use a little bit from the bodybuilders, powerlifters, athletes, Crossfitters, etc. etc., and incorporate them how I believe best fits the overall program design.

I hope you found this useful.  If you’re a program-hopper or system-hopper, I hope you give this some thought. If you have friends that fit into one or both of those categories, forward this onto them.  Friends don’t let friends program/system hop! :)

In last week’s post I mentioned that I’d be sharing a surprise with your this week.  Well, I lied.  The surprise will be coming next week.  I promise!  Stay tuned…

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