Having A Plan Is Good, Knowing Your Plan, Is Better

Ok, so everyone has a training plan. After all, you need to know what you are going to be doing if you want to get the results possible. A training plan lets you know what exercises you are going to do, the volume and intensity you will be working at, how often you will be training and, the order of your training.

All in all, a training plan is a pretty sensible thing to have. You don’t have to have a plan. You can always do everything on the fly, if you dare! But take my word for it; having some kind of plan will increase your chances of training in a more optimal, structured and long-term way. Only leading to the best results! It’s never great to guess your way through your training. Training blinds usually leads to nothing more than your performance falling off a cliff later on.

Having a training plan is good, but knowing why you are following a type of plan, is even better. This is a problem many people starting the gym find themselves in: someone gives them a training plan, says it’s tailored for them, says it works, but doesn’t actually explain why they are following that plan, or the reasons why the plan is setup the way it is. Essentially, most people find themselves training blind. Ok, you have a training plan and you can take someone’s word for it that it works. But what happens when you stall, want to optimize your results further, or want to adjust something? If you don’t know why you are following a type of plan, or the components behind each aspect of the plan, it can make it difficult to adjust your training without butchering the progress you have made. Essentially, it’s not just about having a plan in front of you; it’s knowing the ‘why’ of the plan itself. That will allow you to have more control over your training in the long run.

The ‘Structure’ Of Your Training Plan

Understanding your program is really important simply because it gives you more control over your training and, it stops you getting constantly stuck with sub-optimal methods. Yes, most programs you come across will tell you they work and guarantee you the best size, strength and fat-loss results possible. The thing is, most people giving you these programs don’t expect you to know the cool in’s and out’s of training methodology or how things should be done for optimal results. Believe it or not, there are optimal ways of ensuring your long-term progress but most training programs fail to neglect these. This is why it’s so important knowing the fundamentals and knowing YOUR training program. This will ensure that you know exactly the program you are using and whether or not it will be optimal for your goals.

“Understanding your program is really important because it gives you more control over your training.”

When I first started weightlifting, I used all sorts of programs from the Internet, particularly those with cool names. I know, silly really. But some of the names were catchy! I didn’t really understand why these programs were put together the way they were or the different parts that made up the routine itself. I used it, made some gains and then moved onto the next program. The problem was, every time I plateaued, I did not understood why. What were the problems in my routine and how could I fix them? Simply using a routine, hopping to the next and not trying to understand my current program, taught me nothing but bad habits and a lack of understanding of what it really took to ensure long-term progress. It wasn’t until I started learning about the different parts of a program, and more about the fundamentals that I really started to make long-term gains in the gym.

The Different Parts Of Your Routine

I am not saying you need to become a professor of training program analysis to make long-term progress in the gym. But, it really does help to know a little about your program and not just simply ‘do it’ because it is a training program and someone says it works. As I have talked about in my blog articles, there are lots of things you need to consider, and how you organize them, when it comes to putting together a successful long-term optimal plan. I see lots of people follow a program, or put something together but not actually know the ‘why’ or ‘how’ its going to lead to progress. Having training variables in your program is one thing, but using them and putting them together in a certain way, is whole other level.

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  • Knowing about the different components of a training program, how they work and fit together and how to best utilise them in your routine will give you better progress over the long-term.
  • Don’t just follow a routine. Study it, break it down and understand roughly why the routine is the way it is and then decide whether it’s truly optimal for your long-term size and strength gains.

Don’t Just Download A Program – Understand It First

Having a program is the first step to making progress. But, knowing your program is really the key to long-term success. Too many people simply use a program without really understanding what the program contains, why it’s put together the way it is, or, how the program is expected to ensure results. While there is nothing inherently wrong with simply just following a program, knowing it, its strengths and flaws, can give you a lot more control (especially when you plateau). There is a reason why people are constantly switching between different routines for the SAME GOALS: it’s failing to identify just what makes an effective routine. You will only start picking up this skill once you start learning the reasons behind a particular program, rather than just using it. For us coaches, its not just about giving you the tools to succeed, it’s about making sure you understand those tools so that you have ultimate power over your goals. 


If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below!