There are many factors that make up a good quality, results based training program. Things like structure, volume and intensity just to name a few.
However, I wanted to discuss the top 3 elements, in my opinion, that are a MUST if you are to reach your potential.
A training program must enable progression. Here’s why. The human body is a remarkable thing. It will do its utmost to ensure that something which it once deemed difficult, becomes easier. Now, when things become easier, progression stops. The body has no reason to adapt or change when things are ‘comfortable.’ This is counter-productive to ones results! Example, in week 1 of a program, 4 sets of 8-10 reps may have been spot on. But after doing that for a few weeks, that may become nowhere near enough. So we need to increase the intensity (load) OR amount (volume) of work we do.
Same goes for something like running. The body will adapt to the same 5km course repeated over and over. At that point its time to either run further or run the 5km faster.
Having a training program that is well balanced is also very important. If we’re always focusing on or prioritising one area of the body more often over the course of the week, then we run the risk of creating muscular imbalances. This can spell disaster in the long term as eventually it may lead to an increased chance of soft tissue injuries and/or muscle tightness, and if we’re looking to stay consistent, this is something we want to minimise the chance of as much as possible!
Which leads me to my next point…
Now, all of the elements that make up a quality training program are pretty much useless if you don’t actually do the program! As the saying goes, consistency is key! Sure, life happens and circumstances out of our control may pop up occasionally, but if you’re finding that you’re regularly missing sessions for little things (I won’t go into examples because there are plenty and I’ve heard them all), then I can almost guarantee that your result may take 2-3 times longer, or more, to reach. Another fave saying of mine, “A bad program done religiously will always trump a perfect program done sparingly” sums this up beautifully!