How I train

OOPS: To those of you that subscribe, I accidentally posted this blog entry before it was finished.  Sorry for the half written entry in your email.

I’ve had a few readers ask me for advice on how to set up their own training programs and I thought it might make for a good post.  So here it goes.

First of all, I do an assessment with every single client I train.  My belief is that if you don’t do an assessment, you are basically guessing at what a particular client needs in terms of corrective work.  I look for strength imbalances throughout the body, watch a client walk, assess the current level of glute recruitment a client has, etc.  All of these things are vital pieces of information that I use to program for each client.

Second, I individualize every program.  No one gets cookie cutter routines.  My personal belief is that this is a lazy way to train, and that it is a disservice to the client.

That being said, my programs usually follow a similar progression through each session.  I’ll list each section and then briefly expand on them.

-Dynamic warm-up

-Movement/mobility/pre-hab work

-Strength Training

-Core strengthening

-Metabolic conditioning

Dynamic warm-up

The purpose of this is to get the body prepared for movement.  All of my clients foam roll to start every session.  As well as do a variety of movements such as toy soldiers (see below), hip swings, knee hugs, etc.


-Movement is basically improving and reinforcing movement patterns as well as creating good body awareness.  This includes movements like wall squats, glute bridge activation, scapular wall slides.

Glute activation:

-Mobility is an incredibly important part of any program.  The point of this is to increase mobility in places where there is little to no mobility to start with.  Things like squat w/ thoracic mobility, and half kneeling adductor dips are great for this.

Squat w/ thoracic mobility:

Half-kneeling adductor dip:

-Pre-hab comes in the form of rotator cuff work and activation of muscles that are not recruiting like they should be.

Strength Training

This portion of my programs is designed to get stronger and burn a ton of calories.  There are 6 basic movement patterns that I program around:

-Vertical pulling (pulldowns, chin-ups)

-Vertical pushing (shoulder presses, push presses)

-Horizontal pulling (rows)

-Horizontal pushing (push ups, bench press)

-Quad dominate (squats, step ups)

-Hip dominate (deadlifts, hips thrusts)

An individuals specific needs determine how much of each movement pattern I program, but most people need more horizontal pulling than horizontal pushing and more hip dominate movements than ones that are quad dominate.

Core Strengthening

This includes ZERO crunches and sit-ups.  For reasons why, read this.  This includes movements like pallof presses and planks and their variations, like plate switches:

Metabolic conditioning

This where the real fun is.  The point of this is to ramp up the metabolism and burn a crap load of calories.  Basically kick a clients butt.  Some of these movements include:

Tire flips

Medicine ball slams

Kettlebell swings

Overhead medicine ball throws

The possibilities really are endless.

Next week I will expand more on my philosophy behind why I do things the way I do instead of the typical, run of the mill programs most people are used to seeing.


5 thoughts on “How I train

  1. Lovin all the info! I like your blog Mike. You have so many unique exercises I’ve never seen. Keep it up buddy! P.S. I have to say…your wife is ripped! Way to go girl!

  2. Pingback: How I train (Part 2) « Michael Gray

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s