Creating Templates

A problem that seems to always stump our intern classes is the ability to put training sessions into an organized manner.  With this topic I’m referring to weekly microcycle organization.  I always emphasize putting weekly training sessions into templates.  And I’m not talking about Microsoft Excel here either.  I’m talking about the organization and placement of exercises, and movements within the weekly, and monthly training cycles.

It never fails when interns create blocks of training, something is left out.  Often times they are required to create a program for a hypothetical W. Soccer team.  More times than not, interns will forget to implement some of the most important aspects for any Women’s Soccer player and that is single leg, and posterior chain training.  It’s not always that they don’t know, it’s that they get so tied up putting everything else in the program that they forget or lose track of what they haven’t included.  I always emphasize that if they would create a template first, this would help eliminate the problem of forgetting an important movement or area of the body. 

Several years ago we had an intern who had written a 4 week program for a W. Soccer team.  This was the first week in our internship program and he wrote it to display his level of knowledge so to speak.   I looked at the weeks training and began to break it down labeling each exercise either as upper body, lower body, or total body.  When counted, the weeks exercise breakdown it came to 32 UB / 7 LB / 3 TB.  This included about 15 different arm exercise variations, and around 10 chest exercises among other things.  Remember, this was for a female soccer athlete.  Not exactly the breakdown you’d like to see in the training of any athlete most likely. 


Interns with little experience don’t understand the concept of exercise order.  Many times we will see the squat placed on Monday Week 1 as the 1st lift of the day.  Then, in Week 2 we will see it randomly placed on Friday as the 4th exercise of the day.  They’ll have no rhyme or reason for the placement of the exercise.  Each week becomes a jarbled assortment of movements that appear to have been pulled from a hat of exercises and placed in a training program. 

There are several reasons I recommend using templates to organize training. 

1. It allows for equal distribution of movements
2. Creates less confusion with inexperienced coaches
3. Helps to see where the emphasis of the program lies and where pieces may be missing. 
4. Eliminates uneccesary elements

One of the examples that I like to use is Joe DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards IIIAlthough I don’t think it’s always a great option for athletes it does show a piece meal setup in which a template is laid out and exercises can be input into the program. 

Another great program example is Joe Kenn’s Tier System.  The Tier System is a 3 day / week total body program that again allow coaches to piece meal movements into the program.  The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook by Joe Kenn.

When it comes down to it using templates to create workouts have a lot of value for inexperienced coaches and athletes.   It makes creating training sessions and cycles much easier and allows for the input of all the necessary elements.

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