Tip: Use Training Programs Wisely

Let your program be your guide, but be prepared for detours. Here's how.

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While programming doesn't play as high a role as many claim, you still need a plan to help you achieve your training goals. That's your guide. But a program a trainer or coach wrote for the general public is a far cry from a program designed specifically for your unique needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

Time and experience will give you the best training. Know how to design programs for yourself.


Beginners should use pre-designed programs to help get their feet wet. While these are still not as effective as a personally designed program, they're much better than what you'll come up with on your own. That's why they're written in the first place: not to be the Holy Grail of programming, but to serve as a launching pad.

Experienced Lifters

If you're an intermediate or advanced lifter, think about your program as a highway you're driving down. YOU need to be on the one that'll get you where you want to go.

As a lifter you have to expect and prepare for detours. They're part of the process. No training phase ever goes as planned. Detours keep you moving toward your goal even when things go wrong.

Dave Tate is the founder and CEO of Elitefts and the author of Under The Bar. Dave has been involved in powerlifting for over three decades as a coach, consultant and business owner. He has logged more than 10,000 hours coaching professional, elite, and novice athletes, as well as professional strength coaches. Follow Dave Tate on Facebook