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The Do’s and Don’ts of Program Design

The Do's and Don'ts of Program Design

What’s up REPers, Coach Christmas here! 

Your students have successfully completed their assessments and you’ve given them the task to create their own fitness program! However, there might be a few students of yours that could use additional resources to help them.

Have no fear REPers, below I’ve listed 8 sport physical attributes. Some will have their own list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you and your students and athletes to better program for them. 

In their description, you will notice that many of these attributes have similarities or even require another attribute.


WHAT: The ability to move all or part of the body as fast as possible. 


  • Always start slow and ramp up. Technique is everything and moving at high speeds without proper technique can lead to injuries.
  • Take adequate rest times. Especially when it comes to speed exercises like sprinting, a good example of a work to rest ratio is 1:3. This allows your students to recover.


  • Don’t skip a proper warmup! Using the RAMP Protocol is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of injury (Raise your HR and breathing, Activate your muscles, Mobilize your joints, Potentiate movement by slowly upping intensity).
  • Don’t skip effective strength training. If you’re looking to get faster, you need to be powerful. In order to be powerful you need to be stronger. In order to be stronger, you need to have a well planned strength training program.


WHAT: The ability to rapidly change position of the entire body in response to stimuli

It’s important to note that Agility and Change of Direction (COD) are two separate attributes, the biggest difference between them being that agility requires an unpredictable environment or stimuli, whereas COD is a preplanned movement.


  • Master basic movements first. Proper progression is key to building an agile base for students and athletes. 
  • Make it fun! Agility drills and games are endless, mix up your students movements, play games like Tag, Red Light/Green Light and  


WHAT: The ability to change the rate of velocity; how quickly a student can increase the velocity in their motion.


  • Take adequate breaks. Like speed training, recovery is paramount as it requires max effort.
  • Technique matters! Proper run tech can be the difference in running 0.10sec faster or slower. 


WHAT: The ability to exert a maximal force in the shortest amount of time


  • Stick to lower reps per set for optimal power output. If you ask an athlete to jump as high as they can 4 times in a row vs 10 times in a row, you will notice a significant decrease in their average jump height. Reducing the amount of repetitions in a given activity while focusing on utilizing maximal amount of force will produce higher power output. 
  • Use tech to measure power output. One of my favorite ways to measure this is using WATTS. Some gym equipment like a fan bike or Air Runner can measure wattage produced. Keeping track of watts is an excellent way to determine power improvement


WHAT: The ability to exert force to overcome a resistance.


  • Do utilize progressive overload. Diamonds are formed under the right amount of pressure. Similarly, the athletic development of your students is developed under the right amount of load that should be progressed in a manner that is safe and consistent.


  • Skipping the warm up is a no-no. A simple 5-10 minute warm up will prime the muscles for the work ahead.
  • Don’t ignore pain! Pain is the body letting you know that something isn’t right and you should stop.


WHAT: Also interchangeable with endurance, it’s the ability to sustain physical and mental effort for long periods of time.


  • Progressive overload works the same here. Start with a 1km run, work your way to 2km. Then 5km until you feel confident doing more for a longer period of time. 


WHAT: The ability for joints to move actively through a desired motion. The mobility joints are ankle, hip, thoracic spine, shoulder and wrist.


  • Stretching through pain is a big no-no. The body’s natural response to pain is to tighten up around that area (think wincing). Using a scale of 1-10, if your students pain is in the 6-8 range, I recommend not stretching that particular area


WHAT: The ability to maintain postural equilibrium and support joints during movement. Stability joints are foot, knees, and lumbar spine.

As a coach, I have found that the best movers out there are the ones who are proficient in 1-2 of these attributes but continue to apply quality strength training that will help them develop their weaker physical attributes. Through guided autonomy, REPerformance software will help every student master their environment and become the best movers they can be!

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” – Adam Savage



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