The difference in goal setting for a high level athlete VS regular athlete

The role of a coach is more than just reading a list of movements off a whiteboard, a coach is also a Teacher who communicates skills and knowledge, a motivator inspiring others to reach and achieve higher standards. A Friend listening to problems, offering advice and last but not least a Programmer developing and organizing training plans for goal setting of an athlete.

When it comes to planning and goal setting for an athlete, it is essential to understand the broad potential and asses the abilities and current AND ultimate potential of the athlete by testing their physical abilities and create a base line to start development.

Depending on the level of the athlete High level (Competitive training 5-7 times a week, Multiples sessions a day) I will create a macro cycle template up to a term of 4 years (this is known as an Olympic Cycle) This is what I do when developing a training plan for high level athletes such as Sam Briggs or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. This training plan accounts for pre-competition training, competitive period and post competition (Active rest period)

For a Regular athlete (only training 3-5 times a week 1hr session) I will progress and develop Micro cycles/short term/ week by week plan and as time moves forward and the athlete adapts to training and becomes stronger I will create a new micro cycles of training.

Adaptation to intensity of the training load will always be constantly changing, however the only differences between how I will program for high levels athletes and regular athlete is the level of volume in the training. That will vary from Training time: the number of sessions per week, General physical preparedness and specific physical preparedness.

Giving an example how I would approach a micro-cycle of a Ring Muscle-up for a regular athlete that would be 1-2 times per week for a specific skill, where as a high level athlete would be 4-5 times per week.

Breaking down the approach of a skill such as a Ring Muscle-up, we must look at all the different components which the skill consist of:

  • Support position (finished position on top of the Rings, locked out elbows)
  • Dip
  • False Grip
  • Pull-up
  • Swing (If kipping)

In my opinion, all of these components of the muscle-up carry equal value in development, but each segment will be assessed individually. During the training session for the athlete these components will be both segmented and trained as a whole (Spotted through the entire movement).

When the question asked is “What should the strength foundation be before attempting a Muscle-up?” the answer may vary between individuals because absolute strength and strength endurance is varied from athlete to athlete. I have created standards to be met before the athlete attempts the skill by themselves, setting them up for a successful first attempt.

  • Support:
    • Minimum required ability to hold (0:15’s)
  • Dip:
    • Minimum required 3 strict reps (0:01’s) pause at bottom
  • False Grip:
    • (Mobility) 90 Degree Flexion in wrist
    • Able to hold with +20% of Bodyweight for 0:10’s
  • Pull-up
    • 1.3 x Bodyweight Strict pull-up (100lbs athlete + 30lbs of added weight)
      • Transition from lower position to higher position. An athlete needs to produce a force (F= Mass x Acceleration) of at least 1.25 their bodyweight. If the force is lower than this the transition cannot be made.
  • Swing (If kipping)
    • The ability to hang on without loosing grip for 10 swings with good body positions

Each of these movements have a number of different scaling options available provided by the coach, but constant repeated exposure will ensure proper adaptation and progression. I’ve told my athletes many times variety is the spice of life, but consistency is the key to success.