Resistance Training & Program Design part 1A

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Program Design, Review Topics | 0 comments

I struggled for a bit trying to decide how to cover my current study topics into relevant blog posts.  My last post simply covered a chapter, and that seemed ok but chapter 14 was more conducive to covering in that manner as a lot of the information was common sense.

Enter Chapter 15 – Resistance Training.  A beast of a chapter, to say the least.  Lots of details here, lots of nuance, and lots of very valuable information.  I suspect that despite it only being one chapter, it holds proportionally more questions in the CSCS exam due to the level of detail and importance of …well resistance training, aka the bread and butter of the NSCA.

The purpose of this chapter is to prepare you for designing a resistance training program for an athlete, and in so doing seven program design variables need to be addressed.

  1. Needs analysis
  2. Exercise selection
  3. Training frequency
  4. Exercise order
  5. Training load and repetitions
  6. Volume
  7. Rest periods

Let’s jump right in and cover step 1, the Needs Analysis.  The needs analysis has two components: evaluation of the sport, and assessment of the athlete.  A needs analysis is in many ways just like asking the athlete “who are you, what are you trying to do?”

Evaluating the Sport 

What is your athlete?  An offensive lineman, a cross country runner, a basketball point guard, a center, a shot putter?  All of these have different movement patterns and probably different priorities in terms of what to train for strength, hypertrophy, or endurance.  It’s important that your evaluation of the sport covers these three attributes of the sport:

  • Movement Analysis (body and limb movement patterns and muscular involvement)
  • Physiological Analysis (strength, power, hypertrophy, and endurance priorities)
  • Injury Analysis (common injuries and causative factors)


Say your client is a basketball center.  A movement analysis will reveal a lot of jumping (power), running, blocking, and rebounding.  The primary goal here would be strength & power.  The training program you design for this athlete would be markedly different than if you designed it for a marathon runner, for example.  In my next post, I will cover Assessment of the Athlete


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