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3 Common Programming Mistakes Even Experienced Coaches Make

No matter what level or how experienced we are, mistakes WILL be made. Most coaches do the right things and push for their athletes to be the best they can be. But sometimes things slip through the cracks. Sometimes complacency sets in.

I think with all of the things a coach (or athlete for that matter) has to consider on a daily basis, it is hard to focus on everything to its fullest. This can happen due to limited training time as well.


Here are a few programming mistakes that most of us have been guilty of at some point:

Not Programming A Warmup

You see this quite often (I even make the mistake myself sometimes). Programming warmups is critical for a few reasons. For one, when writing programs for others, they will likely follow them as written. So, by not including a warmup of some sort, you leave them open to starting the program with NO WARMUP AT ALL. This is a mistake that can be critical, as injuries can easily occur in training.


Secondly, if you do not program a warmup (even for yourself), you may wander around taking too long because you are trying to think of what needs to be done. This clearly doesn’t make for efficient use of training time.

Trying to do Everything

Sure, there are benefits to many training styles. Sometimes that makes it difficult to choose your methods. Some coaches try to serve too many masters. The main issue I see is when coaches have 15 exercises, covering every area of training. They including Olympic weightlifting movements, powerlifting movements, strongman movements, bodybuilding, and the list goes on and on. They add and add, without ever taking anything away. You end up with poor technique, overtrained athletes, and mass confusion.

Powerlifting strongman program

Remember, there should be a reason for everything you include in your program, and for everything you remove. Sometimes, even if an exercise has merit and works, it could be a bad fit for your program because you already have too much volume for that day. Every plan must have give-and-take.


Overestimating Numbers

This is a problem that is likely innocent, but can be damaging to results. When basing programming on percentages, many coaches make the mistake of using training percentages based on a 1RM that is unrealistic. It may be a number that was hit at some point in their training career or is based on a higher rep max, but something they could not do regularly. This leads to training in rep ranges lower than the planned volume, or even missing reps in early work sets. That can be detrimental to progress as it throws off the plan, and really makes tracking difficult and inefficient.

 I like to base training percentages on a number that I feel could be done for one-rep on nearly any day it was attempted. This keeps the ego at bay and allows you to train through the planned rep ranges.


Remember, no matter what level or how experienced we are, mistakes WILL be made. There will never be a perfect program written, as there will never be a perfect execution of the program. Our focus has to be on being as efficient as possible with the time, knowledge, and resources at our disposal.


Which one of these have you done? Let me know in the comments below.

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