Why You Need an Individualized Training Program

Last week I talked about some things that strength and conditioning programs should probably have more of. You can catch up with that article here.

This week I want to talk about how to make those things effective in a strength and conditioning program. Not just specifically the exercises I talked about in the last blog, but any exercise in any strength and conditioning program.

Every exercise, or movement, must have a regression, a progression and a lateralization.

A regression is a way to make an exercise more appropriate. It is not a way to make an exercise easier. Regressing an exercise is necessary to make it a more appropriate movement for the individual to perform the task.

If someone doesn’t have adequate mobility for a movement or their motor control isn’t quite there or maybe there is an injury – the movement must be regressed.

At Gain, I usually start everyone out with goblet squats in their first program. It is an easy, “bang for your buck,” movement that can be taught quickly and loaded to get a training effect.  However, if the client does poorly on his or her squat in the movement assessment, I must regress the exercise. Usually I will regress a goblet squat with a counter balance squat or a goblet squat to a box or a bench. Once the movement looks good, it is time for a progression.


A progression is a way to make a movement more challenging. You can progress several different ways.  You can change the tempo of the lift, increase range of motion, change the stance or the points of contact with the ground, load with off-set weights, add reps or go on to a more challenging exercise.

An example would be going from a trap bar deadlift to a conventional deadlift. Conventional deadlifting requires more hip, ankle and upper back mobility than a trap bar deadlift. It is a much more technical lift that requires some experience picking stuff off the ground.

Lateralizations are equally as important as progressions and regressions. What exactly is a lateralization? Lateralization is a term coined by physical therapist Charlie Weingroff. Basically it is a side step that will accomplish the same thing.

If a training program has power cleans in it and you have a wrist injury, doing a power clean isn’t a great idea. But doing a kettlebell swing to work on powerful hip extension is a good lateralization to work on the same thing. Being fast and explosive. Another way for lateralization to occur is by increasing the load of an exercise. If a client can bench press 135 for 6 reps no problem, you increase the load to make it a more challenging exercise. This can also be considered a progression.

Does you training program have progressions, lateralizations and regressions? Or are you constantly struggling with an exercise and never getting better or more efficient? You probably need some regressions or lateralization in your program. Nothing is appropriate for everyone and the individual must be challenged according to his or her movement abilities and strength levels.





Justin Miner1 Comment