Your friends workout isn't for you.
Updated: Apr 26
Believe it or not, when coaches write personalized programming, they actually only consider the person they are programming for. Not to say some don’t copy and paste, but at least edits take place. These coaches hold their athletes in their mind, even if for a brief moment. They make changes to reps, weights, and expectations based on what they have programmed.
Different training ages
This refers to not only the actual age of the person but what's commonly referred to in the industry as training age. Training age is different for different people at different times. It’s not a well-defined term, yet. But it’s intended to capture both the age of the person and how long they have been doing “exercise.” Exercise can also be a fairly loose term that could be anything from lifting weights to skiing. The amount of activity a person has done in the past combined with their age can give you a good picture of how this athlete should move, and more importantly, how much they should move. This is all to say that good coaches take this into account when designing a training program. Deep does it too. That is why hopping on your friends' program and doing what they do might not be the best for your training. Not to say that every once in a while training together won’t be good fun, but it should not be repeated or done at length.
While people may grow up under similar conditions, or have a similar body type or training age, the history of their life is always vastly different. We can almost ignore the physical aspects of this and rely mostly on the mental state. People have learned over the years different ways to handle both physical and mental stress. This can directly inform a coach on what to program and how. A good case for this is an experience I had coaching an ex-NFL athlete. As a fullback, the only thing he knew how to do was run fast, straight, and move through someone, either to block or to score. In training, he only knew how to go super fast out of the gate and keep going that fast until he couldn’t. I remember him being the only person I knew that could complete a 12-minute AMRAP in 3 minutes (well, besides Chuck Norris). This is all to say that the way I wrote and designed workouts for him was vastly different than another fullback I trained. Everyone comes from a different place, mentally, and has trained their body, knowingly or unknowingly, to complete a certain task.
Mechanics of human movement is still a hotly debated topic, but a few things are fairly certain. Different length of limbs and joint mobility leads to different strengths and weaknesses. Even being the same height as someone can mean largely different things in movement when your legs are 3 inches longer or shorter than your friends. Much of this can be inferred by a coach by looking at different strengths of certain exercises as well as how the exercise is performed. This is much like a movement screening that a coach might do for an athlete. And any coach that runs a movement screen will tell you: everyone is very different.
An injury isn’t always what you think. It can be a tweak here or some swelling in another area. Sometimes it’s temporary, others it’s more sustained. The point is that your body will react differently to these periodic phenomena. Over time, repeated and new injuries can accumulate, and your body will modify its behavior. This is true for each individual and each individual will react differently. When a person is training, a lot of care should be taken learning which movements aggravate old injuries and which movements can compromise an otherwise healthy system.
What should you be doing?
You should do your own personalized program. A well-versed coach will help you attain a goal that will lengthen your life and increase your well-being. If that seems like a lot, or you’ve already spent a lot of time trying to find “your coach” in the past, give Deep Athletics a try. We make long-term personalized fitness programs based in Olympic Weightlifting, Functional Fitness, Powerlifting, BodyBuilding, Gymnastics, and Sports Specific Training. We help worker-outers realize their athlete-ness.