How To Decide Your Next Training Goal Part III: Measuring Fitness and Filling The Gaps

How To Decide Your Next Training Goal Part III: Measuring Fitness and Filling The Gaps

Plenty of gaps in here.
Photo by Jan Genge on Unsplash

This is the third and final part of the series. If you haven’t read Parts I and II yet, I recommend you give them a geez before diving into this one. It makes this Part III far easier to get into.

You wouldn’t watch The Godfather Part III before watching the first two, right? Not that I am comparing this to The Godfather. It’s just the first that comes to mind when thinking of a trilogy of any sort.

Part I: Intro, overall health markers, movement, body composition
Part II: Strength and conditioning standards
Part III: Measuring fitness and filling the gaps


So this last part is less about how to determine your next goal and more about taking a step closer to that goal.

Fitness – the capacity to do shit

Fitness doesn’t mean cardio, bodybuilding or any of that. At least not today in the bubble that is this blog. Fitness means do you have the capacity and the goods to absorb and adapt to the stress required by your next step?

You’ve looked at the standards from Part I and Part II and perhaps seen some gaps in either your overall health, body composition, movement, strength, conditioning, or a combination of some of them. But gaps for what? What is it that you are specifically training for? 

It could be a sport related goal, but it doesn’t have to be.
As you’ll see in the first case study, a client in his mid-60s wants to be more fluid and graceful stepping in and out of his car. That’s the stress he needs to absorb and adopt.

The second case study is a lady who wants a better butt to elevate her Kardashian game. For her the immediate goal of absorbing and adopting stress means that she can handle the best exercises that deliver those results. 

Finally, in the last case study the client’s goal is a more typical athletic endeavour. For her it’s about being able to return to competitive outrigging and dragon boating and to paddle pain free after a shoulder surgery. 

Let’s look at these case studies. It can help you to narrow down your training program and get the results you need to keep progressing towards your goal.

Case Study One: hip mobility to get in and out of the car

A client in his mid 60s has started to notice how getting in and out of a car has become difficult, even uncomfortable as of late. He is already seeing an osteopath for the hip and wants to emphasise this goal during his personal training sessions too.

The curve ball of a thing is that although he has 45 minutes of training booked twice a week, he’s always around 15 minutes late. We need to be able to do the best we can in 30 minutes, without completely ignoring other aspects of his health.

I am telling you this to show that you don’t always need long bouts of training to move the needle forward. A good sessions done is better than perfect that never gets even started.

Here’s a sample of how I divide the session based on his goals.

0-15 minutes – movement prep / hip mobility x 1 round

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing to encourage posterior pelvic tilt
  2. Hip, shoulder, scapula rotations on all fours
  3. Rockback to heels
  4. Hip Pails/Rails in modified pigeon stretch
  5. Hip rotations
  6. Rockback to heels
  7. Glute hip bridges
  8. Carry

15-25 minutes – power / strength circuit x 2-3 rounds

  1. Lateral step (crossover, cross behind) to slam x 5 ea
  2. Reverse step to high knee (trying to crossover to bring knee and elbow to touch) x 5 ea
  3. Single leg squat to box with an isometric hold with the first rep x 8-12 ea
  4. TRX Row x 8-12
  5. Lateral crawl x 5 ea

25-30 minutes – conditioning x 5 rounds

  1. Rope full body waves – emphasising hinging x 20s work : 40s rest

Depending on the day we might go 20 minutes of warm up / hip mobility followed by 5 minutes of power / strength and 5 minutes of conditioning. It’s not perfect, but you do what you can in the time you’ve got.

Case Study Two: Butthurt

A lady with a goal to get her Kardashian to pop. A more advanced client with a few years+ training history.

0-5 minutes – movement prep x 1 round

  1. Breathing to center the busy mind
  2. Hip, shoulder, scap rotations
  3. Downward dog to step to rotation
  4. Glute side bridge
  5. Squat to stand
  6. Carry

5-40 minutes – strength x 3 rounds

A1 Lateral lunge to pulse x 5 ea
A2 Hip thrust march x8 ea

B1 Trapbar Romanian deadlift x 6-8 1.5 reps
B2 Vertical cable row x 6-8 1.5 reps

C1 Pike push up x 5
C2 Step down heels touch x6-8 1.5 reps

40-45 minutes – conditioning x 5 rounds

  1. Skillmill 30s work : 30s rest

Case Study Three: Return to competitive paddling

Bilateral shoulder surgery. Now at the stage of building more power and strength to return to competitive paddling.

0-10 minutes – movement prep x 1 round

  1. Breathing
  2. Hip, shoulder, scap rotations
  3. Big 3 shoulder activation
  4. Side plank
  5. Glute side bridge
  6. Cable shoulder external rotation (standing 9090)
  7. Carry

10-45 minutes – power / strength x 3 rounds

A1 Get up to hand x 4 ea
A2 Split stance chop slam x 5 ea

B1 Trapbar deadlift x 8-10
B2 Landmine single arm press x 8-10 ea
B3 Single arm seated row x 8-10 ea

C1 Elevated push ups x as many as possible with perfect form
C2 TRX row x 15

Conditioning

Done on her own on a different day.

Summary

When you have a goal in mind, it’s easier to specify the training program to get there. Find the gaps in your current health, body composition, movement, strength and conditioning as they relate to your end goal. Then fill those gaps appropriately. 

And if your current goal is a more elusive, say “to stay healthy and don’t get fat”, that’s fine too. Just make sure you are not not letting any of the aforementioned aspects of health and fitness to deteriorate too far from the baseline.


Thanks for reading the full series. You’ve been great. I thought I’d never get this out in time.

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