Few things are more precious to a strength and conditioning coach than time; especially if you are a “one man program.” Finding ways to do more work in less time are essential. Here are a few efficiency hacks I use to keep my program humming.
If you’ve ever designed a weight room, you know that it is essential to have an easy flow from area to area in your facility. Similarly, your programming should be set up to take advantage of the flow of the facility. For more detailed information on creating flow in your strength and conditioning program, check out my previous article on this topic.
Designing your training sessions based on timed stations is a proven strategy for running large groups of athletes through a weight room. This approach works particularly well at the high school level where the exercise selection is generally smaller due to the increased emphasis on technical mastery. To utilize this method, create stations of one to two exercises, separate your team into even groups, and assign each group to a station. Using a stopwatch, wall timer or a timer on a smart TV (mirrored from your computer or phone), give each group 10 minutes per station. Assuming 10 minute performance prep, this will allow for 5-10 exercises/lifts per training session. This method works particularly well when developing work capacity by utilizing density sets. While keeping the weight of each exercise relatively the same, athletes should try to increase the number of sets they do each week.
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If you have a large enough facility or have a gym close to your weight room, you can also take advantage of staggered sessions. This hack will require an assistant, an intern, or a trusted captain/leader. There are several ways to stagger your sessions, using the example of a 1-hour training session, you can have groups start their warm ups at the 15-minute mark of each previous group and/or have groups finish their training sessions in the extra space. While these groups are starting/finishing you will be doing the main body of work with the group in the weight room. This will allow you to conduct 1-hour training sessions every 30-45 minutes.
If you are using strength and conditioning software like TeamBuildr, you are already cutting out a lot of wasted time in essential processes like setting up spreadsheets, printing individual programs, manually inputting results, etc. If you do not have the means for this software, there are some ways to cut down on your administrative tasks.
For starters, utilize student assistants whenever possible. These assistants do not have to be interns to be useful. Weight room resets and cleaning, filing paperwork, setting up cones are only a few tasks can all be handled by student help.
Instead of printing individual programs or calculating individual weights, post a “master program” (for the day, week, or training phase) at each rack. Alternatively, you could write it up on a whiteboard or put it up on a TV screen. Next to each rack, hang a 1RM chart or a master chart of the entire team’s 1RMs, starting with 100% in the far left column and subtracting 10% for each successive column. Now, all your athletes have to do is look at the master program, then reference the percentage they should be using on the 1RM chart. Using this method will reduce printing and paper costs as well as time spent crafting and printing training programs. However, it will also require your athletes to do a little more thinking on their own.
Sometimes hacking the game is the best way to stay ahead. The more time you can free up from tedious, but necessary work the more time you can spend providing higher quality training for your athletes.
Have you come across any efficiency hacks of your own? If so, leave them in a comment below!Start Your 14-Day Free Trial
Mike Caro, CSCS
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Transylvania UniversityStart Your 14-Day Free Trial