Why do training programs work? How can you tell if they are working? More importantly, how can you tell if they are right for you or your trainee?
The black box is a metaphor for a process we don’t understand. Input turns into output via some mysterious mechanism. This metaphor has been used in all kinds of industries, including the fitness industry, to describe the results of a system where the mechanism is not understood.
When it comes to fitness, however, while we don’t always understand how exactly a program may affect someone in terms of magnitude or degree, there really is no black box. We actually have a good deal of understanding of how specific training protocols work and what elements are needed to improve basic fitness and performance. Aerobic base training, high intensity interval work, power training, strength training, strength endurance, and specific skill development, when combined appropriately can specifically improve your trainee’s deficiencies, enhance their strengths, and improve performance.
In our book, Play the Ball As It Lies, we outline and describe these basic truths and provide a philosophical as well as practical approach to designing and evaluating programs for their overall usefulness.
When you understand these concepts, you are empowered in a number of ways:
1. You can look at a canned program and determine its usefulness.
2. You can explain to your clients why you are prescribing the exact program you give them.
3. You can write programs tailored to yourself and the individuals you are training.
Unless you are a professional exerciser, your training plans should be relatively simple and hone in on exactly what you need. Extraneous work is a waste of time, energy, effort, and recovery.