Use Goal Specific Training To Reach Your Fitness Goals

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You, the individual, has specific needs and specific wants. Its great that you have reached the point that you want to make a change with yourself personally, and you have set some tangible goals that you are willing to obtain.  How will you get there though? Does your training meet the needs of what your goals are?  Whether you are a runner, weight lifter, or multi-sport athlete, you all have different training needs for peak performance.  In order to reach those needs and wants by certain time-frames and to keep your body as healthy as possible, you need to keep the training as close to your sport or personal needs.  By sticking to most of these rules, you will have the best chance of progressing at your sport and training.


Over the years, certain coaches and parents have used general weight training programs being used for sports. While I wouldn’t disagree with this being useful as an introductory piece for teaching athletes how to implement resistance training, it needs to be short-lived and merged with meeting sport specific needs.  Even as I step into certain gyms and fitness centers, I see the same template of 3 sets of 10 reps for alternating exercises throughout the week.  As we know, so much has evolved for training needs and stimuli for the individual. The Takeaway: keep your programming as close to your sport as possible.


Would you train a Hockey player the same way you would a Marathon runner? Absolutely not.  Without going into the deep aspects of science and going over energy systems, you can look at the observations of each sport and how they differ.  They use different muscle groups, they work for different durations, with much different intensities, and require specific needs throughout their annual training cycle.  Annual training cycles demand proper programming, with proper progression with both in season and off season periods. As a strength and conditioning professional, I would be providing a disservice to anyone if their training wasn’t set up to not only obtain their goals, but to notice how much better they are getting at training in general.  The Takeaway: Different sports and training, demand different modes.


While searching a popular workout website or gathering visual aids from your athletes on YouTube, make sure they are the right resources for you. So many times we look to get the quick outline of a workout program for the next month. Or, we see the person training with the body we are wanting, with exercises that seem impossible. This attracts us.  It is good that it may motivate a beginning to becoming a healthier you, but it may hinder your progress while training.  This goes along the lines of, “It works for them, it will work for me.” approach.  Some of my favorite weight lifters do some pretty unorthodox exercises and methods with their training.  As much as I learn from some of these individuals, I respect that we are different. Even though these athletes have great success, it doesn’t mean you need to be doing what they are to have success.  The Takeaway: Your program and approach is not cookie cut.


Nutritional needs beg for specificity as well.  Macronutrient concerns will vary depending on the athlete or individual’s personal goals.  Some special considerations to keep in mind while training may include:


  • How many times a week you train specifically (Frequency)

  • How long is your training or competition (Duration)

  • The intensity of your training bout or competition

  • Calorie amount if looking to improve lean body mass

  • Calorie amount if looking to increase lean body mass


A marathon runner who is under training for multiple times a week, for a competition that is multiple hours will need different caloric needs as a sprinter would. Both need calories and specific macronutrient amounts. Just at different times of their training cycles to ensure peak performance.


With knowing your nutritional needs, specific training modes, knowing the proper sets and reps to be working with and different times in your annual plan, and using other external resources appropriately, it all comes together.  Consistency while using all of these points will bring the farthest along with your progressions.  As you keep working with your training program look to add a new drill to your training sessions when ready and focus on the execution of your specific training plan, rather than always changing it because you feel that it's not always effective.  Give your program a chance and happy training!

Connor BrownComment