Why You Should Be Incorporating Variety In Your Client’s Training Program

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Written by Master Coach Jade McKee

There are a number of reasons for including variety in a client’s training program. After a while, the well planned program you wrote for them is no longer going to be getting results, and they may start to plateau. And as you will be well aware, doing the same thing OVER and OVER again becomes just plain BORING. Your client will begin to lose motivation. They will no longer be excited to get to the gym, to smash out what USED TO BE their favourite session. They might even be starting to experience pain from overusing certain muscle groups.

This is why periodization of a training program becomes so important! Periodization is the systematic arrangement of training into cycles to prevent stagnation and achieve peak human performance for all client goals. (1)

It is one way to provide the variety in a training program that is necessary to ensure your client is continuously progressing in the gym, while at the same time preventing boredom, helping to keep motivation high, and reducing the risk of injury to muscles from over-use. By carefully planning progressions it will prevent adaptation and plateaus from occurring, as each phase places new demands on your client’s body.

What are the different models you might use to periodize training plans for your clients?

The 4 primary periodisation models that will be used include:
1. Linear
2. Undulating
3. Conjugate
4. Concurrent

Which you choose to use will ultimately depend on your client’s goal!

What are the MAIN features of each of these models?

Linear Periodisation
Throughout each training phase, or ‘mesocycle’, the training intensity is progressively increased Volume, which is inversely proportional to intensity, begins high and becomes lower each mesocycle

Undulating Periodisation
Each phase of this program will be varied through volume and intensity, as both strength and metabolic adaptations are targeted An ‘Accumulation phase’ focusing on fat loss and hypertrophy, will be followed by an ‘Intensification phase’ targeting strength and hypertrophy.

Conjugate Periodisation
Multiple qualities can be trained through each phase – including strength, functional hypertrophy, hypertrophy, strength endurance.

Concurrent Periodisation
One training quality builds on the next, training all qualities  – including strength, functional hypertrophy, hypertrophy, strength endurance and power.

What are some of the variables WITHIN the program you might manipulate through each phase of a training program?

  • Exercise selection
  • Type of contraction
  • Tempo
  • Intensity
  • Sets
  • Rest
  • Frequency

Of course, you won’t be adjusting all of these at variables at once! Your client’s will need to be continually monitored, to ensure they are progressing accordingly. By making small changes as your client progresses through each training phase, it will keep your client interested, motivated, and pushing to reach their goals.


1. Daine McDonald. Performance PT Coach Certification – Level 2.
Clean Health Fitness Institute. Accessed 4th June 2020. Fundamentals Of Program Design Course. 2020.
Clean Health Fitness Institute. Performance PT Coach Certification – Level 1.
Clean Health Fitness Institute. Accessed 3rd June 2020. Principles of Exercise. Accessed 21 August 2020 from https://www.ptdirect.com/training-design/training-fundamentals/the-exercise-principles

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