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The Big Picture

Editors Note: Be watching out for more of Jason on, he has a lot of knowledge on training and is going to become more involved in the near future.  -Kyle


The Big Picture – My Philosophy on Training Structure

By Jason Tremblay PFT Certificate Program


A good program should not be judged by how hard one session is. It should be judged by the accumulative training effect of all sessions. Training structure is the single most important aspect of training. It also wouldn’t be a reach to say that training structure is the single most neglected aspect of training. I don’t know what it is about the fitness industry, as soon as somebody steps foot into the gym, they are an expert. It has been my experience that when I approach one of these ‘experts’ and ask for their opinion on something, they describe to me the most barbaric workout that comes to mind. I would walk away from these conversations thinking, “Wait a minute… What would that workout accomplish?” I like to call this, ‘The Crossfit Phenomenon”. It entails a trainer designing a workout that leaves their client vomiting from lactate buildup, having delayed onset muscle soreness for an entire week afterwards, and last but not least, neglecting any sort of periodization model whatsoever! Lets end this nonsense about who can build the toughest workout on the planet. Anybody can devise a workout that would make a Navy SEAL cry if they tried hard enough. However only good trainers can design a series of workouts that will lead to a specific adaptation that will help that Navy SEAL do his job. Which leads right into my training philosophy…


My training philosophy is that an individual workout is not nearly as important as how these individual workouts flow together to elicit specific adaptations. My programs are classified into 4 basic phases of training:


  • Muscular Endurance – training to enhance lactate clearance, involves lower rest times, higher reps.
  • Hypertrophy – training for muscle size, time under tension, low to moderate rest times, volume.
  • Maximum Strength – training to move the most amount of weight possible.
  • Power – training to increase rate of force production.


Depending on my client goals, these phases are pre-planned into an annual training plan. They are arranged in a manner that allows the adaptations from one phase to carry over into the next, or to specialize towards a specific goal and enhance performance at competitions. So why am I coining extreme conditioning programs as “The Crossfit Phenomenon”? Because it is a system that is much more focused on how extreme the “Workout of the Day” can be, rather than how good the accumulative training effect is.  It is a system implemented to improve muscular endurance and work capacity, with little to no focus on maximal strength or power output.1 There is a place for hard workouts, but one hard training session won’t make an athlete, and one hard training session can psychologically break an athlete. Every session must be purposeful and every session must be planned. By responsibly planning training the whole will become greater then the sum of its parts, that is how I view training.


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1. Glassman, Greg. (2007) Understanding Crossfit. Retrieved January 31st, 2012 from: