Smart Training Programs

Throughout my many years of experience in training, I have seen my share of SMART and what I will call “UNSMART” training programs. All of these programs may have had good intentions, yet it takes more than that to make a successful training program. When looking at these programs in the SMART category, they share similar characteristics, and most importantly produce the desired result.

So let’s look at these SMART characteristics. First, the program must start with some type of initial measurement or evaluation. This serves two functions. Setting a baseline for future testing to observe progress and also this allows for an assessment of which exercises the person can perform. Second the program must be progressive in nature. Consistent progress cannot be made unless the program progressively increases in intensity and complexity. “Too much, too soon” can hinder improvements and lead to overuse injuries. Next characteristic of a SMART program is structure. Structure allows for the program to be efficient and focus on what is the desired goals. I know very few quality strength coaches that just throw out exercises to their athletes/clients. This practice often leads for people to get off track and waste time when trying to achieve a specific goal. Some wise man once told me that failure to plan is planning to fail.

Focus on form and technique is crucial to SMART programs as well. Knowing exactly how to perform each exercise correctly can only help anyone starting an exercise program. Taking the time to learn how to exercise correctly in the beginning of your program allows for a more efficient training session down the road. You don’t want to have to relearn technique half way through and end up starting over. It also saves money on Physical Therapy bills (unless you have great health coverage). Lastly have fun with your program. Pick activities that you enjoy, even when you’re dead tired and dizzy. Some people like competitive activities, some like being outdoors among nature. You don’t have to sit in a boring gym on the same boring machines to start a program. So in conclusion, let’s get SMART about this exercise thing and do it the right way.

A more in-depth discussion on SMART and UNSMART training will be coming to the MVP Blog.


-Coach Wray Watkins