The training philosophy is simple. Training for performance or fitness is first dependent on becoming strong. And becoming strong is dependent on mastery of the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. These classical barbell exercises form the foundation of every good strength program. Anything else involved in the strength program should seek to improve performance on these four exercises.
For complete athletic preparedness the athlete or lifter must also be able to move, to breath, and be healthy. This is where diet and conditioning programs balance out the strength program. Conditioning work should be done hard and fast BUT should not interfere with the recovery or performance of the strength work. Diet should support training levels and recovery, promote health, but not cause an accumulation of excessive body fat.
Other key principles:
Programming must be individualized beyond the novice level. There is no such thing as a one sized fits all program and no one program works forever. Many lifters and athletes constantly hop from one program to the next looking for that magical solution that will work forever. It doesn’t exist. You must learn how to evolve your training program over time. Professional, experienced, objective coaching can help.
Programming should be simple. Complexity is an enemy of progress. Always look for SIMPLE ways to progress the lifts. If doing 1 set of 1 rep, once per week would get a squat up, then that is what you should do. It’s generally not that simple, but it’s also not as complex as many coaches and programs would have you believe. If you training program looks like a blueprint for a 747, it could probably be simplified.
Workouts should be short and focused. This is especially true for lifters or athletes who must balance their training with real life ( I think that is all of us). 2-3 hour workouts will burn you out (mentally and physically) and will short circuit long term progress. Short focused workouts keep your energy high, your enthusiasm up, and promote adherence to the routine.
Andy Baker has over a decade of experience as a strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, and competitive power lifter.
Since 2007 Andy has owned and operated Kingwood Strength & Conditioning – located 30 miles north of Houston, TX. Since that time Kingwood Strength & Conditioning has been the area leader in providing custom strength & fitness programs to athletes and non athletes alike. Andy’s clients have included elite level NCAA athletes looking for peak performance, or adults in their 70’s and 80’s looking to combat the effects of aging.
In 2012, Kingwood Strength & Conditioning was the nation’s first gym to earn the distinction as a Starting Strength Gym. This designation was awarded based on KSC’s level of dedication, commitment, and skill in teaching and coaching the basic barbell exercises to our clients. In 2012 and 2013, Andy was a featured speaker as part of the 1st and 2nd annual conference of the Starting Strength Coaches Association.
Most recently, Andy was honored enough to co-author the 3rd edition of Practical Programming for Strength Training with veteran coach and author Mark Rippetoe. Practical Programming is unrivaled in scope and detail as it explains the ins and outs of designing a strength training program for yourself or others. The book is available on Amazon (in print or Kindle) or at StartingStrength.com
(For more information on the Starting Strength Program go here – www.startingstrength.com).
In July 2010, Andy competed in the N.A.S.A. Grand Nationals winning the Unequipped 198 lbs weight class. His 1st place performance included a 530 lb squat, 380 lb bench press, and 565 lb deadlift.
Andy was a member of the United States Marine Corps from 2003-2007. Andy was a heavy machine gunner (0331) as part of Weapons Co 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, and served 2 deployments as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.