Progression Strategies to Get Your Clients Strong
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Progression Strategies to Get Your Clients Strong

Table of Contents

As a fitness coach, you’ve undoubtedly met your fair share of clients whose primary goal is to get stronger.

The question is, how to make your client strong and what are some good strategies you can employ?

Let’s discuss.

First, The Basics

Just as a building needs a solid foundation to stand tall and pride, so does strength. In other words, you need to help clients establish a foundation on which they can build physical strength.

To do that, you must teach your clients three fundamentals:

  1. Bracing and breathing – two crucial skills that play a critical role in your client’s ability to perform at their best and maintain stability during heavy weight training.
  2. Proper training form – before worrying about progression and lifting more weight, clients must know how to perform each exercise correctly. This is where you teach them the fundamentals of each activity they do. In addition, you must see if any exercises need to be tweaked to fit your client’s strengths and limitations.
  3. Patience – you must communicate the importance of patience and that developing true strength takes time. Too many trainees attempt to rush through their strength progression, only to end up ego lifting and putting themselves at risk of injuries.

Progression to Get Clients Strong: 2 Strategies

1. Linear Periodization

Linear periodization, also known as linear programming, is a model where training variables change gradually over time.

For example, if a trainee wants to build as much strength as possible, their mesocycle (training block) might begin with lighter weights for more reps and conclude with heavier weights for fewer reps.

The transition would occur gradually over several weeks, allowing the athlete to adapt to the training stress and stay safe.

Linear periodization is excellent for various athletes and can serve as the overarching model for programming a person’s training in the long run. Unfortunately, solely relying on it might not be as effective for more advanced trainees looking to build as much strength as possible.

2. Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)

The second way to accelerate your client’s strength progress is by leveraging daily undulating periodization (DUP). It is a flexible training method where workout variables change from one workout to the next.

For example, let’s say that a trainee wants to improve their barbell back squat strength. As a coach, you can have your client do the exercise three times per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

A high frequency is beneficial for strength gains, but we can’t have the person do the same thing multiple times per week. Aside from being tedious, stressing your body in the same way too frequently can lead to aches and overuse injuries.

Thus, we arrive at DUP. Instead of following the same rep and set structure, their weekly approach to the squat might look like so:

Monday – high-bar back squat (3 sets of 5 reps)
Wednesday – front squat (4 sets of 6 reps)
Friday – low-bar back squat (5 sets of 4 reps)

Final Words

As you can see, learning how to accelerate your clients’ strength progress isn’t that challenging, but it takes some attention to detail and the correct tactics.

The above are two of the most popular ways to organize a training plan for optimal strength


Heard, C., Willcox, M., Falvo, M., Blatt, M. and Helmer, D. (2020). Effects of Linear Periodization Training on Performance Gains and Injury Prevention in a Garrisoned Military Unit. Journal of military and veterans’ health, [online] 28(3), pp.23–34.

‌Prestes, J., Frollini, A.B., de Lima, C., Donatto, F.F., Foschini, D., de Cássia Marqueti, R., Figueira, A. and Fleck, S.J. (2009). Comparison Between Linear and Daily Undulating Periodized Resistance Training to Increase Strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(9), pp.2437–2442. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181c03548.

Tayashiki, K., Maeo, S., Usui, S., Miyamoto, N. and Kanehisa, H. (2016). Effect of abdominal bracing training on strength and power of trunk and lower limb muscles. European Journal of Applied Physiology, [online] 116(9), pp.1703–1713. doi:10.1007/s00421-016-3424-9.

‌Ralston, G.W., Kilgore, L., Wyatt, F.B., Buchan, D. and Baker, J.S. (2018). Weekly Training Frequency Effects on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine – Open, 4(1). doi:10.1186/s40798-018-0149-9.

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