Training Program Evaluation


Many people have asked for my opinion and/or an evaluation of various programs that are commercially available and very popular. Since I have not been able to observe these programs first hand for an extended period of time and in the spirit of maintaining a positive tone on this blog I thought it would be better to give you the general principles and ideas that that I look for in a program. From this you can draw your own conclusions. These criteria are the same criteria that I use to evaluate and continually upgrade my own training programs.

  • What is the philosophy of the program?
  • What are the goals and objectives?
  • Does it result in being adapted or adaptable or are you creating one trick ponies?
  • What is the context of each exercise and workout?
  • Is there a clearly identifiable progression?
  • Does it train movements and do the movements connect?
  • Is it manageable? Is it time efficient?
  • What is the big picture? Is it training or just mindless work that gets you tired?
  • Is it principle driven?
  • If it is norm based, where did the norms come from?
  • How is progress determined? What are the criteria for progression?
  • Does it travel well or do you need certain equipment or a trainer to implement it?
  • Are there injuries? If the answer is yes, is there a discernable pattern of injuries?
  • How much does it cost to be certified in the program?
  • Are various methodologies appropriately used? For example are power cleans done to fatigue with an Olympic bar?
  • Is it based on one series of exercises or machines?
  • Is it mindful or mindless?
  • Is it age appropriate?
  • How are people evaluated before beginning the program?
  • How are intensity and volume determined?
  • Is it one size fits all or is it individualized?

In summary evaluation of an exercise or training program must be dispassionate and objective. Try to eliminate bias. I have the advantage of being able to draw on years of experience, so I have seen what has worked and what has not over the years. Remember that a hammer can be a very effective in the hands of a skilled craftsman or it can be very destructive if used improperly.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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