“everybody should have their own unique customizations in their plan to make their individual plan as specific and well-tailored as possible.”
At Viking Performance Training, one of the cornerstones of our philosophy is the individualization of our training process. Our clients do not come in and just receive cookie-cutter workouts. They’re not receiving “Baseball Athlete_01” or “Weight Loss Journey #32.” What they get is fully customized and individualized training plans.
That means that even if clients are all members of the same sports team, each teammate still receives their own version of a workout. Their individual training takes into account:
- The specific athlete’s personal goals
- The demands of their sport
- Their unique body type and training history
- Their strengths and weaknesses
- Their likes and dislikes (as long as none of the other more important objectives are compromised by their preferences)
Not only does that go beyond what a lot of other strength and conditioning programs do, it even goes directly against what some of them say. For example, the value of working out in a team atmosphere. The value of working out as a team is very, very true. But sometimes this is overstated and can be misunderstood to mean a one-size-fits-all method of training. In an ideal training environment for a team, they’re receiving fantastic workouts with their team, as a team, with similar goals in mind. However, everybody should have their own unique customizations in their plan to make their individual plan as specific and well-tailored as possible.
And that’s what we do. That is the Viking Promise to our clients; whether they’re training for sports or general fitness, whether they’re old or young, whether they’re beginners or advanced trainees. Do you train just because you enjoy it and you like crushing personal goals? Or do you train as a means to an end? Maybe it’s a tournament, a championship, a state ring, a scholarship, to make the varsity team?
Doesn’t matter. We give your program individual attention because we believe that customization is the way to your optimization. And that’s our focus, is making the best possible version of you – and then everybody who comes in through the doors of Viking Performance Training – to then create an unstoppable machine who hits their goals and crushes goals.
Outside of Viking Performance Training, the individual player or client often gets the short end of the stick. They just don’t get a whole lot of attention. Everything is team-first. But a team made up of excellent individuals working together will crush any other team. A team of athletes who train individually but come together to share and overcome struggles, on and off the field, will have the confidence that their teammates can make it through the adversity needed to become a champion.
“There’s a hierarchy of priority to a process, with about five steps.”
If you know that the training that you’ve done and that your other teammates have done was intense; if you know that it was focused; if you know that it was held accountable; and if you know that you put in everything you had in really helping you reach those goals, then at that point, you know that you’re prepared. If you know your teammates also had workouts like that, then you know that they’re prepared. It’s not necessary to have done the same actual workout, which is where so many places fall short in team-based strength conditioning.
But, we’re not all about teams. We work with teams and individuals. So again, let’s look at that individual and the process. There’s a hierarchy of priority to a process, with about five steps. The first is making it specific to your goals.
I’ve covered this pretty thoroughly above. We want to train you for what you want to train for. If not, then what purpose does it serve for somebody to come and want to join the #VikingTrained clan? If we want Team VPT to be successful, then we need to train everybody at VPT to achieve their goals and then be hungry for bigger goals. So, targeting each person’s objectives and finding the proper training tools that are going to help them achieve those objectives is priority number one.
The next thing we look at is what are the demands of your sport or your personal fitness goals? This is always a sliding scale so it’s going to be pretty related to goals. But for your activity, is it a sport? Is it the sport of football, the sport of tennis, the sport of soccer, basketball, swimming? Or is it a lifestyle? Are you a climber? A runner? Or are you simply a busy person who likes to be fit and wants to be the strongest and fittest you can?
What are the actual physical demands that you’re looking at? We will then train those and make sure that they are being trained appropriately. Again, this is what will commonly be called sport-specific. It’s a good buzzword and it gets the point across, but it also confuses a lot of folks out there.
Sport-specific does not mean you train what the sport looks like, necessarily. What sport-specific truly means is that you’re training the demands of the sport placed upon the body. So, the type of strength that it takes, the muscle groups being taxed the most. Injury-prone areas, making sure that they’re ready. Changes in direction, bursts of energy, recovery. This is what sport-specificity actually means. And there will be a later blog post on this subject going much deeper on that.
Then we have the individual needs of your body coming in; an even clearer focus on individualization. At the third point, once we have the goals and once we have the demands met, then we look at the body type and the training history of the individual. Are you highly trained, or are you a relative novice? Any injury history that you may have had?
Body type is a chronically misunderstood piece of training! Strength & conditioning, fitness, performance – all of HUMAN MOVEMENT – is physics. All of it. And it all begins with how your body’s built. How long or short each of your body parts between joints are, how rotated your hips are, torso length, etc – it all plays a part in deciding how you will perform, and how you should train.
One issue that we run into with a lot of athletes that many people don’t even bring up is body type from the aspect of growth. When you’re working with youth athletes, that means you’re working with growing athletes. When athletes grow, especially through substantial growth spurts, they’re substantially different bodies. And not all parts of the bodies grow the same. I’m not talking about just legs and arms. I’m saying your muscles, your tendons, your bones, your ligaments, they don’t grow at the same rate.
“When athletes grow, especially through substantial growth spurts, they’re substantially different bodies. And not all parts of the bodies grow the same.”
You can actually have athletes whose varied movements are different because of a growing pattern and a growth spurt, making them either less flexible or more flexible in a way that they never were before, changing the leverages. So that needs to be accounted for. And then after those variations like the body type, the training history, and the injury history, then we also get into strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths and Weaknesses
A lot of times, these will be tied back to the goals because, very often, people’s goals are going to be based on their strengths and their weaknesses. But how are you actually targeting the specific strengths and weaknesses? The typical way of thinking is to turn your weaknesses into your strengths. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes, that’s actually a great idea but not exactly how it works.
You want to make the weaknesses STRONG ENOUGH. But if your strengths are what make you good, increasing your strengths will take you from good to great to downright unstoppable.
Likes and Dislikes
And then, at the end, are the likes and dislikes. If everything else can be prioritized and targeted, and we can also do it in a way which is going to match what a person likes versus avoiding what they don’t like, then that will only make their training even better. If an athlete or a client overall enjoys what they’re doing, they are just going to automatically get better results from their training.
For example, let’s say you hate “running”. That’s a REAL common one! Yet a lot of people training for better fitness or to get in better shape assume they “have” to run. Not only for fitness – a lot of athletes assume they have to run! Yet there are many different ways to increase fitness and conditioning, and there’s a good chance your sport doesn’t actually spend as much time running as you think it does. However, if your sport IS a sport with a lot of running, like say soccer, then you’re getting on our Force Treadmill no matter what. And we’ll laugh and enjoy watching your pain and suffering the entire way through (maybe), because it’s for your own good.
What’s important to us and that’s what it’s ultimately about, is making training a part of your life that you actually enjoy, not just the results but ultimately enjoy the process and the journey. So true individualization takes all of this into account. True individualization makes sure that your needs are being met and you are being optimized as an individual, and then if you are part of a team, or even just your family at home, the more successful that your training is and the more confident you become from it, then the more unstoppable of a team member you will become and you will have a greater effect on everybody else around you.