The Right To Progress by Rob Cook

When dealing with exercise or program progression for your athletes or clients, I believe there should be a sound, uniformed level of mastery of fundamental basics and exercise foundations before the ‘reward

’ of progression is applied.

Sometimes it’s easy for us as trainers and coaches to get caught up with a new ‘fad’ training concept or piece of equipment, and to feel the pressure to keep up with the crowd. A positive bi-product of this is creative design – the new kit or concept enables you to explore and understand new possibilities and ideas, which ultimately leads to the industry furthering itself. On a whole, this is a very good thing. However, the negative sides to this, as I see it, are:

1. The over-complication of exercises by trainers who’s creativity gets the best of them (Note: Creativity is a good thing, but only when applied correctly!); and

2. The progression of clients and athletes who still haven’t achieved technical competence of an exercise’s fundamental technique.


“Let them adapt before moving on.” –Kelvin Giles

If we progress a client or athlete who is yet to gain technical competence in a certain area of their training, they will carry this deficiency of skillset through their development and into an area where there is going to be an increase in load, speed, volume and power output. When these aspects of an exercise are increased without a sound, competent foundation to work with, the result for your client or athlete can be injury, plateau and restriction in strength development. This could then ultimately also have a psychological impact on an athlete’s mindset or a client’s motivation which can potentially result in a lack of faith in themselves, and you or your methods.

The right path through an exercise progression begins with your client or athlete having mastered the foundations of an exercise before moving on to adding load, increasing speed, increasing volume, etc. By taking this approach of ‘Earning the right to Progress’, you are ensuring the best possible long-term development of your client or athlete, and by increasing their body awareness you in-turn increase their ability to improve.



1) Movement Dynamics Athletic Development – An Introduction to Athletic Development. –Kelvin B. Giles MA, CertEd


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