[This post is written by John Grace, CSCS – Athletic Development Coach at Athletic Lab]

At Athletic Lab you may look at any given workout and most always see some form of power or strength movement (power cleans, squats, etc) before the endurance portion. There is a better reason for this than we want you to be totally spent before the endurance portion. We want you to be able to perform these movements with adequate energy stores to maximize the amount of weight lifted while maintaining proper technique. Having adequate energy stores is a necessity to produce the amount of power needed to complete the exercise with proper technique. The energy systems play a major role in determining how long you are able to maintain a certain level of energy output. This is why we always use research-backed principles when programming. The following is the outline of a normal training session you may find at Athletic Lab:

  1. Technique
  2. Speed/power
  3. Strength
  4. Endurance

Technique work is always done first because you cannot truly develop technique efficiently in a fatigued state. Speed/power involves any movement that requires a high power output (sprints, Olympic lifts, plyometrics, etc). Because of the high energy demand and technical aspect of these movements, appropriate rest periods, intensities (% of 1RM), and volumes (sets and reps) should be used. Quality over quantity is the key in speed/power training. This is why no more that 5 reps should be in a given set. Strength movements would involve squats or squat derivatives, presses, or pulls generally in the 5-8 rep range. Endurance could be considered any low intensity and high volume exercise, usually in the 10+ rep range.

The neurological and neuromuscular demands of these strength and power movements are much higher than that of endurance work, therefore should be done first. You can omit any of these while planning a session, but changing the order can result in reduced effectiveness of the training plan and injury.