The problem with most certifications is, when you get done, you’re not sure how to install the information you just digested into your business. Sure, all of those fancy terms and cues might have sounded awesome in the moment, but now you’re back to the everyday grind of training and writing programs and you wonder, what do you do next? And how is this going to help me today?
Well, the CPPS (Certified Physical Preparation Specialist) will do exactly that. It’s taught by two of the most well respected coaches in the nation, Joe DeFranco and James “Smitty Diesel” Smith, who have over 50 years of combined experience not only working in the fitness industry, but also working with some of the top athletes in the world. They have written thousands of programs that coaches and enthusiasts have followed and performed, and they lead the charge with their content and community practices. They designed a course with you in mind and they want to give you the framework you need to start building programs and conducting sessions as soon as you leave.
When you attend the CPPS certification, you’re not just going to a seminar to learn about cool, fancy drills or movements that Joe and Smitty do with their athletes, but rather, it’s a comprehensive overview of what it means to physically prepare and train someone the right way and how to set up their programming. From an assessment to a training template to systemizing your regression and progressions into an easy to use plug and play template, this course will go over more than technique tips for your sprinting mechanics, squat, bench, and deadlift techniques.
Don’t expect to sit in your corner of the room, just take notes, and look at a Powerpoint all day. You will be up, working in groups and pairs, actually going over case studies and presenting your solutions to the group. This is an excellent opportunity for you to build your confidence and learn how to present to your peers. I have taken this course four times now, and every single time, once we break out into small groups, everyone all of a sudden gets self-conscious about their answers, not wanting to make suggestions or provide their thoughts. If you ever hope to be a big keynote speaker or teach a seminar yourself, presenting in front of your peers is something that you will have to learn how to do.
The secret sauce when it comes to being a successful coach isn’t in the letters behind your name or the amount of pounds you have lost or can lift; nor is it due to the sport you used to play. While these all might be an important part of your story, they are not the most essential things. To be a successful coach, you must be able to train someone! That means effectively building a plan for them that helps them towards their goals, but even more granular than that, you have to be able to put the right things in their workout so they can stay safe, feel successful, and then be successful. If Grandma Betty comes to you and wants to be able to break dance again, and currently she can barely walk with a walker, then you probably won’t get great results with her if you try to max out her deadlift because she will either get hurt and stop training with you or feel uncomfortable or, even worse, unsafe.
Every client is demonstrating something you’re allowing to happen.– James Smith
Grandma Betty might be buying you and your stellar personality or kick-ass sales pitch, but she will keep training with you if she feels the hour of time she spends with you is worth far more than the money she is spending. Price is only a factor of value.
In order to build out a successful session, you first need to understand what the goals are and what the capabilities are of your client. This is where you go through your assessment. If you don’t have a formalized one, CPPS teaches you a great one. From there you are going to build out a framework as to how you want to progress your client. This is a great way to help build the value early in your relationship when you are feeling each other out, teach them about the process, show them where you’re starting, etc. The more you make them a part of the process, the more they will take ownership of the process.
When you break down the workout, you should be able to see that every single thing has a specific purpose towards the goal that you are guiding your client towards. We are not forcing the program to fit the athlete but fitting the program to the athlete.
The warm up creates the window of trainability– James Smith
After you set them up, you build their warm up. This warmup is going to prime them to perform the workout you have for them that day. You should have a general warmup protocol, soft tissue work, movement prep, then your specific warm up, something that targets the specific pattern and body part you are moving, followed by something to charge up your central nervous system, such as jump, sprint, or throw. From here you would be looking at what pattern will you be training next — a knee dominant, hip dominant, upper-body push, upper-body pull. Next, think about what position you’ll have them in, such as prone, supine, half-kneeling, tall-kneeling, standing. Then what implement and position you’ll move from, for how many reps, sets, at what tempo, and how much rest to receive.
For example, when you are programming a vertical press, you could be in a half- kneeling position for a single-arm bottoms up kettlebell press with a four-second eccentric while performing cluster sets of reps between 3-5 reps with minimal rest. That would be an entirely different experience than a max effort, 1RM split jerk with as much rest as needed. They are both upper-body vertical pressing movements, but entirely different dosages of effort, volume, and difficulty.
But let’s say your client is supposed to do their 1RM split jerk that day but they have a sprained ankle. Could you still find a way to create the same training effect while working with the variables of your athlete that particular day? Or are you going to send them home on an upper-body day when they have a sprained ankle?
Setting up a system of knowing how to regress and progress patterns is not only effective in real-time situations; it also allows you to create variety and add challenge into your programs without having to reinvent the wheel. Yes, programming should take time and be well thought out, but it’s also a living, breathing art form that is not a do-it-once-and-it-nothing-changes type thing. Every single day and every single workout changes the plan just a little bit, and it’s your job to stay on top of the effort and results to create the adaptation required.
Training isn’t just about crushing your clients and throwing everything you know at them so they think you’re cool and know a lot of things, but rather it’s the balance of training hard work and soft work, according to Smith. Building out a framework of regressions and progressions is the real art of coaching. So many coaches spend their bandwidth trying to come up with exercises to fill an hour as opposed to working off a system that you can plug and play with. Not only will building a plan be the most successful way to get your client to where they are going, but it will save you hours of time and decision bandwidth.
Whether you work with high-level athletes or our beloved Grandma Betty, having a framework and a system in which you train from is essential if you want to have a sustainable business in this career. I can’t recommend the CPPS Certification enough to coaches, no matter what their experience might be.
To learn more about becoming a CPPS Certified Coach please visit: