Population: Who do you work with? What problems are they coming to you to fix?
Intervention: What are you thinking of doing to solve that problem?
Comparison: What else could be done? Do you have any alternatives?
Outcome: What do you expect to happen? What improvements do you hope to see?
I first heard of P.I.C.O from Dr. Austin Baraki. I think through this when looking at new training programs, or assessing the effectiveness of a current one. We all have biases. My bias is barbell strength training. Having this set of questions helps me look past those biases. At times, the barbell might not be the best option. Yes, I do in fact have clients use other tools at times. It’s not a perfect guideline(and there are plenty more questions to ask) but starting with these 4 helps the trainee and me both see what they really need, not simply what I want them to do.