Optimal Performance Training Model


NASM OPT Model. Image Source: http://healthunravelled.com/nasm-opt-model/

As I am a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified Personal Trainer, so you will find much of their structure in my approach. In a nutshell: NASM uses the OPT Model, or Optimum Performance Training Model®  . This is a fitness training system developed by NASM and is based on scientific evidence and principles that progresses an individual through five training phases:

  1. Stabilization Endurance
  2. Strength Endurance
  3. Hypertrophy
  4. Maximal Strength
  5. Power

Stabilization Endurance Phase

The philosophy is that everyone needs to start with the Stabilization Endurance Phase.  In this phase, you will be performing activities that challenge your balance first in a stable, and later progressively in an unstable environment. The goal is to improve your muscle balance, postural control, stability and core control, among others. For many endurance athletes, this is where they will realize that their balance and core control are actually not that developed.

Strength Phase

The second phase of the OPT Model is called the Strength Phase, and exists out of three sub-categories called Strength Endurance, Hypertrophy and Maximal Strength. As the name gives away, everything in this phase is about building muscle strength. .For endurance athletes and in particular triathletes, this is an important phase as stronger muscles will help with injury prevention, more speed and eventually, more power on your runs, rides and swims.

A popular and effective work-out structure here is the use of supersets. By combining a strength-based exercise with a stability-based variation, the prime movers of your muscles are targeted first and then the stabilizers of the same area with a slow tempo version of the same movement.

Read below to understand better what a superset could be. For the below example exercises, you could do 3 to 4 sets of each superset with a 60-second rest after the whole set:

  • Push:

    • Bench Press x8 reps
    • Ball Push-Up x12 reps


    • Seated Cable Row x8
    • Single-Arm Row x12/side


    • Dumbbell Squats x8
    • Single-Leg Squat Touchdown x12/side

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