The Optimum Performance Training (OPT) Model

     Resistance Training is an important aspect to any program. I would like to talk about some of the most fundamental aspects of training, and how these concepts can impact every client, from weight loss clients to bodybuilders, and even professional athletes. The National Academy of Sports Medicine has developed a seven tier model for program design called the Optimum Performance Training (OPT) Model. This model is designed to enhance the performance of every individual by practicing scientifically based program design with suitable exercise progressions. Please remember to keep the end goal, or “big picture” in mind when implementing these principles. Many of the concepts are contrary to what mainstream media will have you believe, however, I would like to remind you all of our company mission statement: We would like to change the world through fitness, using individualized scientifically based program design and positive reinforcement that will cater to everyone from the advanced athlete, to the individual who has never been exposed to exercise.

Phase 1 – Corrective Exercise Training
During Phase 1 the objective is simple: to align the skeletal system and prepare the body’s foundation to withstand the wide array of movements that we expect to impose on it. By attacking muscular imbalances we can correct joint misalignments that increase the probability of injury during a training program. By utilizing the overhead squat assessment we are able to isolate movement dysfunction and implement a corrective flexibility and strengthening program.

Phase 2 – Stabilization Endurance Training
To properly understand the purpose of stabilization endurance training, one concept needs to be accepted. The individual can only move as much weight as the joint can stabilize. If intrinsic core stabilizers and joint stabilizers lack the strength or endurance to keep up with larger primary movers then performance will be inhibited. In other words, movement occurs from the inside out. If the core foundation is not adequately strengthened to provide proper stabilization of the joints, the body is at greater risk for injury when movements are initiated. This is true for complex movements such as a squat to shoulder press, but also for a “simple” everyday movement such as getting up off the couch. This is where we must incorporate isometric exercises that push the joint to fatigue, as well as unstable environment like a dyna-disk, bosu ball or stability ball to tax core and joint stabilization muscles. Reinforcement of perfect form and technique is essential in order to build on the corrective phase.

Phase 3 – Strength Equivalent Training
During the strength equivalent phase of training we introduce more strength based exercises in combination with unstable exercises. This is important to work the large prime moving muscles with a strength exercise, just prior to completely fatiguing the joint stabilizers with an exercise that mimics the movement patter in an unstable environment. By bridging the gap between stabilization and strength training we are able to recruit more muscles, burn more calories, and strengthen the entire body as everything is connected to create the kinetic chain.

Phase 4 – Hypertrophy Training
This is where most people go wrong. Most people jump straight into hypertrophy (muscle building) without taking the time to build a solid foundation first. This leads to heavy weight loaded on top of poor biomechanics (form) thus resulting in joint injuries. Imagine that you just started your new weight loss program. You are doing really well at changing your eating habits, increasing the frequency of workouts every week, and just as the pounds are starting to come off, and the results are under way you are stuck on the couch with a torn rotator cuff. This is a common pitfall for many people. By introducing proper exercise progressions the hypertrophy phase has many benefits:
• Increased muscle size
• Increased functional strength
• Increased basal metabolic rate (BMR) means more calories burned at rest

Phase 5 – Maximal Strength Training
Many individuals never make it to this phase. Not because they can’t handle it, but because it is not goal specific. Not many individuals care about pushing the envelope here unless it is specific for their sport. However those athletes that do want to push their potential to the max and see how much they can lift can trust in an injury free training environment when they have followed progressions from phases 1-4.

Phase 6 – Power Training
Power is defined as the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed. It is essential for most all athletes to develop power in their training program. For example: a track runner begin able to explode out of the blocks faster, a quarterback being able to throw the ball farther, a soccer player being able to kick the ball with such force that the goalie cannot defend in time.

Phase 7 – Maximal Power Training
Maximal power training is where we focus on being able to accelerate weight through space to prepare the body for similar stimulus like: Tackling an opponent in football, driving an opponent into the wall in hockey, shooting in for a take-down in wrestling, performing a clean a jerk in an Olympic lifting competition.

By following these science based principles, we are able to achieve goals of looking and feeling good, as well as being healthy and functional. Be on the top of your game no matter what goal you have, or what sport you play. For questions please contact me through the website http://www.dedicationfitness.org/trainers/eugene.

Thank you,
Eugene Neal
Co-Owner/Personal Trainer-Dedication Fitness
B.S. Physical Education and Kinesiology, M.Ed., NASM PT, NASM PES, NASM CES