Creative Exercise Program Design

Variety is the “spice” of exercise program design.  Variation helps to prevent exercise burnout, boredom, lack of adherence/results and overuse injuries.  So, if you know your exercise program as well as your trainer, then it may be time for a change! Keeping your programs fresh, cutting edge, progressive and interesting, takes a tremendous amount of time on the part of the trainer.  And that is to be expected as it is part of our job to research, design, create and challenge our clients.  This week we will feature one of literally hundreds of the possible imaginative and inventive program designs available based upon solid exercise science and programming.

And, although the program highlighted was specifically designed for a healthy and very fit female client, there are hundreds of possibilities available for every age, gender, and fitness level.  So, seek out valid, well-designed programs which highlight creativity and variety yet fundamentally address your needs for safety and effectiveness ultimately yielding extraordinary outcomes!  As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Ten Station Circuit – Each station is performed for 75 seconds.  On designated cardio stations, the client continues working for the entire 75 seconds (i.e., 30 seconds as hard as they can push—high intensity interval—becoming winded—15 seconds active recovery—repeat the effort for 30 seconds).

On non-cardio, muscular strength training stations, the client performs the exercise for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds to change sides when necessary and re-set the posture, then performing another set of the same exercise for 30 seconds.  Each set should elicit a “momentary muscle failure” response (i.e., you cannot complete another repetition without some recovery).  The entire circuit is repeated twice through and takes approximately 40 minutes (i.e., you have the option to repeat it a third round). It is performed twice a week on non-consecutive days in conjunction with three-four other completely different workout programs per week.

Total Program Time – 60-65 minutes – RPE’s 3-10 which is moderate to very, very heavy exertion; Training Zones of 1-5)

Warm-up – bike – 5-8 minutes bringing the heart rate to the base of the target heart rate zone, which is approximately 50-65 percent of the heart rate maximum, an RPE of 1-2 which is very light to light exertion and Zone One on the Heart Zones Training chart.

Station #1 – Run up/downstairs w/20lb. sandbag pack on the back – cardio

Station #2 – Squats w/biceps curls w/two 10lb. kettlebells on Strongboard (targets quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes/biceps/core)

Station #3 – Dead Lifts w/one 60lb. d/b (targets glutes/hamstrings/core)

Station #4 – Quick plyometric alternating squats – BOSU Balance Trainer – cardio

Station #5 – Standing Hip Abduction w/cuff tubing around ankles (targets hip abductors/core)

Station #6 – Supine Bench Press w/40lb. barbell – on bench (targets pectorals/deltoids/triceps)

Station #7 – Agility Ladder – zig/zag skill – cardio

Station #8 – Pull Ups w/Revolution Pro (targets latissimus dorsi/biceps/deltoids/core)

Station #9 – Lunges – Smith Machine – 50lbs. (targets quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes/core)

Station #10 – Standing Triceps Pushdowns – multi-gym/cable-pulley – 20lbs. w/rope (targets triceps/core)

Abs/Core – Circuit – perform all five exercises twice through – 8 minutes

Pushups – 12x – prone/stability ball/from shins


  • V-sit – tap toes – 16x
  • V-sit – flex/extend legs – 12x
  • V-sit – hold position – 10 seconds
  • V-sit layouts – 8x

Myofascial Release – 2-3 minutes – w/foam roller – all major muscle groups

Stretching/Flexibility – 5 minutes – perform static stretches for all major muscle groups of the body, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds to a point of tightness, never pain.

Leave a Comment