NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 21: The Optimum Performance Training Model
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 21: The Optimum Performance Training Model 5

If you have not signed up for NASM CPT, sign up here to save 25% with my personal code PTP25.

Get your copy of the NASM CPT exam cheat sheet. It helps immensely for studying for the exam.

Make sure to check out Trainer Academy for premium NASM CPT study materials. They will reduce study time by 50% and have an exam pass guarantee. Read my full review on them here. You can save $100 on their MVP study system with the code: PTPSUB

Chapter Goals:

  • Find the differences in undulating and linear periodization.
  • Find the difference between microcycles, mesocycles, and macrocycles.
  • Be able to look at the various exercise protocols used in the five phases of the OPT model.
  • Be able to make use of. The OPT model to make fitness programs for the many goals clients have.

Introduction to Program Design

It can be quite complicated to create and modify the exercise programs for clients and there are many things to consider like the goals, exercise tolerance, and their unique abilities. 

Fitness professionals have many formats to choose from, and this causes some confusion and frustration when we are in the design process.

It is important for the fitness professionals to know the client’s needs, goals, and abilities, along with the concerns and contraindications they have due to previous injuries and conditions.

Some other things to know are the results of the fitness assessments, the forms of exercise they are interested in, or dislike, the exercise variables that you plan to use, the exercise modalities, and the right frequency that matches the client.

If the trainer is not able to answer those questions, this can lead to overtraining occurring the client.

Many times, we see that clients and trainers would prefer a simpler approach to the program design, and this oversimplification is not going to maximize the weight loss, or strength built, or whatever aspect the program is looking to focus on.

Program Design

There must be a clear understanding of training plans and the use of periodization in order for the design of programs to be done well.

Training plans are specific outlines that fitness professionals use for meeting the client’s goal.

The variation in acute variables and the correct use of these will ensure the most success with training programs. 

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
Save 25%
Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Best Study Materials
See MVP discount
A Good Option
50% off
A Good Option
50% off
Best CPT for you?
Get Free Trial

Periodization is the systematic approach to designing programs that exploits the general adaptation syndrome and the principle of specificity.

An annual plan is known as the macrocycle, which is the longest term plan, and it changes within the months to meet the desired goal.

A monthly plan is known as a mesocycle, and this divides the training into specific monthly cycles. Specific days are detailed along with the training schedule to be used.

The weekly plan is known as the Microcycle, and this is detailing the actual specific workouts within a week.

Linear and Undulating Periodization

Periodization has always been shown to be effective for the many fitness related goals out there, but it is not even common practice for the training world.

Linear periodization is a traditional form of designing programs where the goal is to increase the intensity of the training load while also decreasing the volume over a certain time. So, intensity is going up, while volume goes down. 

Undulating is known as nonlinear periodization, and this is involving changing the volume, intensity, and the selection of exercises to bring about loading differences on a weekly or daily basis. This shines over other forms of training because it ensures that the workouts do not get boring and stale.

The Optimum Performance Model

The OPT model was made by the NASM to be a planned, systematic, and periodized program for training. It is designed for the improvement of all physical abilities mentioned throughout the textbook.

This program should be used and thought of as a staircase, where you start in phase one and climb yourself up the final phase of power, phase 5. It is totally realistic to stop at the steps, to go up or down, and it will depend on the many factors about the client.

The first part of the template for exercise involves the warmup and cardiorespiratory training. There should always be a systematic approach and a clear focus for these programs.

OPT Daily Workout Template

After the warmup, the suggestion is to go to activation. This is the core and balance exercises, and it can even be a continuation of the warmup mentioned before. 

A big next step in the workout involves the development of skills. Here the focus is on the plyometrics and the development of skills like SAQ drills.

The major part of the daily workout is the resistance training, as it is essential in any program, and will develop the needed bodily attributes like joint and core stability, muscular endurance, hypertrophy, strength, power, and athleticism. 

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
Save 25%
Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Best Study Materials
See MVP discount
A Good Option
50% off
A Good Option
50% off
Best CPT for you?
Get Free Trial

Client’s choice then takes a part of the program. This has a lot to do with the adherence to programs and ensuring that it is possible. 

The cooldown is the last part of the daily workout, and it has the client essentially doing the warmup, but in reverse. The objective is to bring the body from working mode to a resting mode, or simply closer to this resting mode.

Stabilization Level of the OPT Model

This first level has the focus of two adaptations: the developments of proper patterns of movement and the mobility and stability within the whole kinetic chain.

We are building that essential base that will be used for the rest of the stages that follow in the OPT Model.

Some of the focuses here will be:

  • Developing proper movement patterns: squat, push, pull, press, hip hinge, and multiplanar movement
  • Acquiring basic exercise skills and proper use of exercise machines, free weights, and cardio equipment
  • Correcting muscle imbalances
  • Improving activation of the core musculature and stabilization of the spine and pelvis
  • Enhancing balance, coordination, and postural control during physical activity, exercise, and sport
  • Preventing tissue overload by preparing muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints for the upcoming imposed demands of training
  • Improving cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance
  • Promoting client confidence and adherence to exercise

There is only one phase in this level, and that is the stabilization endurance training phase.

The fundamental movement patterns that we go through here in this stage are the squat, hip hinge, pulling motions, pushing motions, pressing, and multiplanar movement. we are, again, building that foundation that these movements provide that will enable us to do more exercises efficiently, later in the program. 

Squatting is an essential compound movement that assists a lot with the activities of daily living. 

Some poor squatting techniques include the following:

  • Keeping the feet straight ahead and avoiding overpronation of the foot and ankle complex
  • Tracking the knees over the second and third toes; do not allow the knees to cave inward (known as knee valgus)
  • Ensuring a neutral pelvis and spine
  • Equally flexing at the ankles and hips; keep the torso and shin angles parallel, which provides equal weight distribution between the ankles, knees, and hips
  • Maintaining head and shoulders in a neutral position

The hip hinge also is utilized in many movements, so it can be quite beneficial.

Pulling, pushing, and pressing use a lot of the movements we will be doing throughout future phases, and they are essential and help with daily activities.

A major part of this phase of stabilization is the increases in the demands for proprioception. This is essentially balance and core, and it is a necessity for the client to grow.

Endurance Training Program

The warm up usually includes self-myofascial release techniques, static stretching, and optimal dynamic stretching, along with some light cardio.

Activation phase will have some form of core and balance exercise to get the body even more engaged and ready to work. 

It may not be good to program the plyometrics and SAQ training that is recommended yet, but it can be possible to train some of those moves lightly, or to teach about the exercise equipment. 

The focus for the resistance training here should be on movement patterns mentioned n the beginning.

The client should then be allowed to enjoy their own exercises if they have some sort of preference.

Strength Level of OPT Model

The focus here is on adapting strength. The different training focuses are:  

  • Increasing the ability of the core musculature to stabilize the pelvis and spine under heavier loads, through greater ranges of motion
  • Increasing the load-bearing capabilities of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints
  • Increasing the volume of training
  • Increasing metabolic demand by taxing the phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) and glycolytic energy systems to induce cellular changes in muscle
  • Increasing recruitment of more motor units to overcome an external load (maximal strength)

Phase 2 Strength Endurance Straining

This is a hybrid that looks to promote stabilization endurance, hypertrophy, and strength. There is a distinct use of supersets in this phase.

Phase 3 Muscular Development Training

This is specific for the development of maximal growth for the muscles, and there is a focus put on the high volume of training, which forces these cell changes that result in an increase in the size of muscles. 

Phase 4 Maximal Strength Training

This phase is going to focus on the load that is placed on tissues. It requires the client to lift more and more loads to a near max level of intensity. 


This is the third level of the OPT model, and it is designed for the increase in rate of force production, also known as the speed of muscular contractions.

It is the culmination of the previous levels of training, and it is the final level for the entire OPT training model.

It is not a common style of training in the environment of fitness, but it is viable and purposeful when properly planned. 

Power is calculated by the equation of P = F times V, or force times velocity. People will be training at heavy loads of around 85 – 100 percent intensity and in the 1 – 5 rep ranges.

Power is the third level of the OPT model, but it is the fifth and final phase in the OPT model.

If it hadn’t been used before, it is rather necessary to have the Specific warmups be used. This means warming up the specific movements through warmup protocols that go through similar movements. 

NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 21: The Optimum Performance Training Model 6
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 21: The Optimum Performance Training Model 7
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 21: The Optimum Performance Training Model 8

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

PTPioneer Editorial Integrity

All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam


NASM CPT exam cheat sheet

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam

Scroll to Top