Fitness is a multi varied thing. There is not one metric that is the epitome of fitness. Only by focusing on the different aspects of physical output will an every person build full fitness, and only through this approach will an athlete build peak performance.


The areas of focus for assessment of the individual, program design, progress assessment, and program redesign are four-fold. Those four categories are:


  • Strength: basic ability to apply force.
  • Conditioning: ability of the body to do work
  • Skill: ability to perform technical movement
  • Mobility: ability of the joint to move through range of motion


Previous blog posts I created discuss these areas in more or less detail, and you can find these in the blog history, including this write-up. Any program created will need to work these areas in unison. A simple way to do that is to follow the program below.


Day 1

Barbell Back Squat – 8 sets x 5 reps

21, 15, 9 pull-ups and thrusters

3.1 mile run


Day 2

Barbell Bench Press – 8 sets x 5 reps 

10-, 20-, or 30-minute AMRAP of 10 burpees and 10 toes to bar

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, walk or jog 800 meters


Day 3

Barbell Deadlift – 8 sets x 5 reps 

Power clean – 1 rep EMOM x 10 minutes

Moderate effort 1-mile run

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete two times


Day 4

Crossfit Workout Murph 


Day 5

Barbell Standing Row – 3 sets x 8-12 reps Dumbbell Single Arm Bent Over Row – 3 sets x 8-12 reps Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 8-12 reps Dumbbell Alternating Bicep Curl – 3 sets x 8-12 reps Cable Straight Bar Triceps Pushdown – 3 sets x 8-12 reps

The basic layout


So, this is a simple four day layout that you could repeat week over week using a simple progression of load. This would lead to progress over time and this program could be completed for a minimum of 12 weeks in such a way. That said, this program can be varied over time and progressive in a number of ways. Some of those ways include:


  • Increasing load over time
  • Increasing reps over time
  • Changing volume pattern
  • Changing the exercises


Just doing those four things regularly over a 12-week training cycle, let alone a one-year training cycle, will yield improvements in all areas of performance. I will dig more into that as we move on.


Understanding the days


The day layout may seem pretty basic, but that is with purpose. Properly approached consistently over time with the quality work put into each session, this program will yield substantial results in fitness improvements.


These improvements will include an increase in strength, conditioning, skill, and mobility. These are the four fitness categories that I use to assess my fitness and clients. If you have not seen what I can do, look here, or what my clients have to say, look here.


With that in mind, let us take a closer look at each of the days in this program.


  • Day 1 is strength and conditioning with a focus on squatting strength
  • Day 2 is strength and conditioning with a focus on pressing strength
  • Day 3 is strength and conditioning with a focus on hinging strength
  • Day 4 is a conditioning session focus on on long chipper conditioning
  • Day 5 is isolation work to build strength in areas less focus on by Days 1-4


The strength portion of the first three days focuses on essential movement patterns that are basic human function:


  • Squatting
  • Hinging
  • Pressing


Every time you bend over to pick something up, you are hinging. Every time you put something on a shelf overhead, you are pressing. Every time you squat down to look at something, you are, well, squatting. There are many other examples, but the idea is these movements are basic human movement patterns.


Developing these basic movements patterns makes you fitter in a daily sense, but also in a performance sense for recreational activities, such as gym time, but also for performance in sports. Building greater strength in these areas is essential for general fitness and performance. 


Building high levels of strength lends to the ability to do more volume at lower weight. The logic is that as your strength level increases, your ability to do more—more sets and reps for example—at lower weights becomes easier. If you can squat 200 pounds for one rep, then squatting 100 pounds for multiple reps becomes easier, even if you have not been squatting 100 pounds for reps.


The conditioning portion for days 1-3 builds full body muscular endurance as well as cardio endurance. This helps build upon the idea that increasing max strength helps build endurance as lower weights, by expressing this ability in low weight but high volume metcons and circuits. Even in the absence of the strength work, your full body conditioning would improve, with some marginal strength improvements over time.


The conditioning work also focuses on another essential movement pattern: running. Running is a natural ability that develops over time. Even if you never show a child how to run, he or she will eventually run as a natural progression of crawl, stand, walk, run. It is inherently human and has been a part of human ability since man first walked the Earth.


Day 4 is more conditioning work, but with the intent of pushing longer duration. Crossfit Workout Murph consists of:


  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull-up
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1 mile run


Even if you never did any other exercises, and just repeated this workout over time for the rest of your life, you would improve your full body strength and conditioning, as well as general cardiovascular fitness.


Day 5 works isolation exercises with the intent of targeting areas that are less involved on the other days. Including this also helps break up the workout style with a change of pace.


In my experience, people need different types of workouts based on their trouble areas in relation to workouts programmed for the day. Ideally, look at your trouble areas and work on those prior to the workout, before performing warm-up sets of the first lift, and ideally of subsequent movements.


In the instance of Day 1, so generally mobility work that works each joint through range of motion may be ideal. If your shoulders are tight, warm those more. If your hips are tight, prep those more. If your ankles are tight, work those more. Apply that idea to any problem area. You can also contact me for ideas of what to do.


Before the first set of back squats, perform 4-8 warm-ups sets, more or less as needed, before the first working set. Use progressively heavier weights, but do not fatigue yourself with these sets. The goal is to prepare for the main work, not fatigue yourself before the main work.




Scale this work as needed on anything listed. For example, maybe doing 2-3 working sets of the back squat is good for you right now. More likely, the back squat will not need scaling, but perhaps the running or Murph will/


How you scale, or perhaps I should say to what degree, depends on your current level of fitness. Coming into this, you may be an experienced runner who knows good form, solid breathing patterns, and who is conditioning for both speed and distance. But, maybe you are not and you need to walk or jog the sprint distances, only do part of the 5k, or make other adjustments.


Scaling down can mean reducing total volume, which may include less sets, less reps, less distance, less rounds, or a combination of all these. Ease into anything with which you are not familiar, and always err on the side of safety.


If you have questions, contact me here.




Progression can happen in a number of ways. One or more of these ways can be used over time. A few options are:


  • Increase load over time
  • Increase running speed over time
  • Increase range of motion over time
  • Decrease time for conditioning work
  • Decrease rest between sets
  • Decrease pace of lifts


There are other possibilities as well, but these are a good start. Let me dig into the details for these options a bit.


Increase load over time

This one is pretty straightforward. Increase the load used over time, for instance, week over week for the same lift such as the back squat. For example, in week one you might use 100 pounds for all sets. In week two you might use 102.5, then week three 105, and so on. 


The progression may not occur each week, meaning that you might lift the same load for multiple weeks before increasing. This is normal and acceptable as long as you are progressing over time. Even adding five pounds per month would equal a 60 pound increase in load used, which is phenomenal, and highly unlikely. 


There will be some periods where it may take a couple of months to add five pounds to your max. This is especially true of seasoned lifters.


You have to give the process time and expect maringal progress over time.


Increase running speed over time

This is also straightforward. Assuming you can complete the given distances as listed, marginally increasing speed over time is a natural progression. This is, in theory, equivalent to increasing load over time for weighted exercises. 


Marginal increases are ideal here. If you can knock 10+ seconds off your time each week, you realistically have been underperforming. Cutting a few seconds of per mile time each month is good progress. Think about it like this: if you cut 4 seconds of your mile time each month, that means a decrease of 48 seconds over the course of a year.


That is monumental progress, and also unlikely for seasoned runners. 


You have to give the process time and expect maringal progress over time.


Increase range of motion over time

Oddly, for some people, this is the hardest area. One, people often do not want to work on mobility, even when it can have a huge benefit to overall performance, not to mention general health and fitness.


Also, this can take more time for some people than it does to increase load or speed. But, increasing range of motion in lifts is a good way to use lifting as something of an assisted stretch. This is especially true for warm-ups and lighter working sets. 


There is a whole logic behind this. Contact me for more information.


Decrease time for conditioning work

This is somewhat similar to increasing load and speed. The idea is that decreasing the time it takes to complete a circuit or a workout like Murph increases the intensity of the workout, but also helps push your conditioning further. This can also lead to more efficient workouts, due to time saved.


Decrease rest between sets

Same idea, essentially, as the last item. Realistically, you should only rest long enough between sets to allow completion of the next set. As you become fitter and more conditioning, you should be able to decease rest between sets, even as load increases, to a finite degree.


Decrease pace of lifts

This is another approach, like increasing range, that is ideal for warm-up sets and lighter sets. Slowing down the pace of a lift makes it harder due to more time under tension. It can help with building strength and muscle, as well as muscular endurance, while also reinforce lifting positions, since you spend more time in each position.


Progression for any of these may not be linear, especially if you try to work multiple areas at once. What that means is you may see an increase in load, for example, for multiple weeks in a row, but then find a week or two where you actually need to take a step back in weight, before increasing again. 


There can be any number of reasons for this. As long as the overall trend is forward, you are on the right track. If you have questions, contact me here.


And that is it. Have questions? Let me know on social media. You can click the links here, or just look up Nathan DeMetz Personal Training on Facebook and Instagram.

Demetz Personal Training About Nathan Demetz Personal Trainer

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.

Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!