The FITTER Program: A Simple Guide to Building Max Fitness

Summary:

  1. Fitness is made up of a few main components: Strength, Muscular Endurance, Cardiovascular Endurance, Flexibility, Body Composition.
  2. 4 Day/Week training program focusing on these different components.
  3. This is a program ideally for trainees who know how to weight train although exercises can be adjusted to suit beginners.
  4. Bonus: Bodyweight Training options available for you to train during this CoVid crisis!

All of us has our own reasons to partake in physical activity. Some of us train for aesthetics, some to lose weight, for health and so on. This also means that there’s a multitude of ways to train depending on your goals. But for those without a specific goal and would like to train just to keep fit, this guide is for you.

“To be physically fit means to be in a state of health and well-being. Physical fitness is defined as the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist disease and to react to emergency situations.” – FitforLife

Fitness is not just aiming to lift as heavy as you can on the bench press and having bulging biceps, it’s a goal to be able to do anything you’d like your body to do and to be able to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Photo by ISTOCK

UNDERSTANDING FITNESS

In order to become physically fit, we first have to understand what makes “Fitness” so that we can better train for it. According to the American Council of Exercise, there are several components to fitness which includes:

Cardiorespiratory Endurance is the ability to exercise your body for a long time without stopping. It refers primarily to the heart (cardiovascular) and lungs (respiratory) to sustain continued effort.

Muscular Strength is the ability of the muscle to exert maximal or near maximal force against an object.

Muscular Endurance is the ability of a muscle to repeatedly exert force against resistance for an extended period of time.

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. This is important for an individual to be able to have pain free and independent movement. Flexibility is also made up 3 components: Muscle Elasticity & Length, Nervous system and Joint Structure, of which, the initial 2 can be improved through Flexibility Training.

Body Composition measures the relative amount of muscle, bone, water & fat in the body. A healthy body composition is important in both health as well as performance. Lower body fat percentages tend to be better for both.

So in order to become fitter, we need to improve our strength, endurance (muscular & cardiovascular), body composition and also our flexibility. Now that we understand what builds Fitness better, we can properly plan and train to become Fitter.

The “FITTER” Program

The Fitter program by Strongertmr Training is aimed to get better in a variety of physical attributes but mainly: Strength, Muscular Endurance & Cardiovascular Endurance. This can be used for Beginner to Intermediate trainees as long as you understand how to progress and regress safely.

We will be employing a 4 day training split as follows:

Day 1Strength
Day 2Conditioning & Core (Moderate – High Intensity)
Day 3Rest
Day 4Muscular Endurance
Day 5Conditioning & Core (Low – Moderate Intensity)
Day 6Rest/Stretching & Mobility Drills
Day 7Rest/Stretching & Mobility Drills
4 day training split focusing on different aspects of fitness.
Photo by Healthline

DAY 1: STRENGTH DAY

Notes: During Strength Days, we are aiming to build maximal strength by focusing on 2 main max effort Barbell Push & Squat/Hinge exercises. We also have a supplementary Pull exercise for muscular balance. Overall volume is relatively low as the focus is kept on maximal strength and in anticipation of Day 2’s conditioning workout.

A. Max-Effort Barbell Push – Work up to 3 sets of 5 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Bench Press Variation (Flat/Incline/Floor Press)
  • Overhead Press Variation (Overhead/Push Press)

B. Max-Effort Barbell Lower Body – Work up to 3 sets of 5 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Squat Variation (Back/Front/Trap Bar Squat)
  • Deadlift (Conventional/Sumo)

Rest 90 – 120 seconds in between Max Effort exercises.

C. Supplemental Pull Exercise – Work up to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Pull Up Variation
  • Incline Row
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Dumbbell Row

D. Supplemental Lower Body Exercise – Work up to 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Barbell/Dumbbell Lunge Variation
  • Romanian Deadlift

E*. Supplemental Arms Exercises (Optional) – Work up to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl Variation
  • Cable Tricep Pulldown Variation

Rest 45 – 60 seconds in between Supplemental Exercises.

Photo by Stack

DAY 2: MODERATE – HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Notes: During M-I Conditioning days, we are aiming to develop muscular and cardiovascular endurance with high intensity exercise and working in the 70 to 85% range of your maximal heart rate. We will be performing interval or circuit training in order to achieve this.

A. General Warmup & Movement Drills – Pick 3 – 5 exercises and perform for a total of 5 to 15 minutes. (Feel free to add in other drills)

  • Jog
  • Forward & Backward Shuttle Run
  • Lateral Side Shuffle
  • Butt Kicks & High Knees
  • Jumping Jacks

B. Core Activation – Perform 2 exercises and perform for 2 sets of 30 to 60 seconds each.

  • Plank Variation
  • Glute Thrust Variation

C. Conditioning – Pick one of the following exercises

  • Run/Row/Bike Intervals – Perform 8 to 12 rounds of 100 – 200m sprints and rest 60 seconds in between.
  • Crossfit Styled WOD – E.g 4 Exercises: 1 Barbell, 1 Dumbbell, 1 Cardio exercise & Burpees

*Any HIIT Styled programs can be substituted although the above 2 styles are my personal preferences for conditioning.

D. High Repetition Core Circuit – Pick 3 to 4 core exercises and perform for 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions each. Some choices can include:

  • Crunches
  • V-Ups
  • Sprinter Sit-ups
  • Leg Raises

Rest 45 – 60 seconds in between sets.

Photo by FashionBeans

DAY 4: MUSCULAR ENDURANCE

Notes: During Muscular Endurance Days, we are working to build muscular endurance by performing exercises in the 15 – 20 repetition range. We will employ a Push, Pull, Squat/Lunge & Hinge exercise done in a circuit format. This is different from a conditioning circuit and more rest can be utilised in order to maximise development of muscular endurance.

A. Push – Pick 1 of the following exercises

  • Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press Variation
  • Barbell/Dumbbell Overhead Press Variation
  • Pushup Variation
  • Dips

B. Squat/Lunge – Pick 1 of the following exercises

  • Barbell/Dumbbell/Bodyweight Squat Variation
  • Barbell/Dumbbell/Bodyweight Lunge Variation

C. Pull – Pick 1 of the following exercises

  • Pull Up Variation
  • Barbell/Dumbbell/Bodyweight Row Variation

D. Hinge – Pick 1 of the following exercises

  • Barbell/Dumbbell Deadlift Variation
  • Kettlebell Swing Variation
  • Glute Thrust Variation

Perform 4 to 6 Rounds of each exercise in a circuit format for 15 to 25 repetitions each.

Rest 60 seconds in between exercises and 60 – 90 seconds in between sets.

E. High Repetition Core Circuit – Pick 3 to 4 core exercises and perform for 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions each. (Same as Day 2)

Photo by Gregorbister, Getty Images

DAY 5: LOW – MODERATE INTENSITY CARDIO

Notes: During L-M Days, we are focusing on building cardiovascular endurance and working in the 50 to 70% range of your maximum heart rate. For the main Cardio exercise, you can choose to keep track of your progress using time or distance depending on your preference.

*Playing a sport can also be a suitable alternative for this this day.

A. General Warmup & Movement Drills – Pick 3 – 5 exercises and perform for a total of 5 to 15 minutes. (Feel free to add in other drills)

  • Jog
  • Forward & Backward Shuttle Run
  • Lateral Side Shuffle
  • Butt Kicks & High Knees
  • Jumping Jacks

B. Core Activation – Perform 2 exercises and perform for 2 sets of 30 to 60 seconds each

  • Plank Variation
  • Glute Thrust Variation

C. Cardio – Pick 1 of the following exercises and perform for time or distance

  • Run/Jog
  • Cycle
  • Row
  • Swim

OFF DAYS: ACTIVE RECOVERY

Take the time to help promote active recovery by engaging in activities such as going for a walk, foam rolling, yoga and stretching.

BONUS: Bodyweight Version

While possible to still train without any equipment, it is likely you will end up developing muscular imbalances due to a lack of pulling exercises. It is highly recommended to have a few pieces of equipment minimally. I recommend:

  • Pull Up Bar/Suspension Trainer
  • Resistance Bands (1 Light, 1 Medium)
  • 1 Kettlebell of moderate weight

These 3 pieces of equipment can go a long way.

The only workout day that requires adjustment is our Maximal Strength Day as there is a lot of heavy barbell work. For our Maximal Strength Day, we can either change the focus to maximal power and perform power exercises or seek to slow down the tempo of our training (doing the exercise in a more controlled way to increase the difficulty of the exercise).

A. Controlled/Power Push – Work up to 3 sets of 5 repetitions

  • Explosive Pushup Variation
  • Controlled Dips/Pushup Variation

B. Controlled/Power Lower Body – Work up to 3 sets of 5 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Jump Variation
  • Single Leg Squat Variation

Rest 90 – 120 seconds in between Max Effort exercises.

C. Supplemental Pull Exercise – Work up to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Band Rows (Standing/Sitting)
  • Pull Ups
  • Suspension Trainer Rows

D. Supplemental Lower Body Exercise – Work up to 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions in one of the following:

  • Lunge/Split Squat Variation
  • Glute Thrust Variation

Rest 45 – 60 seconds in between Supplemental Exercises.

While using only bodyweight is not the most effective or efficient in building maximal strength, these exercises are still great to help develop some strength & power should you have no access to a gym. If you do not have any way to do a pulling exercise for now, do another bodyweight Push for part (C).

CONCLUSION

This program can be run for as long as you want as long as you are making good progress in the various fitness aspects. It is also highly customisable and there are many different exercises you can switch around with, although it is recommended to focus on a few basics and only switch when you stall. Enjoy this program and let’s all get fitter and stronger tomorrow!

Feel free to leave a comment or drop a message in my DMs @Strongertmr for questions or if you’d like to work together!

Disclaimer: I strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.

Author: Leon Tan, CSCS

I'm a certified Fitness Coach with a degree in Sports Science. I am passionate in Health, Fitness and helping people become a better version of ourselves.

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