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    NASM's OPT model - applying it in practice for novices

    Hi,

    I'm studying to get my personal training certification through NASM. I have a CS/data science background and I'm interested in designing and building a fitness application that optimizes and personalizes bodybuilding and conditioning needs. Yes, I realize there are a few of these out there already, but I think I have a few good ideas that haven't already been tried...

    Anyway, back to NASM. My confusion with the OPT model is that it goes through three levels subdivided into a total of 5 levels:
    1) Stabilization endurance
    2) Strength
    a) Muscular endurance
    b) Hypertrophy
    c) Strength
    3) Power

    NASM makes some of these levels optional, namely hypertrophy, strength, and power, but it sort of "requires" that you go through the stabilization and muscular endurance stages first, IF you are at that level of fitness (i.e. various fitness tests reveal that you lack stabilization and muscular endurance). I totally get it that you should be required to be stable before progressing. The muscular endurance phase comes right after the stabilization level and seems to also be required. In this level, the recommendation is that you superset a high rep strength exercise (12-20 reps) with a stabilization exercise. I guess it's sort of a "novice strength" level, and from there you can choose to focus on hypertrophy/strength/power depending on your goals.

    However, after reading some of the posts in this forum, I'm wondering if this muscular endurance phase is really a requirement at all for a novice. In one post in particular, it is suggested that a novice can actually start with 5 reps (and I assume higher weight?) and this will jumpstart neural efficiency. This seems to go against the OPT model principal that you need to start with higher reps before moving to this stage where you can start building your strength with lower reps.


    Definitely interested in hearing thoughts about the OPT model and how it's used in the real world, and if novices really need to start with higher reps/fewer sets or not.

    Thanks,
    Christie
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    This is massively overcomplicating and yet oversimplifying novice training at the same time.

    There's zero requirement for these stages, at the same time a novice should still train according to their personal goals.
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    Registered User Oleg1975K's Avatar
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    Can I learn more about what kind of periodization model is currently being discussed?
    bench press 167.5 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    standing press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Registered User Ctiger06's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    This is massively overcomplicating and yet oversimplifying novice training at the same time.

    There's zero requirement for these stages, at the same time a novice should still train according to their personal goals.
    Well it may be complicated, but I'm not making this up myself -- this is coming from the highly reputable National Academy of Sports Medicine, straight from the textbook. I think the reason for this is that they are stressing safety above all else. They don't want a person to lift heavy or medium weights yet if they don't have the connective tissue built up to support that. Their definition of novice is a truly deconditioned person, not just someone who is new to lifting but generally in shape. These stabilization levels only last 4-6 weeks if they are necessary for the client.
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ctiger06 View Post
    Well it may be complicated, but I'm not making this up myself -- this is coming from the highly reputable National Academy of Sports Medicine, straight from the textbook. I think the reason for this is that they are stressing safety above all else. They don't want a person to lift heavy or medium weights yet if they don't have the connective tissue built up to support that. Their definition of novice is a truly deconditioned person, not just someone who is new to lifting but generally in shape. These stabilization levels only last 4-6 weeks if they are necessary for the client.
    I wouldn't call them highly reputable, all those so called "professional training certifications" have a pretty bad rep for being outdated and filled with pseudoscience among serious lifting circles

    heavy or medium weights are already relative to the person, there is no magical requirement to build up connective tissue before doing a moderate effort set within that persons technical ability.
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    So pick up an empty barbell? Then add weight?
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    In classical sports practice there is such a rule - the lower the athletic qualification of an athlete, the more he must do General physical training. Verhoshansky, when criticized, the concept of Matveev, nevertheless recognized that at the initial and average level of training of the athlete the classical model of periodization is necessary.
    bench press 167.5 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    standing press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    I think you have little to no experience with actual weightlifting, yet want to train others without any practical knowledge. Not going to work well.
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    Smile

    Thanks for the constructive feedback. The comment about general physical training the less conditioned you are makes a lot of sense. I’m guessing most of the people on here are not remotely in that boat, which is why it may not seem that relevant.

    I’m not new to strength training as I was a D1 rower in college and have continued to train and lift ever since, never though with the express purpose of bodybuilding and max strength gains - which is why I’m learning as much as I can about it now on this forum
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    Originally Posted by DCSpartan View Post
    I think you have little to no experience with actual weightlifting, yet want to train others without any practical knowledge. Not going to work well.
    To be fair to OP, you just described a lot of personal trainers.
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    Christie, if you're interested in the problem of periodization, I suggest you find and read Issurin's book. It's not about bodybuilding, but it will greatly improve the understanding of the concept as a whole.
    bench press 167.5 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    standing press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Registered User Sherniee's Avatar
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    It applies to your special population coaching. As in you should be prepared for an older individual that literally can't stand on one leg.

    Definitely interested in hearing thoughts about the OPT model and how it's used in the real world, and if novices really need to start with higher reps/fewer sets or not.
    Practical application is you getting them to groove the movement pattern very far from technical failure. That's all I'm willing to take from it. Most I've come across can start on templates very similar to stronglifts or SS.

    You're doing them a huge favour in their own development by getting right to the basic compounds. A healthy mid-20s male doesn't need to be proficient at the staggered stance, I'd rather spend their rest periods discussing and cueing their squat, etc.
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    Starting weight 304lbs
    Current weight 176lbs
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