4 Keys To Creating a Program Design System

Program Design System

Creating a Program Design System

Most trainers struggle to create a program design system that fits their business.

So, how do you create a program design system that uses solid training principles (which can be learned from the experts in the industry) but fits your clients and core offer?

The first thing to remember is the 80/20 rule. 20% of the things you do will get you 80% of the results you want. Identifying the 20% is the key to success.

20% of the things you do will get you 80% of the results you want

What Makes Up the 20%?

There are 4 key areas that you need to cover to create a great program design system.

  1. Intake/Assessment
  2. Goal Bundling (or “bucketing”)
  3. Training System
  4. Movement Menu

Key #1: Determine the Best Assessment System

There are numerous options for trainers and fitness pros to evaluate their new clients and measure progress in movement and performance.

Spoiler alert…there is no perfect assessment. :/

Find one that works for you and gets you the information that you need to get the results your clients want.

When determining your assessment process make sure it aligns with:

  1. Your ideal client’s goals
  2. Your strengths and weaknesses as a trainer
  3. Your Core Offer (group or personal training)

It also needs to be easy to implement and systemized.

The goal of the assessment for most clients is simply to determine the starting point. Too many assessments only evaluate dysfunction or the need for corrective exercise.

Don’t forget to measure performance!

Key #2: Create Your Goal Buckets

Your clients are coming to you to help them reach a goal, so it only makes sense to align your training with those various goals.

Typically you can create 2-3 goal buckets that will help you categorize the training systems you’ll need to create.

These are the 2-3 most common goals that your clients want from you / their training.

Here are some examples:program design system

Figure out your most in demand goals and then move to the next step.

Key #3: Create Your Template System

For each of your 2-3 goals you will create a 3-4 phase training template to help your clients reach their goal.

This will give you a 12-16 week plan for each client.

You also will now be able to evaluate the results your programs deliver. If you find that you’re not getting the results you want as fast as you want you can easily adjust the templates to make improvements.

These phases should be progressive with your training variables. You can increase intensity, volume or difficulty of exercises to continue pushing your clients to their goals.

Get an Effective, Done-for-You Program Design System

Check Out the Elite Fitness Training Systems

Here’s a few examples of the templated training programs you may create:

Using this type of template system will allow you to either move clients from one program to the next as they reach their goals or continue to use those phases with more volume or more challenging exercises to help them stay on track to reach a long term goal.

Key #4: Develop a Movement Menu

The final step to create your program design system is developing a movement menu to complete your training template system.

Focus on the main movement patterns (remember the 80/20 rule!) and don’t get too hung up on the implement or equipment being used.

Here are the six most commonly used movement patterns:

  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Lunge
  • Carry

Developing a movement menu of progressive exercises for various levels clients will make coaching and creating your programs much easier.

Not to mention training your team on how to deliver the programs.

A list of 8-10 exercises in each category will be plenty to keep your training fresh and fun for clients while delivering results.


Creating a program design system for your business doesn’t have to be difficult! Focusing on the 80/20 rule and aligning your system with the needs of your clients and type of program you offer makes it much more simple.

The 4 keys to Program Design:

  • Determine the intake/assessment system that meets your needs
  • Create your goal buckets
  • Develop a template system
  • Determine your movement menu

Looking to Beef Up Your Program Design?

If you need a little extra help creating your system check out the Elite Fitness Training System and start implementing your program design system right away!

Elite Training Systems

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  • Tamara Nikolajew says:

    Hello, Can I see a sample of what your program looks like?? Is it based on equipment you have access too? Are there picture or video presentations or just word descriptions of the exercises ? I’m interested in this program but would like a sample of what a typical weight loss program would look like. Thanks . Tamara Nikolajew

  • Ryan Ketchum says:


    There is a video overview on this page: http://ultimateprogrambuilder.com/