How to Write Your Own Exercise Program Part One

Finding an exercise program can be challenging, if we are unable to afford a coach, the next best thing we do is look online to see how we can meet our fitness goals. The trouble with searching for the “right” program, is that there is a lot of information and programs out there. There are programs catered specifically towards bodybuilding, fat loss, muscle gain, etc. We know that with this amount of information out there, it makes fitness overwhelming and challenging to do. In this article we will take you through our thought process on how we design our programs and how you can design your own as well!

Warm Up

Warming up is by far one of the most crucial things to do before beginning your training session. Warming up should take roughly about 5 to 10 minutes and should get you warmed up, not hot and sweaty. Your warm up shouldn’t be extremely taxing, nor should it be too easy, just enough to get blood flowing through the muscles and to loosen up the joints.

Here is how to construct your warm up:

SMR: Self Myofascial Release is a fancy word for foam rolling, begin with foam rolling the tissues, primarily whichever ones are sore or will have a heavier emphasis on your training day. Areas to foam roll would be the glutes, quadriceps, lats, hamstrings, calves, back, and adductors. There are other areas you may be can roll out as well, but these are some of the main areas we hit, we typically spend around 60-90 seconds on the areas of focus.

 Ground: We begin with exercises that are on the ground and progressively work our way into more dynamic movements. Some ideas of exercises on the ground can be dead bugs, glute bridges, active straight leg raises, leg drops, side lying thoracic rotations, etc. Any type of exercise you want that places you on the ground either on your back or on your stomach.

Glute:Next we go into a glute/quadruped focus, this will either continue to have us on our back or in a quadruped position (hands and knees). Exercises for this category will be glute bridges, single leg glute bridges, bird dogs, rocking, fire hydrants, etc. Anything that will help fire and engage the glutes or anything that places you in a quadruped position.

Core: Next we will focus on getting the core to warm up. We will typically do a core specific exercise such as an elbow plank, push up position plank, side plank, hollow hold, anything really that is going to get the core to be engaged.

Hip: Next we will do a hip specific drill to loosen and open up the hips. Exercises in this category will range from frog stretches, open gates, hip flexion/extension, side bent sits, squats, etc. The focus here is to prepare the hips for movement.

Shoulder: Next we look at warming up the shoulders, but we are not going to be focusing primarily on the should itself, we will be looking at primarily the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the large portion of your spine that can hinder shoulder mobility. Exercises for this category are YTW, thoracic rotations, open books, thoracic bridge, rib grabs, etc.

Dynamic:Lastly, we look at a dynamic movement that incorporates all of the body into a dynamic motion. Exercises in this category include inch worms, world’s greatest stretch, kettlebell swings, Turkish getups, deep lunge with elbow drop, lunge matrix,etc. This category should be the last, but most challenging exercise of your warm up.

Typical warm ups should range from one to two sets of repetitions ranging from 6 to 10. It is up to you on how much work you believe each area needs emphasis for your training session.

Program Design

Now that we have covered a basic warm up for your training session, let us dive into the bread and butter of our programming. This may get a little confusing, but we are going to do our best to describe to you our thought process and how we view training.

The reason we view exercises in movements, opposed to muscles, is because we want to train the movements that we do in our daily activity. The other reason is because this allows us to train in shorter time periods without having to commit to a four or five-day program that takes a lot of time out of our day. We want to use our time wisely, with getting the best results in the quickest amount of time.

Block One

In block one we begin with a power exercise paired with a mobility exercise. This allows for us to use an exercise that requires a lot of demand on the body and nervous system. When we look at power-based exercises they require a lot of technique or effort to conduct. We want to make sure that our nervous system is fresh at this time to make sure we can place the appropriate amount of stress on the body.

We pair this exercise with a mobility exercise that will complement the power exercise; EX: Medicine ball slam paired with YTW, we are using an upper body power movement, with an upper body mobility exercise to assist for greater power. Power exercises are done at a lower volume of repetitions ranging from 3-6 reps per set.

Mobility exercises in this category will complement the chosen exercise above, meaning that if you were to do a box jump for your power exercise, you would want to do a lower body mobility exercise to either open up the hips or the ankles, to allow for a greater range of motion to aid in the power exercise. This would apply for an upper body exercise as well.


Upper Body– Medball slam, jam ball slam, medball chest pass, rotational slam, explosive push up, kettlebell push press, clean & press, etc.

Medball Slam- Upper Body Power

Lower Body– Ladder drills, box jumps, squat jumps, kettlebell swings, bounding, lateral jumps, sprints, etc.


 Upper Body– Open books, thoracic rotations, YTW, shoulder circles, halos, rib grab, snow angels, hand behind head t-spine rotation, thoracic bridge, etc.

Upper Body Mobility- Thoracic Rotations

Lower Body-Frog stretch, leg raise, leg drops, rocking, open gates, hip flexion/extension, rainbows, side bent sit, etc.

Block Two

 In block two we begin with a knee or hip dominate single leg exercise, this typically requires a bit of balance and can be more challenging than a bilateral (two legs) exercise. The reason we want to have an emphasis on single leg exercises is because it builds greater strength and can also improve our gait (your ability to walk). You want to think about knee dominate exercises such as a lunge as a lower body pushand a knee dominate exercise such as a single leg glute bridge as a lower body pull exercise.

We will pair this exercise with either an upper body exercise, again we want to categorize our exercise selection by movements not muscles. Upper body exercises should be categorized as upper body pushing and upper body pulling. We even want to get a specific as what direction they are moving in such as upper body vertical/horizontal pushing andupper body vertical/horizontal pulling.You want your upper body exercise to be the opposite of your lower body exercise; EX: Reverse Lunge (unilateral knee/lower body push) second exercise will be a TRX Row (upper body horizontal pull).

Lastly, we will pair these two exercises with either a trunk (core) or carry exercise. This way we can get some direct core work into our training session. We do not need to spend endless circuits to train your core, if you are following this template you will get a lot of other core work from the rest of these exercises. Your trunk work should be categorized as anti-extension/anti-rotation, fancy words for planking (anti-extension) and band holds (anti-rotation).

Unilateral Knee or Hip:

Knee– Split squat, reverse lunge, lateral lunge, front lunge, step up, RFE squat, etc.

Unilateral Knee Dominate- Reverse Goblet Lunge

Hip– Single leg glute bridge, single RDL, single leg deadlift, single leg curl, etc.

Upper Body Push or Pull:

Upper Horizontal Push– Push up, bench press, dumbbell bench press, TRX chest press, single arm bench press, incline bench, etc.

Upper Horizontal Pull– One arm row, bent row, TRX row, seated row, bat wing row, renegade row, face pulls, etc.

Upper Body Horizontal Pull- TRX Row 


Trunk anti-extension– Elbow plank, push up position plank, TRX fallouts, ab roll out, stability ball roll out, hard style plank, crawling, shoulder tap planks, etc.

Trunk anti-rotation– Anti-rotation band hold, pallof press, half kneeling pallof press, split stance pallof press, plate plank slide, plank lateral drag, etc.

Trunk Anti-Rotation- Banded Anti-Rotation Hold

Carry- Farmers walk, suitcase carry, overhead carry, kettlebell rack carry, sandbag carry, etc.

Block Three

 In block three we begin to do the opposite motions of what we did in block two. We will begin with a bilateral (double leg) exercise that is opposite of what was done in block two; EX if block one had single leg RDL (lower body pulling) then your bilateral exercise would be a goblet squat (lower body pushing).

Next, we will work the opposite movement of what we did in block one; EX if we did a push up (upper bodyhorizontal push)we would want to pair that up with a chin up (upper body vertical pull). We are looking at movement patterns, not muscles.

Lastly, we are going to incorporate another mobility exercise. This time the mobility exercise will be opposite of what you did in block one. If you did an upper body mobility exercise we would be doing a lower body mobility exercise to make sure that we have balance with our mobility work.

Bilateral Knee or Hip:

 Knee-Goblet squat, back squat, front squat, kettlebell front squat, bear hug squat, offset kettlebell squat, banded squat, etc.

Hip- Deadlift, trap bar deadlift, kettlebell swing, barbell glute bridge, body weight glute bridge, sandbag deadlift, dumbbell RDL, sandbag good morning, etc.


Bilateral Hip- Trap Bar Deadlift

Upper Body Push or Pull:

Upper Body Vertical Push– Kettlebell press, bottom up kettlebell press, half kneeling kettlebell/dumbbell press, sandbag shoulder press, dumbbell shoulder press, etc.

Upper Body Vertical Push- Bottom Up Press

Upper Body Vertical Pull– Banded chin up, TRX chin up, barbell chin up, pull up, banded pull up, flex arm hang, etc.


Same as above.

Lower Body Mobility- Active Straight Leg Raise 

Block Four

As we enter in block four we will be getting close to the end of the session. We begin metabolic conditioning otherwise known as cardio. Here is the best part about this section, we no longer have to spend endless hours and minutes on a machine doing meaningless cardio work. This section by itself can be a whole article, but for times-sake we will share with you how we conduct conditioning.

We will do a format of Tabata style exercises, which is a high intense interval training style also known as HIIT. We will break this into about 5 minutes of working at ratios of 10/20, 15/15, 20/20, 30/30, etc. Our focus is to elevate the heart quickly with minimal rest.


Battle ropes, medball slams, wall balls, sled pushes, kettlebell swings, carries, crawling, rower, etc. 

Conditioning- Battle Ropes 

Block Five

After we have completed our training session, we will always finish with a cool down. The cool down is a great way for us to dial back the amount stress we have caused on our nervous system and regulate us back into more of a relaxed state. This area we focus primarily on Original Strength Resets. If you have not heard of Original Strength, please go check them out! They provide a great amount of content and information about strengthening the vestibular system and nervous system.


Cool Down:

Breathing, head rotations, head nods, quadruped rocking, single arm rocking, upper body rolling, lower body rolling, crawling, marching, skipping, etc.

Cool Down: Quadruped Rocking

This is just a scratch of the surface of how to write your own fitness program. This is our way of training that we have found best serves our clients and gets them the results they have achieved. If you have any questions or would like for us to elaborate more on any of the topics we discussed please feel free to email us at

In our part two of how to write your own fitness program, we will go over the details of how to program your sets, reps, intensity, and recovery for your fitness goals.

Rebell of the Month: Thomas Flynn

We are excited to announce Tom Flynn is our Rebell of the Month for August! Every day Tom walks in the building for his training session he has a smile on his face and he has a positive attitude. He always gives his best effort, is eager to learn new things, and always wants to be challenged. We are privileged to have him be a part of our RS Family! Here is his story.

Your background

The only sort of training I’ve been able to stick with has been purely aerobic—I love jogging and running, rain or shine. Previously, I’ve tried out several different gym and training memberships, but none of them have worked out. Why? Because I constantly felt as if I was working for the machines I was using, rather than for myself and my health. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was craving something holistic and tailored.

As someone who seeks out knowledge for healthy living, I’ve found the training at Restored Strength satisfying just about everything I could possibly want from a gym.

My self-image and self-worth have improved due to my work at Restored Strength—I’m happy with what I’m doing and the work I’m putting into my own health!

Thoughts about strength training before & after

Years of poor experiences at other gyms had turned me off to strength training. Before RS, most of my exercise revolved around running.

That turned around pretty quickly after I started with Tyler and William; the work I was doing in their tailored programs felt great—the first sign that I was in the right place before I even started seeing the results of that work.

Challenging barrier you overcame

I’ve already mentioned it, but my biggest barrier was my preconceived notions about strength training, in general. For me, it had always revolved around bottom-barrel gym memberships, homogenized training methods, and machines that never felt productive to use.

Since I started strength-training at RS, I’ve come to enjoy it—even look forward to it as often as I can, week to week.

Tom working on battle ropes. 

Greatest achievement  

It might sound like a cliché, but my greatest achievement has been finding a program that feels consistently great to apply myself toward; something I look forward to every time I have a training session scheduled. More than that, it’s a program that yields results I can see and feel—progress I can measure without even stepping on a scale.

Me reaching 12,500 feet elevation at West Maroon Pass, above Crested Butte, Colorado! This 8.5 mile hike felt great after several months training at RS.

Changes your family/friends noticed

Either my greater day-to-day energy or the subtle increases in muscle definition throughout my upper body—exactly the areas I wanted to work on.

I’m a writer by passion and profession—it requires a lot more energy, focus, and commitment than most realize. On top of that, I work a day job that keeps me on my feet, too. No matter what type of work, I’ve had more energy and better focus for it, every day.

The person who can best attest to my greater day-to-day energy and mobility is my partner, Krystl!

What do you tell people about our training

Don’t balk at the cost of the training programs—Tyler’s and William’s expertise are far and away worth it, and your body deserves such tailored and specific attention.

As someone that felt like he was working against his own health whenever he went to a gym before, I’d suggest finding something more holistic and individual, which is exactly what Restored Strength offers.

What do you enjoy about our training here 

This could be a long list, but I’ll highlight one important factor—all the work I do uses free weights and my own body weight. There are no machines in sight, so I never feel like I’m working for a machine, as opposed to working for my own body.

Essentially—no steps back; only forward.\

Three Benefits You’ve Noticed

1. I have more energy throughout the day! Obviously this has been a benefit to my day-to-day living, but my productivity in general has improved as a result.

2. I actually look forward to my sessions at RS—they’re a highlight of my week, and that’s a feeling I’ve never had with any other program.

3. In addition to actively training twice a week, I’m learning more about how to keep my body healthy through better movement and habits.

Thom working on his bench press. 

What Makes the Difference

Unlike every other training program or fitness plan I’ve tried, Tyler and William’s work with me at Restored Strength has felt comprehensive and honest. Other fitness plans have felt like gimmicks—unsustainable efforts that revolve around a particular movement or exercise, or the omission of part of a balanced diet. William and Tyler provide well-rounded training and advice about exercise techniques and personal health. It’s been the only plan that feels right to me, and the only one to feel sustainable, long-term.

Additional Words

I can’t recommend Restored Strength enough. William and Tyler’s training has been life-changing, all for the better. I look forward to many months of continued work with them, and the rest of the RS Rebells!

Training Tom and helping him improve his health has been an amazing experience. The numerous amount of goals we have set and achieved together will always make me proud to work with him. He would not have the improvement of his strength, movement, and overall health without his great effort and determination.

Watch his story!