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Strength & Conditioning Programming Flow Chart

I drew this out today to help people determine how they should train. It’s a strength & conditioning programming flowchart. Tomorrow I’ll explain some of it including what maintenance mode entails.

Strength Training Flow Chart


  • Elin says:

    Good chart! My ‘problem’ is that I have difficulties deciding my priorities which became clear looking at it. I want to both lift heavy and run a marathon (not at the same time, though…hehe). So I try to combine running 2-3 times a week with 5/3/1(+ additional glute exercises since I need to improve the area) 3 times a week. I know cardio could be contraproductive when building muscles but I love running. Aswell as lifting.

  • P.T. says:

    When it comes to cardio, which kinds are you thinking about?
    For now I do about 20 minutes medium to high intensity everyday on the elliptical.
    In addition I do 2-4 hours of strength training per week (2 hours of butt/leg work (hip thrusts, glute bridges and so on) and one to two hours of upper body per week, but my upper body work has been somewhat neglected in the past couple of months…. I want them glutes!)
    If I am to do 2-3 times cardio per week, should I then do more than 20 minutes every time?
    I have my ideal weight but is rather skinny-fat.

    PS. I love love love what you do!

  • Sam says:

    If one is looking to lose body fat and they are strength training 2-4x/week why is it necessary to incorporate cardio 3-6x/wk, if they are also eating properly (at a caloric deficit)?

    • Bret says:

      It’s not necessary. But it can help. Most studies I’ve seen comparing training regimens show that combined training is more effective than one or the other on fat loss.

    • Marcus Beasley says:

      I agree with you Sam. Weight training or cardio isn’t the driver of weight loss, it’s creating a calorie deficit.

  • Angelina says:

    This is great Bret – thank you! I want it ALL! Lose fat, gain strength to build muscle, I want power, speed – ALL of it 🙂

    Then I want my super cape when I reach my goals – haha!
    Enjoy your day.

  • Teresa Merrick says:

    Dang–looks like a structured equation modeling diagram without the R-values . Good chart, but have to follow it closely.



  • Future Soldier says:

    Bret, first let me just say that I love your blog and research posts! Its refreshing to see some objectivity and humility in a fitness community overrun with “bro-science” and ego-games. Kudos!

    Secondly, I was wondering if you’d have any fitness program advice for a near-Army enlistee with future aspirations of Special Operations? I’ve eyed some SOF-prep programs that are currently online and they seem to rely on sub-par accessory work put together from outdated military fitness doctrine.

    I’d love to hear your perspective on a more full-spectrum/comprehensive SOF-prep program design based on your experience in the fitness industry as well as your extensive research.

    Thank you and please keep knockin’ down fitness-fallacies!

  • Pete says:

    Much respect overall but stay strong and don’t compromise. Diagram is fine but responses like “2-3 times per week for 20 minutes is perfect” is hardly scientifically valid advice. You know what it takes so be accurate and deliver that message so do it brother. Intensity is the operative verb. 20 minutes is meaningless without the the variables of what are you doing, for how long and at what relative and quantifiable intensity.
    Pete Koch

  • Julian says:

    How would you program the combined section under the type of performance?

  • Amy Gray says:

    🙂 Love the flow chart! I’m already doing Strong Curves, but will incorporate more cardio & tighten up my nutrition. Thanks! (P.S. I love these types of emails – very informative!)

  • Stew says:

    What an awesome chart. If one can’t follow that/find their way, they are surely helplessly lost.

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