Supporting trainers, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts

I am Amy – my mission is to support trainers, coaches, staff, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts to achieve your goals. As your sports and fitness programming solutions expert, I have spent the past 30 years in gyms and athletic training centers and loved every single minute of it! Although I hold a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MS in EX SCI from Florida State University I am proud to be a high school drop-out truly educated in the gyms. It has been both a blessing and a privilege to be a part of the sports and fitness industries. Passionate about gyms and exercise programming, my goal is to support trainers, coaches, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and businesses by providing sports and fitness programming solutions.

Lose the stress and workload, and leave the details of program analysis and development to me! 

Through custom seminarsonline continuing education courses, training manuals, program assessment and development, blogs and social media, sports and fitness are my life and I want to share that with you. I would love to hear from you. Please contact me here or directly at

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Amy Ashmore as she conceptualized and launched two of her most recent courses. She has a keen understanding of the changing needs of fitness professionals and provides engaging and applicable material to address those needs. Amy is an excellent educator and content collaborator. Her professionalism and clear passion for what she does is evident in every conversation and communication. I look forward to working together on future projects.”

Lauren Shroyer, MS ATC Director of Product Development, American Council on Exercise

5 Programming Principles

Below are what I have found to be the five most important concepts to exercise programming. They are our launch pad. These principles are:

  1. Wolff’s Law.
  2. Specificity.
  3. Overload.
  4. Progression.
  5. Measurements.

Wolff’s Law

One of the most important concepts for you to know and understand is Wolff’s Law. Wolff’s Law states that those things subject to a force will respond by growing stronger. That simply means that when we add external weight to a movement it loads the bone more than body weight alone and the bone responds by getting stronger. The same is true for jumping – loads the bones.

However, there are obvious boundaries to the physical realities behind Wolff’s Law. We cannot simply subject the bones to forces and expect a positive outcome. We need to be specific and thoughtful in our actions.


The key to effective program design starts with specificity. The specificity principle states that the muscles worked during an exercise will respond according to the specific training demands. In the field, specificity simply means setting goals first and then choosing exercises that align with those goals. As easy as it sounds it is your most daunting challenge.


For workouts to be effective muscles must be overloaded. Muscles must be subjected to mechanical stress beyond the activities of daily living. They must be subjected to forces that cause them to respond physiologically. The most common ways to overload muscles are to increase the weight a muscle must lift or increase the speed of an exercise like turn walking into jogging and then into sprinting.

A critical distinction we need to cover up front is overload versus overtraining. Overload is thoughtful and reasonable demands to stress a system without breaking it. On the other hand, overtraining is simply overdoing it, breaking the system down to the point where something positive like exercise is now an attack on the system.


In order for Wolff’s Law to stand the test of time, you have to progress workouts. The work must get more difficult over time. The suggested programming guidelines for progression are 5 – 10 % increases in weight and/or cardiovascular intensity and/or duration per week. So a strength training example would look like this:

Week 1: 5-pound lateral raise.

By Week 4: 7.5-pound lateral raise.

I estimated based on what you are most likely to have available in the gym (5 and 7.5 weights). The key here is gradual and steady progression. Do not get caught up in the details.


Measurements are as important to programming as design and implementation. However, they do not have to be complex and require advanced technologies and software. In the elite athletics training program, you will see I used my finger over the carotid artery to measure heart rate, in a world class training facility nonetheless. A scale is fine to measure weight. Skin calipers are acceptable to measure body composition. One rep max or sub-max measurements are fine for strength measurements. Standard endurance measurements like max push-ups are fine too. The key is to decide on your program’s goals first and then choose measurements that align with those goals before you get started. And be consistent – use the same measurements, equipment, and tester (person) every step along the way. This minimizes error.