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Practical Application of the ACE IFT Model

Practical Application of the ACE IFT Model | Makeba Edwards | Exam Preparation Blog | 5/23/2014


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Perhaps the most important role of a trainer is designing individualized programs that allow clients to achieve their personal goals. The ACE Integrated Fitness Training (ACE IFT) Model facilitates this process, through client engagement and phases that allow for safe and effective progression in training.

But exactly how do you use the ACE IFT Model in your work as a personal trainer? This blog, which is the first in an ongoing series, will help clarify the different phases of the ACE IFT Model and how to use them to design individualized exercise programs for your clients.

To better understand how to use the ACE IFT Model, we must first understand its purpose:

-Allows you to cater to your clients’ needs through programming based on the clients’ current fitness level
-Provides a framework that allows for progression in programming
-Incorporates the art of relationship building with the science of exercise programming
-Serves as a blueprint for designing successful programs to meet the various needs of your clients
-Integrates assessments and programming to facilitate behavior change, while also addressing posture, movement, flexibility, balance, core function, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular endurance and strength
-Encourages rapport and promotes communication and develops trust with your clients

The ACE IFT Model is has two components, which are comprised of four phases. Where your client begins depends on his or her current fitness level. The training components are:

Functional Movement and Resistance Training

-Phase 1: Stability & Mobility
-Phase 2: Movement Training
-Phase 3: Load Training
-Phase 4: Performance Training

Cardiorespiratory Training

-Phase 1: Aerobic Base Training
-Phase 2: Aerobic Efficiency Training
-Phase 3: Anaerobic Endurance Training
-Phase 4: Anaerobic Power Training

You might be wondering if all clients should begin in Phase I. Not necessarily, as no two clients are alike. While you may have some clients who start in similar phases, their goals and fitness levels may vary. Once you conduct the necessary assessments, you can determine where to start each individual client.

In the ACE IFT Model, Functional Movement and Resistance Training are both are treated as one continuum that progresses training from Stability and Mobility to Athletic Performance.

Progression of PHASES for Functional Movement & Resistance


The risk of injury becomes greater with weak core muscles, muscle imbalances, postural deviations and poor postural health. Phases 1 and 2 of this component addresses poor postural function through stability and mobility training, and improper movement mechanics through movement training, before progressing to load and performance training in Phases 3 and 4.

In the next blog in this series, we will cover the first Phase of Training: Stability and Mobility.