Group Training for Life

Nestled in a Boston suburb, one gym is setting out to change group fitness with a single goal in mind—helping its clients get strong for whatever life dishes out.

Group Training for Life
Per Bernal

These days, in gyms across the country, group training seems to follow a stale, thoughtless blueprint— one in which random exercises, outlandishly high work-to-rest ratios, and a penchant for chasing fatigue reign supreme. But one man is determined to change this. Former strongman, national record-setting powerlifter, and owner of Total Performance Sports in Malden, MA—considered one of the best strength facilities in the country by numerous world-class athletes— CJ “Murph” Murphy is looking to buck the trend of conventional group training with his TPS Method. Murphy’s program places an emphasis on accessible, deft coaching to help working professionals get stronger, feel better, and achieve their fitness goals. Learn more about the TPS Method below and give the sample workouts a try.


The TPS Method is a strength program, performed in groups, that’s centered on seven movements—the squat, deadlift, overhead press, Turkish getup, plank, kettlebell swing, and pushup. Murphy believes that mastery of these moves will result in improved movement and strength and less aches and pains. “The basics trump exercise ADD,” Murphy says. “I’d rather be really good at seven movements than suck at 50 different ones. These seven moves get you stronger for life.”


TPS Method users follow a four-day split. The first three days revolve around the deadlift, overhead press, and squat. The fourth day is individualized to your own goals and weaknesses. For example, if you’re training for a 5K, the fourth day would be a more running-specific workout. Conversely, if you wanted a larger upper body, then you would target those muscles on that day. Essentially, identify what you want to work on and attack it.

As for the group training aspect, Murphy keeps the client-to-trainer ratio at 6-to-1 or smaller. This ensures that his coaches maintain a watchful eye on the technique of each movement. If you don’t live near Beantown but still want access to the TPS Method, good news: Murphy is launching a comprehensive website

( catered to folks from around the world looking to sink their teeth into the program. Slated to launch in May, the site will offer warmups featuring reflexive performance reset, programming, video analysis of your lifts, online seminars, and an enormous library of exercise technique videos to help fine-tune movements and troubleshoot issues that many encounter in the gym.


After 30 years in the trenches, Murphy knows what works and what doesn’t. He notes: “I want my clients to get as offensively strong as humanly possible—safely, slowly, and efficiently. If they get stronger, their body com- position improves, their conditioning improves, and they feel better. Their strength lays the groundwork for everything else.”

Per Bernal


DIRECTIONS: Perform the following workouts over the course of seven days. This is one week taken out of the entire program.


  • Squat | SETS: 5 | REPS: 3
  • Bulgarian Split Squat | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12 per leg
  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12 per leg
    • superset with Back Raise | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12
  • Kettlebell Swing | SETS: 8 | REPS: 20 sec. on/40 sec. off
  • Burpee | SETS: 8 | REPS: 20 sec. on/40 sec. off


  • Overhead Press | SETS: 6 | REPS: 3
  • Pullup | SETS: 4 | REPS: 6
    • superset with Pushup | SETS: 4 | REPS: 6–8
  • Dumbbell Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12
    • superset with Plate Raise | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12
  • Turkish Getup | SETS: 4 | REPS: 1


  • Deadlift | SETS: 3 | REPS: 2
  • Opposite Deadlift | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12
  • Rollout | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12
    • superset with T Plank | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8
  • DB Single-Arm Farmer's Carry | SETS: 4 | REPS: 50 feet (per arm)


Train whatever you like, with a specific goal in mind.

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