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Principles of Exercise

Principles of Exercise

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Published by Frauline Tadle

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Published by: Frauline Tadle on Sep 30, 2011
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There are certain underlying principles regarding exercise and activity. We believe that oneshould be aware of these basic concepts in order to maximize the effectiveness of this program.Your personalized program should be designed to reflect each of these principles in such amanner that you can most easilty accomplish your goals.
Intensity refers to how hard one exercises. Intensity can also describe the amount of energyneeded to perform a particular exercise or activity.For cardiorespiratory training purposes, intensity is expressed as a percentage of maximal heartrate or heart rate reserve and is displayed in heart beats per minute.For resistance training, intensity usually refers to a percentage of the person's repetitionmaximum (RM). The repetition maximum figure represents the greatest amount of weight thatcan be lifted in good form for a specific exercise and a specific number of times. For example,1RM stands for the greatest amount of weight an individual can properly lift one time, while10RM represents the heaviest weight with which one can properly perform ten repetitions.For purposes of flexibility training, intensity usually refers to the degree of stretch or "stretchingsensation." Most stretches call for an intensity that is below the individual's pain threshold.
Duration refers to the total time an exercise session or activity should be conducted.For cardiorespiratory training, duration is usually expressed in terms of minutes.For resistance training, duration refers to either the time of a single contraction, as in a 5 secondisometric contraction, or the total time of the program itself, as in a 6 week weight trainingprogram. Duration can also be used to represent the length of a single resistance training session.For flexibility work, duration can represent both the time of the hold on an individual stretch orthe total time of the stretching workout itself. The individual stretches are expressed in terms of seconds while the workouts are usually associated with minutes.
Frequency represents the number of training sessions per week. Whether the program involvescardiorespiratory, resistance or flexibility training, frequency is expressed in terms of times perday or days per week.
Volume refers to the total amount of work done during a specified period of time, such as asingle exercise session or an entire week of activity sessions.For purposes of cardiorespiratory training, volume represents the product of duration andfrequency. This figure is usually expressed in hours or minutes.For example, a person who rides a stationary cycle for 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday,Friday and Saturday would have a total training volume of 60 minutes or one hour for thatspecific activity (15 minutes per session x 4 sessions = 60 minutes total).For resistance training, volume refers to the total number of repetitions performed during aspecific time period. Thus, volume can be expressed for a single training session or a series of training sessions. Resistance training volumes make use of the terms sets and reps. A rep refersto a repetition, or the proper performance of an exercise from beginning to end. A set representsa given number of consecutive repetitions of an exercise that is accomplished without resting. Inaddition, the load volume represents the total amount of weight lifted during a training session.For example, an individual who performs three sets of eight repetitions with 100 lbs. has lifted atotal load volume of 2,400 lbs. (3 sets x 8 reps x 100 lbs. = 2400 lbs.).Flexibility training volumes can be expressed in terms of the number of stretches done in a singlesession or throughout a series of sessions. For example, an individual who spends ten totalminutes performing six stretches every morning would have a flexibility training volume of 42stretches per week (6 stretches x 7 days = 42 stretches). The training volume for flexibility work can also be expressed in terms of the total time spent stretching per session or series of sessions.For example, the individual described above would have a total weekly flexibility trainingvolume of 70 minutes (10 minutes x 7 sessions = 70 minutes).
As you subject your muscles and cardiorespiratory system to consistent training or activitysessions, they gradually adapt to these "stresses." Thus, what may have been hard for you at onepoint will eventually become easier for you to accomplish.For example, you may have started your program by walking for ten minutes. This may havebeen a slight struggle for you to complete. You may even have been breathing heavily at thefinish of the walk.As your cardiopulmonary and muscular systems are repeatedly exposed to this activity, the tenminute walk will eventually become easier for you. Your system has thus adapted to the stress of this activity.The opposite of adaptation is reversability, or detraining. Simply put, if you stop your exerciseprogram, many of the adaptations that occured from exercise will fade with time.
Progressive Overload
To promote continued fitness gains, one must consistently subject the body and its respectivesystems to progressively greater work loads. This progressive overload can be in terms of longerdurations of training, increased intensity levels, greater amounts of resistance, increasedfrequency of training, or a combination of one or more of these variables.These progressive increases are necessary since the body constantly adapts to exercise. If youremain at one activity level, you will not continue to improve.Such increases must be gradual, since doing too much too quickly can lead to injury or a state of overtraining.
Simply put, more is not always better. Too much, too soon will have a profound negative effecton your fitness program and goals. Indeed, your body's adaptation abilities are limited in thisrespect.When increasing the intensity or volume of exercise and activity, it must be done progressivelyand carefully. As you adapt to a certain level of fitness training or performance, one or more of your exercise program variables can then be modified. In this manner, you can avoid injury andovertraining.
Rest and Recuperation
In the context of fitness training, these terms have great importance. Each activity or exercisesession provides a specific stress to the body's systems. The body then requires rest in order torecover and recuperate between such sessions. This is necessary if you want to adapt to the stressof exercise and eventually improve your fitness and conditioning level.This principle is especially important with respect to resistance training, due to the physiologicalstress your muscles experience. Your muscles recover and grow stronger during these restperiods, not while you are exercising.This is why one should not train the same muscle group two days in a row during a resistance orweight training program. Such practices will often lead to a state of overtraining and eventualinjury.
As explained above, your body's ability to adapt to new stimuli and increased levels of exerciseis limited. If these adaptative capabilities are pushed beyond their limits too quickly or by toogreat an increase in activity levels, a state of overtraining can result.Many overenthusiastic people tend to believe the old adage "no pain, no gain." This could not befarther from the truth. Yes, you must work hard to improve, but that hard work must always bewithin your individual capabilities.

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