Illustrated Strength Exercises
Illustrated Flexibility Exercises
Are you tired of doing the same exercise machines day after day? Do you lack motivation to continue with your exercise program? You have probably reached what is called a plateau. There is little chance for further improvement in your fitness when you reach a plateau. You may want to consider cross training. Cross training refers to incorporating two or more type of exercises in one workout or in successive workouts. An example would be walking, cycling and strength training.
Three Components of an Exercise Program
You should incorporate the following three components to better ensure overall fitness gains.
Aerobic exercise is defined as any activity that utilizes large muscle groups in a continuous rhythmic fashion for long periods of time.
Strength training refers to using some type resistance, dumbbells, barbells, or bands, to isolate different muscle groups.
Flexibility describes the range of motion in a joint.
Adding Variety Using the F.I.T.T. Model of Exercise
One of the main things you can do is vary the volume of your program. The volume refers to the frequency, intensity, time, and type of your program or the F.I.T.T. Model.
F-Frequency refers to how often during the week.
I-Intensity refers to how hard you should exert yourself in an exercise session.
T-Time refers to the duration of an exercise session.
T-Type refers to the mode of activity.
There are two main factors why people reach a plateau. The good news is there are changes an individual can make to their exercise program to improve their overall fitness. The first reason is the intensity level of an exercise program. Many people exercise at too low of an intensity. The monotony of an exercise program is the second concern for reaching a plateau. It's crucial that an individual change up their exercise program every 1-3 months in order to stimulate the muscles in a different way and to prevent boredom and staleness.
Two Methods of Aerobic Activity
This type is performed by exercising at a constant speed or workload for a given amount of time. Some examples include running at 5.5 mph for 20 minutes, walking at 3.0 mph with a 2% incline for 45 minutes, and cycling at 50 RPMs with 3 resistance for 30 minutes.
This type refers to alternating high intensity bursts of exercise with recovery periods. Steady state training is one of the most common methods of aerobic exercise. A great alternative is to implement interval training into your exercise program. Interval training boosts your metabolism and calorie burn.
The following programs begin with a five minute warm-up and end with a five minute cool down.
- Beginner Interval Program Start with a low intensity for 10 minutes and then proceed to a moderate intensity for 4 minutes. Repeat twice.
- Intermediate Interval Program Start with a high intensity for 30 seconds-1 minute and then proceed to a low intensity for 1-2 minutes. Repeat five times.
- Advanced Interval Program Start with an intensity of 90% of max HR (high intensity) and then immediately ease off to 65% of max HR (low intensity). Continue back and forth for 20-30 minutes.
Examples of Aerobic Exercise
The most common exercise is walking. Walking is a lower impact exercise that can be therapeutic following a strenuous workout. The following are other types of aerobic exercise that would spice up your program.
- Cycling works walking/running related muscles and strengthens the connective tissue of the knees, hips, and ankles. In addition, cycling loosens fatigued leg muscles.
- Elliptical trainers are a cross between cross-country skiing, stair climbing, walking. These machines are low impact for all major muscles of the lower body. � Rowing strengthens the hips, gluteals, and upper body, while sparing the legs of heavy pounding.
- Swimming builds muscular strength and endurance It's especially recommended for those who want to prevent injury, are pregnant, are recovering from an injury, are suffering from a bone or joint problem, or are overweight.
- Deep water running is a great alternative to land walking and running.
When designing a strength training program, you want to consider what your goals are. Are you trying to loose weight? Are you pushing for more strength development? If you are trying to loose weight you want to emphasize performing more repetitions with light to moderate resistance. On the other hand, if your main goal is strength gains, perform low repetitions with heavy resistance.
Types of Strength Training
The most common strength training program is circuit training. Circuit training consists of exercising each major muscle in a successive fashion with minimal or no rest between exercises. Click on the link below for a variety of strength training exercises to spice up your routine.
After each set, perform a pyramid by increasing or decreasing the resistance by 2.5-10 pounds. For example, the program prescribes performing a set of 12, 10, then 8. In an ascending pyramid, you would increase the weight after each set.
This program emphasizes agonists and antagonists muscle groups. You would begin by performing an exercise for a specific muscle immediately followed by an exercise for the opposing muscle. For example, perform a set of bicep curls and immediately execute a set of tricep extensions.
There is gradual cycling of specificity, intensity, and volume of training in an effort to achieve peak performance at a desired time in this type of program. Periodization can be a significant change to your strength training program. You might be performing the same number of sets and reps with the same resistance and not varying the exercises.
When adopting a split day program, you would exercise different muscle groups on different days. For example, exercise upper body one day and lower body on a different day. Dividing your muscles into three groups, such as chest and triceps in group one, back, shoulders, and biceps in group two, and quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, and calves in group three is another split day program design. In addition, you can do a push/pull program where you divide your pushing and pulling exercises on different days.
Choice of Strength Equipment
Machine weights provide more guidance, which help you learn the proper technique of a certain exercise. If you've been using machine weights, you should graduate to free weights.
Free weights include dumbbells and barbells. They help to increase you r coordination and stability.
Resistance bands are convenient tools to have at home.
Stability balls are great tools to have at your home. They can stimulate your core muscles.
Variety of Strength Exercises
There are a variety of strength exercises you can include in your strength training program. Consult an exercise specialist/personal trainer to learn more about the many different exercises you can incorporate into your exercise program
Flexibility is often ignored, but in fact it can increase the range of motion in joints, improve blood circulation, improve posture, be a stress reliever, and enhance your coordination. You can increase your flexibility by simply stretching. The focus of stretching should include lengthening your muscles, emphasizing the major muscle groups, and stretching when you exercise or at least three times per week.
Essentials of Stretching
- Warm-up first to get the blood flowing in the muscles. Don't stretch cold muscles.
- Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Don't bounce. Bouncing can cause muscle tears.
- Focus on a pain-free stretch.
- Relax and breathe freely.
- Stretch both sides.
- Stretch in your warm-up and cool down of your workout.
View Stretch Examples Here
- Exercise classes such as step aerobics and body sculpting can be sociable and help hold you accountable to your exercise program.
- Exercise videos are convenient to have if you don't live near a gym or in a safe neighborhood.
- Pilates emphasizes strengthening the core muscles- the abdominals and the lower back.
- Yoga is the practice of physical postures or poses. Balance, strength, and flexibility are improved by perform many poses, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.
The next step after reading this selection is to evaluate your exercise program by looking at the different components which are included. Are you exercising at a steady state? Do your perform circuit strength training? Is there an emphasis on flexibility? Adding variety to your exercise program can add excitement and fuel your muscles in a different way.