principles of exercise

How often, how long and how hard you exercise, and what kinds of exercises you do should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish. Your goals, your present fitness level, age, health, skills, interest and convenience are among the factors you should consider. For example, an athlete training for high-level competition would follow a different program than a person whose goals are good health and the ability to meet work and recreational needs.

Your general exercise program should include something from each of the four basic fitness components described previously. Each workout should begin with a warm up and end with a cool down.

WARMUP - Low intensity movements that stimulate movements to be used in the activity can also be included in the warm-up. The idea is to increase your heart rate so that your body is warming up.

MUSCULAR STRENGTH - this is your explosive power and do a high amount of work over a short period of time.  To increase strength you must overload your muscles up to 85-90% of their maximum for short times with more rest between exercises.

MUSCULAR ENDURANCE -this is developing your body to work for extended periods of time at a low intensity level.

CARDIORESPIRATORY ENDURANCE - our cardio system is worked during all fitness activities.

FLEXIBILITY - this is our bodies ability to maintain a fluid range of motion, not everyone can achieve super flexibility but a supple body reduces injury and helps recovery.

COOL DOWN - You should never just stop your exercise at your maximum.

It is very unlikely you will ever find your perfect fitness routine in the latest copy of Muscle and Fiction or on the latest trendy fitness show. If you want your fitness training to be effective and safe, you have to adhere to the 7 basic principles of exercise, whether you are an Olympic athlete or a beginner.

The 7 principles of exercise

Regularity: For training to be productive you must exercise regularly. Exercising only once in a while can do more harm than good. The accepted rule to follow is to give your muscle group at least 24 hours of rest after training, but not more than 72 hours. Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following a good diet.

Progression: The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness. We cannot go 100% everything we workout, it will only cause the body to break down and lead to injury.  You should follow some specific guidelines to ensure you are working at an rate to effect change.

Balance: To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components – strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance -- since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others. Everyone likes doing what they are best at or hears how you need to avoid specific styles of exerice to enhance performance in their sport. The body is amazing and will adapt to many changes, if we work with a balanced program the body will respond much better.

Variety: Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress. Exercise is hard work. You will stick with a program only if it’s lively and fun. Doing the same routine day in and out will only lead to lack of progress and increase the chance that you will quite.

Specificity: Training must be geared toward specific goals. For example, individuals who need to lower their mile run time will become better runners if their training emphasizes running. Although running ultra distance is great exercise, it does not improve the 1-mile run time as much as an anaerobic running program.

Recovery: A hard day of training for a given component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups exercised every other day, especially when training for strength and/or muscle endurance.

Overload: The workload of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training effect. 'No Pain No Gain' is a popular catch phrase but does not define overload, you must push yourself at specific levels to gain improvement.

If you can grasp the understanding of how these principles work you can develop and maintain a structured fitness program for yourself throughout your climbing, biking, and daily life.

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