Monday, April 07, 2008

Methods of Training for Improving Fitness - Part One

As we all are pretty aware of, there are countless ways for an individual to improve their level of fitness. The endless array of popular systems and philosophies can be somewhat overwhelming - even downright paralyzing at times. To help narrow your thought process down just a wee bit, I have taken some of the “oldies but goodies” and expounded upon these methods of training. They have been chosen for their unique ability to stimulate and develop the cardiorespiratory and muscular systems, as well as having the added element of creating flexibility, thus making these training methods very efficient and effective for improving one’s overall level of physical fitness. Of course, there have been many spin-offs and interpretations of these approaches so that’s why I thought bringing it back to the beginning might be helpful.

These structures represent basic guidelines or training concepts that were initially designed to overcome various challenges or shortcomings associated with what was to be considered “traditional” training protocols at the time. These methods, which have been well established for many, many years have proven to be very successful applications to becoming stronger and well-conditioned are still valuable today – in fact, in many ways, they are more appropriate today then when they were first implemented. Other than safety being the first and main priority in any exercise program, it is the efficiency and effectiveness of one’s program that allows that individual to perform their exercise program on a consistent and progressive basis - and these methods will provide you a good template.

In keeping with my own philosophy of not worrying about “breaking the rules” or be “kicked out of any club” don’t concern yourself with following these programs verbatim. Remember, part of becoming stronger, leaner, and better conditioned (as well as improving your health) is to educate yourself, experiment and apply different applications. Fitness should be a personal journey that you and you alone take in deciding what and how you individualize your program.

As you experiment with the following training protocols, you may find a few of the methods to be more appropriate for building muscular strength, while other systems may benefit your cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory systems more effectively. Still, there are applications that offer the best of both worlds and provide the total package of strength and conditioning. The beauty of all of this is that you can experiment, mix and match and do whatever you feel is beneficial to reach your goals. However, keep this as a consideration, it is important to pay close attention to the details of each method that are offered so you can have a clear understanding of their application so you can intelligently incorporate their practices into your personal fitness program. - Fred Fornicola

In Part Two I will discuss Circuit Training