Thursday, August 07, 2008

Methods of Training for Improving Fitness - Part Five

Modern Day Fitness

The previous methods described are very solid approaches for improving muscular strength while offering cardiovascular benefits for overall fitness. But there are other “tactics”, if you will, that are equally demanding on the body and therefore deserve discussing. Training methods such as General Physical Preparedness (G.P.P.), Boot Camp, Military Training, Bodyweight Training, Strongman, CrossFit, High Performance Training and a number of their hybrids offers an individual an array of possibilities to improve their strength as well as conditioning. These systems are very similar to Circuit Training, PHA and High Intensity Training in that they work the entire body in a single session, but they incorporate their own unique twists based on their goals and personal preferences.

Any of these applications can be performed in numerous ways simply by using an intelligent combination of strength type exercises in conjunction with cardiovascular based activities or by using resistance (strength) exercises intensely in an aerobic time frame. Much like High Intensity Training can offer a “metabolic effect”, so can these “combination workouts”. In fact, Strongmen, MMA’s (mixed martial artists) as well as military personnel have been applying a similar approach for years with great success and as of late, it has become mainstream in the fitness world – and for good reason.

When a “strength” exercise is worked with a high level of effort, it not only promotes an increase in muscular strength but it will also affect the heart rate. And to sweeten the pot even further, the “conditioning” type activities - which primarily produce a cardiovascular response, can also improve muscular strength if worked with a high level of effort. It then becomes a “win – win” situation when this style of training is worked hard, progressively and consistently.

Because each faction has their own specific requirements, the applications of modalities, sets, reps, levels of effort, frequency, etc. are endless. The variations of training can stem from standard exercise equipment such as barbells and dumbbells and can include, but not be limited to using: sleds, medicine balls, kettlebells, sprinting (running, bicycle, elliptical, etc.), stones, logs, odd objects, as well as body weight applications. These are fun and effective mixtures that can facilitate a fine workout which will enable someone to train their entire body in a single workout, while achieving cardiovascular and strength benefits in a very short period of time.