Regular exercise is necessary in order to improve one’s health and fitness, and to achieve proficient physical abilities. Not only can an individual perform and commit to particular activities to improve their personal health but also for other purposes such as sport performance, body size, strength and conditioning, etc; all of which can be achieved from specific exercises performed consistently with the appropriate nutrition and rest in place. Athletes typically do exercise in order to become proficient at their own fitness and specific skills of their sport. Thus if all individuals exercise, we can refer even those that do not compete at sports as being athletes irrespective of their fitness level, with the difference being that the individuals are training for only their personal well-being. The most important aspect of the training performed is the athlete’s personal goals. Thus, a training program must be utilized to help adapt the body to perform specific tasks at a certain level. An effective training program is essential in order to maximize results over time, and programs can be adjusted to the goals of the individual. There are 4 major programs that can be viewed: periodization, interval training, fartlek training, and calisthenics; widely used systems of exercise training. This report will examine the structure of each program, and their major benefits and drawbacks.
The first training program is called periodization. This program divides the training process into specific phases or mesocycles (4-6 week durations), over a certain amount of time, focusing the manipulation of training variables such as loads, sets, and repetitions, in order to maximize training adaptations. Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome was the classic understanding of periodization, stating that systems will adapt to any stressors experienced in attempt to meet the demands of the stressors, occurring in phases. The first phase is termed, the alarm/reaction phase, where individuals experience stiffness, soreness, or a small drop in performance from fatigue after these training sessions; this is due to the high volume, and low intensity of the load used. The second phase is termed, the resistance phase, where the body is adapting to the stressor with less symptoms of soreness and stiffness, becoming more tolerant to the activity, improving performance. The third phase occurs when the stressor goes longer than what the organism can adapt to making training quite stale. The program itself has 3 different variations: linear, non-linear, and block. Non-linear periodization essentially is more frequent with phases than with linear periodization where phases last 4-6 weeks; non-linear phases last 1-2 weeks. In block periodization, the cycles are 2-4 weeks, can combine certain types of movements for the purpose of power and strength for example; this periodization is suited to those preparing for a competitive event (typically powerlifting), and as time gets closer to the event, the training percentages will adjust to increase and volume will be decreased to compensate. Overall, the program is built around the principles of overload, variation and specificity. Overload being the stimulus that forces the adaptation on the organism’s strength, duration and frequency. Variation describing manipulation of training variables, changing overload stimulus. Benefits in the periodization program would be that the increase in load on the neuromuscular system is evenly distributed throughout the program, assisting to adapt with minimal fatigue. The linear program also avoids plateaus in training, which allows training to be more consistent. The neuromuscular system to adapt maximally, loads/stresses, volume, intensity alterations are needed. The increased demands will result in the neuromuscular system to increase muscular performance. Athletes recovering from sports injuries can benefit from the program is predictable, and work accordingly to the athletes’ condition. Only once a phase is successfully completed can the progression to the next occur. Clearly, there is potential to use these various models for more “long term” rehabilitation programs, such as labral repairs of the hip and shoulder, rotator cuff repairs, ulnar collateral ligament reconstructions, or anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, to see if recovery time can be improved or clinical testing methods for performance can be optimized.
Second, is the style of training known as, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This training consists of any workout that alternates between fixed periods of high-intensity exercises such as a sprint up a flight of stairs, and low-intensity exercises, such as a walk back down the stairs, for a specific duration of time. Alternatively, one could also rest briefly after a period of high intensity exercise. There are many ways of doing HIIT, with the most common one being the “Tabata protocol”, which involves alternations between 20 seconds of high intensity exercise and 10 seconds of recovery/low-intensity exercise for a total of four minutes. An extremely effective form of HIIT is to combine cardio exercises such as burpees with resistance exercises such as sprints. However, one can vary the length of their intervals and types of exercises between intervals. HIIT is beneficial because it combines both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. During the higher-intensity periods that utilize anaerobic respiration, there is a metabolic demand that proves very effective for long-term fat reduction and overall conditioning. On the other hand, lower-intensity periods that use aerobic respiration allows for recovery, and lowers stress hormones. Other benefits of HIIT include strengthening of the cardiovascular system and developing mental resilience. Furthermore, the alternations between fast and slow exercises can minimize overuse injuries and allow for a more enjoyable form of exercise than continuous moderate or vigorous intensity exercises.
Fartlek, Swedish for “speed play”, is a form of interval or speed training, where dthe exerciser varies their pace by alternating between periods of fast and slow exercise. Although its cardio component is most commonly running, it can be substituted with swimming, sprinting, jogging, or lifting. Fartlek training is distinct from traditional interval training in that it does not involve timed intervals of fast and slow exercise. Most often athletes will While the intensity of these intervals are determined by specific heart rate values in traditional interval training, the high- and low-intensity phases are determined randomly by the exerciser, depending on how they feel. Although Fartleks are less structured and less demanding, their durations are typically longer than traditional interval training routines. The majority of the training must consist of aerobic (low-intensity training); even the more experienced of athletes will maximum only have their training 10-15% high-intensity, in order to better distribute the work volume. Generally, Fartleks should be performed once or twice a week. If running, it is helpful to think of landmarks such as streetlights or poles during the run to help switch between intervals. While there are a variety of Fartlek workouts, a sample Fartlek workout for beginners could involve the following steps:
1) Begin with a ten minute warm up exercise at an easy pace
2) Alternate between fast and slow exercises for 1 and 2 minute(s) respectively, and then again for 2 and 1 minute(s) respectively.
3) Repeat above steps three to four times.
4) End the work out with a ten-minute exercise at an easy pace
ii) Major Benefits
In comparison to traditional interval training, Fartlek training is a more flexible form of speed training that can be varied according to athlete’s needs or preferences. If the athlete’s goals are to increase stamina, decrease body-fat, improve running speed and anaerobic threshold, then Fartlek training would be well-suited for that purpose. The alternating periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise: 1) challenges muscles to build endurance, 2) increases caloric expenditure because the athlete can change the tempo (i.e. fast walk vs. slight jog) according to their level of fatigue, 3) makes it a more enjoyable experience due to its free-form and non-monotonous nature, and 4) reduces the risk of overtraining and strain. This type of interval exercise has also proven beneficial for patients with myocardial infarctions as it helps them exercise twice as long in comparison to continuous training. A final advantage of Fartlek is that it can be done in a variety of indoor or outdoor settings, such as pools, roads, treadmills, trails or hills.
This technique can also help non-cathletes improve their aerobic fitness as well. One of the benefits of interval training for non-athletes is that, by limiting the higher intensity exercise to just 1-2 minutes, you can gain an improvement in aerobic fitness (cardiovascular capacity) without making the session too unpleasant. In doing so, you will be more likely to stick with the program and achieve the end result. At the end of 8 weeks, the average VO2max increased 14.8%.: VO2max averaged c25 ml/kg/min at the beginning of the study and increased to only 28 ml/kg/min after 8 weeks of training (Goldsmith RL, et al. 2002).
On a study done on soccer players, results show that speed was significantly improved by the continuous running group, Fartlek training group and Interval training group when compared with control group. Coordination was significantly improved by the Continuous running group, Fartlek running group and Interval training group when compared with control group. Coordination was significantly improved by fartlek training group when compared with continuous running group.
Studies have shown that an athlete who has trained consistently will be able to withstand a greater level of training than an athlete who has novice experience. The advanced athlete will be able to complete a greater amount of work without incurring negative side effects such as overtraining or inadequate recovery; thus the more experience athlete will be able to perform at a greater intensity. Some of the drawbacks when it comes it this training method, is that Fartlek training is not suitable if your goal is to increase muscle because its high intensity and duration breaks down muscle tissue. To minimize this drawback, one can decrease the frequency and duration of this form of cardio.