In this article, I’m going to explain the 5 principles of exercise that every workout routine should follow. Let’s get to it…
The 5 Principles of Exercise
1. Flexibility Training
Most people are familiar with stretches as in reaching for your toes and holding the position when you feel tightness. This is called static stretching and is the most basic form. Current advances in flexibility now incorporate assessments and more technical styles of stretching as well as mobility exercises.
Stretching and mobility exercises maintain proper joint ROM (range of motion) and proper length-tension relationships between groups of muscles. What does this mean for you? That you will maintain proper posture and your ability to move your body through enough range of motion so that you can accomplish whatever tasks you need to do in your life. Whether your playing golf or looking behind you before back your car up, maintaining proper flexibility is important for everyone.
2. Core Training
Although some ignorant fitness professionals would have you believe otherwise, the “core” is not simply a new way to refer to your abdominal muscles. The core musculature includes the abdominal muscles that wrap around your mid-section but goes beyond the abdominal muscles to include the muscles of your hips, your lower back, your pelvic floor, your diaphragm as well as the muscles that attach all the way up the spine to your neck.
There are 29 core muscles in all. This group of muscles provides the foundation of movement as well as the proper transfer of force from your lower body to your upper body and vice-versa. Strengthening them with properly progressed core exercises can help protect your back from injury, improve exercise performance and give you better balance and stability.
3. Strength Training
Strength training is important because it builds muscle which keeps your metabolism high, and also for helping you maintain your strength as you get older. Whether you want to play with your kids, carry groceries or ace your buddy on the tennis court, strength is important.
Full body exercise routines are best for most people’s goals. You need to perform enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. Exercise programming can be very complex. Performing 2-3 sets of an exercise in the 8-12 rep range is a good place to start for most people. Doing less than 8 repetitions work more on the neurological gains in pure strength and more than 12 repetitions works more on muscular endurance.
As you become more advanced, you can adjust the set and rep range to meet your goals. It is also important not to exercise the same muscle groups every day. Muscles need at least a day (if you’re doing a total body workout) or two (if you’re working one or two body parts per session) of rest to repair and rebuild.
4. Aerobic Training
Walking, jogging and bike riding are all examples of aerobic exercise. There are m benefits to aerobic exercise which include helping your heart pump blood more efficiently and increasing your stamina (aerobic capacity).
Contrary to what many people believe, aerobic exercise is NOT the best way to burn fat or improve your stamina. Interval training has been proven by research to be superior to aerobic exercise in both of these areas. However, aerobic exercise can be a great way to work up to more intense and beneficial forms of exercises or add variation to your routine. Just don’t make the mistake of using aerobic as your primary form of exercise or you’ll miss out on many of the most powerful health benefits exercise has to offer you.
5. Interval Training
I’ve saved the best for last! Not only is this my favorite style of training, but research shows that it’s the best way to dramatically burn fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Interval training is the alternating of short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods. This is really both aerobic and anaerobic training together, but the research show that the anaerobic phase is responsible is more important. The results of this style of training are thought to be the result of an increased metabolic rate and increased human growth hormone (HGH) production.
An example of interval training is to sprint on the bike (I like the bike as it is easier on the joints) for 15 seconds and gently pedal 45 seconds to recover before repeating the the sprint. You would repeat this cycle from 5-20 minutes depending on your goals and level of fitness. These short bursts of exercise done at a very high intensity can help you reach your optimal weight and level of fitness in a shorter amount of time, as well as dramatically decreasing the amount of time you spend exercising. The only draw back? It’s hard!
Thanks for reading my take on the principles of exercise. I hope you learned something valuable lessons about what a workout program should include to be complete. Start incorporating these principles today to start burning fat, toning your muscles, and tightening your midsection!