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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health

Unit 1 – Introduction to exercise

Lesson 1.2 – Exercise principles and types


Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Step 1 – Exercise principles

When discussing the effects of exercise on the body and prescribing appropriate
exercises, certain principles need to be considered. These principles are required,
because adaptations occur in the time following exercise.

The training effect - Appropriate forms of exercise provide a stimulus for the body
to improve its physical capacity. If an appropriate form of exercise is repeated
often enough, it will promote long-term adaptations to the exercise. This is called
the training effect.

Overload - To improve the fitness of various body systems we need to overload


them. This means placing them under a greater strain than normal. This extra
strain is sometimes called stress.

To improve your stamina, strength, endurance and even your flexibility you need
to gradually increase the amount of stress on each system. This provides the extra
stimulus the body needs to adapt and improve its physical capacity.

Aerobic fitness is attained when the metabolic rate and oxygen consumption of
muscles are elevated and the elevation is sustained long enough to overload the
aerobic enzyme systems.

Specificity - The effects of training are specific to the part of the body exercised. If
you want to build up the strength of your upper arm muscles, you need to perform
physical exercises which put stress on the particular muscles concerned. Although
it may seem obvious, people often seem to forget that they will not improve the
strength of their upper arm muscles by exercising their legs!

Sometimes you will see advertisements for equipment ‘that exercises the whole
body’ or will produce ‘overall fitness’. Such claims are misleading, if not fraudulent.
If you want to improve your flexibility, your strength, or your speed of running, you
have to undertake specific exercise programmes to achieve results.

Intensity - Intensity refers to the degree of difficulty of the exercise. You can
increase stress by increasing the intensity. This means working harder by
increasing the weights being lifted, or by running, cycling or rowing faster.

Duration - The duration of an exercise refers to how long it lasts. We can increase
the stress by increasing the duration. This means training for a longer period of
time, so placing the body’s systems under stress for a longer period.

Frequency - Frequency refers to how often an individual performs an exercise


session – for example how many times a week. We can increase the stress by
reducing the recovery between sessions.

Recovery - This refers to the rest period taken within an exercise session, or to
the rest between exercise sessions. Both are important. In exercise sessions that
involve repeated sets of high intensity exercise, the recovery periods are required

May 2015 © Future Fit Training, 2015 Page 1 of 7


Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

to allow the body to remove waste products from the muscles and restore itself to
a condition that will enable it to repeat the exercise.

Recovery between exercise sessions is also important. The more intensive the
exercise, the longer the recovery period required. Repeating the exercise session
before the body has fully recovered is likely to result in the rapid onset of fatigue
and may therefore reduce the effectiveness of the session.

Progression - The effects of a training programme can be seen most easily in the
early stages. Regular workouts will continue to show improvement in all the body’s
systems. However, the human body adapts to stress extremely well, so to
continue to place the body under a significant amount of stress, the intensity of the
training will need to be increased, if improvement is to be continued.

It’s very important that the intensity of exercise is increased progressively. Too
much stress, too soon, can cause breakdown and injury. Too little can lead to
staleness and boredom.

The fitter a person becomes, the nearer they get to their potential limit, so the
harder it is to increase fitness.

Reversibility - Just as your body will adapt to greater stress, it will also adapt to
less stress. It only takes 3-4 weeks for your body to become out of condition.
Deterioration can be seen most readily in aerobic activity as the muscles quickly
lose much of their ability to use oxygen. Strength gains are lost at about one third
of their rate of gain. If muscles are not used they waste away (atrophy). Both
speed and strength are gradually lost. As muscles become weaker and smaller
they become more prone to injury. Weak muscles also take longer to heal
following injury.

Step 2 – Exercise principles

You should always consider four essential principles when constructing exercise
programmes for your clients. These principles are easy to remember if you keep in
mind that they will help your clients to get FITT:

Frequency – how often they should train


Intensity – how hard they should train
Time – how long their sessions should last
Type – what type of training programme they should follow (e.g. strength, tone or
endurance)

You should use these principles to construct initial programmes for your clients
and then increase them gradually to help them to progress. You will need to tailor
them according to your clients' requirements and abilities.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Step 3 – Some definitions

Before we go any further, we should define some of the terms that are used
frequently in the fitness industry.

Strength
Speed
Power

Let's look at strength first. You may feel that you know what muscular strength is,
but how would you measure it?

Take a few moments to think about this question.

Muscular strength can be defined as the maximum amount of force that can be
exerted by a muscle or group of muscles against a resistance. One way of
measuring it is to determine how much weight can be lifted. The appropriate
muscles need to exert a force slightly greater and opposite to the force of gravity
trying to pull the weight back down again.

Step 4 – Some definitions

The strength of muscles varies.

 Throughout the body, so that, for example, legs are usually stronger than
arms, and one arm may be stronger than the other
 According to the training regime followed
 Between one person and another, depending on genetic inheritance

Relative strength, as distinct from actual strength, is the total force that a person
can exert in relation to that individual's body weight.

Muscular endurance relates to the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to


sustain work.

Speed is the distance moved divided by the time taken. A person's speed depends
on both:

 Reaction time: how long it takes to start a movement - the delay between a
starting pistol going off, for example, and a sprinter moving off the blocks
 Movement time: the interval between the beginning of a movement and its
end

Step 5 – Some definitions

Now let’s look at power. Have a go at the following questions.

 Is a strong person always powerful compared with a weaker one?


 Is a fast person always powerful compared with a slower one?

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Power depends on both strength and speed. In fact mathematically it is strength


multiplied by speed.

As strength is measured in terms of force, and speed is distance divided by time:

power (P) = force (F) x distance (D)


time (T)

So it is possible for someone to be very strong and yet not powerful because he or
she can't move quickly. It is also possible for a person to be very fast but not
powerful through not being very strong.

To increase your power you must either improve your strength or your speed, or
both.

Step 6 – Some definitions

Resistance, sets and repetitions

Resistance (or load) usually refers to the amount of weight used in a given
exercise. However, you can also work against the resistance of other bodies, as
rugby players do in a scrum.

A repetition is the performance of an exercise against resistance or the number of


times you lift and lower the training resistance without resting. An example of this
would be when performing a bicep curl. One repetition would represent one
movement bringing the bar to the top of the chest and returning it to the start
position. We will be more specific about the numbers of repetitions that are
appropriate for muscular fitness exercises later in the unit.

Step 7 – Some definitions


A set is the number of times you perform repetitions of a given exercise.

There are four types of set:

A single set system is comprised of one set of each of a chosen number of


exercises.
A multi-set consists of 2 or more sets with a rest period in between, with the
weight usually being kept the same.
A pyramid set is generally 3 or more sets with an increase in the resistance and a
subsequent decrease in repetitions. An example of this would be an exercise lifting
75kg for 10 reps, then 80kg for 8 reps then 85kg for 6 reps.
A super set comprises of 2 sets, one straight after the other with no rest period.
The idea is that both sets work the same body area, but using opposing muscle
groups. For example, you might first work the biceps while the triceps relax, and
then work the triceps while the biceps relax.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Step 8 – Some definitions

Question: In the case of a bicep curl, which muscle do you think is the agonist
and which muscle is the antagonist? Choose a choice for each muscle.

Tricep = agonist or antagonist?


Bicep = agonist or antagonist?

Step 9 – The 4 Rs: resistance, repetitions, rate & rest

For weight training in the gym environment, the 4 Rs is another principle that can
be applied. They stand for:

Resistance – how much weight are you lifting?


Repetitions – how many times do you lift the weight?
Rate – with what speed do you lift and lower the weight?
Rest – how much rest do you take between each exercise?

Step 10 – The effect of speed on an exercise

The speed at which resistance exercises are performed has a direct relationship
with the intensity of the exercise, for example in a bicep curl slowing down the
speed of the exercise increases the intensity.

Conversely, speeding up the exercise will lower the intensity. Speeding up can
also lead to deterioration in the quality of the movement due to poor alignment or
posture.

Step 11 – Types of exercise

People exercise in different ways to achieve different effects. In the next few
lessons we will talk about:

 Aerobic exercise
 Muscular strength exercise
 Anaerobic exercise
 Circuit training
 Resistance exercise

Before that, try answering the questions on the following steps.

Step 12 – Activity

Imagine you are talking with someone who is sceptical of the benefits of exercise.
'Who wants to get fit?' this person says. 'Fit for what exactly?'

Briefly summarise the answer you would give.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Feedback: Fit for what? Fit for life! If you exercise, your body will serve you better,
your feelings of well-being will increase and you’ll be less liable to suffer from
injury and illness. You’ll look better, sleep better and do your work with less effort.
Your concentration will improve, and even your love-life may well be enhanced.
Why not give it a try? You’ve nothing to lose but a little regular effort.

Step 13 – Activity Note: this activity can only be completed online.


Listed below are various answers. Choose the answer that you think is correct.

You can increase stress in 3 ways by increasing the:

a) Frequency, intensity, duration


b) Strength, endurance, frequency
c) Power endurance, intensity, strength
d) Strength, duration, boredom

Step 14 – Activity Note: this activity can only be completed online.


Fill in the blanks.

Too ____________ stress too soon can cause injury and breakdown. Too
_____________ stress can lead to staleness and boredom.

Step 15 – Activity Note: this activity can only be completed online.


Fill in the blanks.

If muscles are not used they ______________ that is they waste away. Both
speed and ________________ are gradually lost.

Step 16 – Activity Note: this activity can only be completed online.


Move the definitions on the right to match up with the correct term on the left.

Multi-set The number of times you perform repetitions of a


given exercise.
Muscular One set of each of a chosen number of exercises.
strength
Power The total force that a person can exert in relation to
that individual’s body weight.
Pyramid set The product of strength and speed.

Relative strength 2 or more sets with a rest period in between, the


weight usually being kept the same.
Repetition 3 or more sets with an increase in weight and a
decrease in reps in each set.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 4.2 Exercise principles and types

Set The number of times you lift and lower the training
resistance without resting.
Single set 2 sets, one straight after the other with no rest period.
system
Speed The distance moved divided by the time taken.

Superset The amount of force that can be exerted by a muscle


or group of muscles.

Step 17 – Summary

There are 9 basic principles of exercise for training:

 The training effect  Frequency


 Overload  Recovery
 Specificity  Progression
 Intensity  Reversibility
 Duration

Stress or overload can be increased in 3 ways: by increasing the intensity, the


frequency and/or the duration of exercise.

It is very important that the intensity of exercise is increased progressively.

Too much stress too soon can cause breakdown and injury. Too little stress can
lead to staleness and boredom.

When constructing an exercise programme, the essential principles of exercise


prescription must be adhered to and these can be remembered by the initials FITT
(Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type).

We defined the following terms: multi-set, muscular strength, power, pyramid set,
relative strength, repetition, set, single set system, speed, and super set.

Speed has an effect on the intensity of exercise and can adversely affect
technique and posture.

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