Methods of training

All methods of training need to be specific to the individual performer, component of fitness and the activity.

Continuous training develops cardiovascular fitness

  • A minimum of 20 minutes sub-maximal work.
  • Target heart rate range between 60% - 80% maximum heart rate (maxHR).
  • Swimming, running, cycling, walking or a combination of these disciplines.
  • Disadvantage - some participants find longer sessions to be boring.

Fartlek (speed play) training develops a range of components and is used by games players

  • A continuous form of training.
  • Changes in speed, incline and terrain are used to provide changes in exercise intensity.
  • Aerobic and anaerobic work can be done in the quantities that suit the performer.
  • Disadvantage - some urban areas have little variety of incline and terrain.

Interval training develops strength, speed and muscular endurance

  • Periods of intense work interspersed with timed rest.
  • A wide variety of fitness types can be developed.
  • Structured in reps and sets.
  • Intensity is measured by % maxHR.
  • Disadvantage - maximal nature of intervals can be too challenging for some participants.

Weight training develops strength

  • An interval form of training.
  • Intensity is measured in a percentage of the most weight a person can lift one time and is known as % 1 REP MAX.
  • Time is structured in reps and sets with specific timings for recovery between sets.
  • Huge range of possible lifts combining machines, free weights and body weight exercises.
  • Disadvantage - many performers use poor technique while striving for an even heavier weight.

Plyometric training develops power

  • High intensity exercise involving explosive movements.
  • The muscle is lengthened and then rapidly shortened to develop the explosive capability of the muscle.
  • Suitable for well-trained athletes.
  • Very effective for developing power.
  • Disadvantage - can cause injury if athlete is not in excellent condition.

Flexibility training develops flexibility

  • Essential training for all athletes in all sports and activities.
  • Time is measured by the length of hold and the recovery period between holds.
  • Intensity is measured as a percentage of range of motion (%ROM).
  • Disadvantage - underused by many athletes.

Circuit training

  • This develops muscular endurance, strength and/or cardiovascular fitness.
  • An interval form of training.
  • Stations are set out that train one or more components of fitness.
  • The performer moves from one station to the next with exercise periods and rest periods.
  • Circuits can be designed so that they are sport-specific.

Exercise classes such as yoga, pilates, body pump and spinning

  • Very popular exercise formats.
  • Yoga, body pump and pilates are outstanding for developing core strength and whole body conditioning.
  • Spinning develops cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.
  • Group format helps to motivate participants to work harder.
  • Disadvantage - can be costly and sometimes carries the unfair reputation of a non-serious training method.

Factors affecting training

The choice of how to train can be affected by many factors. Some training methods such as weight training require the use of some specialist equipment whereas others such as interval training do not. Therefore the availability of facilities is relevant.

Some training methods can also be very high impact and are less advisable for some groups in society such as children or elderly people. Plyometrics is a very effective method of developing explosive power but should not be used with a child that is growing or a performer who is overweight or less fit. The high impacts can prove damaging to joints and muscles unless the performer is in peak condition.