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The Principles Of Fitness: Part 4 – Forms Of Fitness Training



Part 4: Forms Of Fitness Training


This article is part 3 in The Principles of Fitness article series, so if you have not read Part 3 on the Elements Of Exercise Programming by clicking here now.


Now that you understand the essential concepts of fitness training, I will go over the different types of training so that you can figure out which one is best for yourself and your fitness goals, as each training type is meant to accomplish a different state of physical fitness.  The more of these you use the better an athlete you will be, and so if you are training for general athleticism you would want to employ a mix of most of these different types at different times during the year.

  • Resistance Training/Weight Lifting – This is where you are training with any kind of weight or resistance, be it dumbells, barbells, machines, resistance bands or some other piece of equipment that adds weight or resistance and you thus try to move. The terms resistance training and weight lifting are general and could be applied to any type of training that involves them, but if they are done for any of the other following specific purposes that I am going to go over usually the name of that type of training would be the one used because you would no longer call it just resistance training or weight liftin.  So even though power lifting is a form of weight lifting, it is still called power lifting.  Resistance training done for aerobic purposes would just be called aerobic exercise instead of weight lifting.  Training for a sport even when it uses weights is called sports training, etc.  General resistance training and weight lifting is exercise termed that because it does not fall into a more specialized category.


  • Hypertrophy Training – This is weight lifting that is done for the purpose of damaging muscle so that it will repair itself and thus grow. This is done in the 5-30 rep range and is explained in full detail in part 1 of the article series.


  • Strength Training/Power Lifting – Weight lifting that is done with high weight and low reps for the purpose of building as much strength as possible (strength training) and creating explosively under extreme loads and setting personal weight lifting records (power lifting). Strength training is done in the range of 80% or more of your one rep max, or 1RM, and the 1-5 rep range.  Powerlifting is done at 90% or more of your 1RM, or in the 1-3 Rep range.  This type of training is not healthy and is notorious for causing injuries, and thus it must be done properly in order to be successful and not limited by injury.


  • Aerobics/Cardio/Endurance Training – Athletic training that is done for weight loss, overall health and wellness, and endurance sports in which you need to stay in motion for a long time, such as running or biking. This is explained in full detail in part 1.


  • Circuit/Interval Training – Training that employs alternating sets, or doing many different types of exercises in rapid succession, which are done with only short rest periods in between each. Doing a workout consisting of alternating sets instead of doing multiple sets of the same exercise with a longer rest between is very advantageous. When these exercises are arranged in a circuit like routine that one runs through multiple times that is called circuit training.  When exercises are done in rapid succession with little to no rest period in between but instead using low intensity periods of exercise for your rest and recovery intermittently between high intensity periods, this is called Interval Training.  There is Medium Intensity Interval Training, known as MIIT, and High Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT.  This type of training is anabolic but is also the one form of weight lifting that becomes an aerobic/cardio workout as well because the high intensity and speed of the workout with minimal resting.  However it is still not physically the same affect as steady state cardio in which your body is in a state of constant motion.


  • Body Building – A type of weight lifting that is done by physique competitors’ who’s goal is to become as muscularly large and aesthetic as possible. In the competition which this is done for their physiques are going to be compared with other athletes while flexing and judged to see who has the best musculature.  The type of training done to accomplish this is extremely advanced and involves complex periodization and splits, with the bodybuilders often working out 2-3 times a day in the realization phase prior to competition.  These athletes also achieve extreme levels of progressive overload and work out at extremely high intensity.  Lastly this type of athlete has a very closely monitored diet with very specific levels of macro and micro nutrients which get manipulated in specific ways before the competition.  This type of training is extremely taxing on the body and often very unhealthy, and is notorious for injuries and steroid use, resulting in health problems, accelerated aging and physical breakdowns in its participants.


  • Sport Training – Sport training is any type of training that is uniquely customized for a specific sport. It usually combines many different types of training listed here which programmed very specifically for that sports performance demands.  Some forms of this type of training are very specific for what is done in that sport (like how football players push a sled with their coach standing on it, a form of resistance training that you will not see any other type of athlete do for any other type of sports training, or any other form of training for that matter).  Athletes who are training for mastery of a specific sport will be engaging in a highly specialized form of training that will look different than any type of general resistance training you will see most people at the gym doing.  These forms of training can oftentimes be very elaborate and immersive, involving large amounts of time combining training for power/explosiveness, speed, endurance as well as the mastery of very specific physical skill sets (such as running and jumping in a certain manner, throwing or catching a specific type of ball in a specific type of way, oftentimes done while running, and interacting with other players in certain ways, etc.)


  • Mobility Training – Training the joints for greater flexability, range of motion and overall health, which is important for many other forms of training. There are specific mobility exercises, but some forms of training that can also be considered mobility mobility training are stretching, swimming, functional training, physical therapy and certain calisthenics routines.  Most good forms of aerobic exercise, sports training, and any type of training that is done for health should contain a mobility component.  Without that mobility component to your training you will start to experience joint stiffness, aches and pains, training limitations, and possible injury, especially in your shoulders & rotator cuff, neck & back, and hips.  Mobility is essential to your ability to move.


  • Calisthenics & Plyometrics – Calisthenics are exercises in which your only source of weight is your bodyweight, IE pushups and situps. Plyometrics are calisthenic exercises that are done rapidly from stretch to contraction and back without resting in between often with a jump involved, IE Jumping Jacks, burpees, or any other exercise that involves rapid non-stop movements and jumping.


  • High Frequency Training – Training the same muscle’s or doing a total body workout almost every single day. This may be done with just one muscle every day when it has been lagging behind in growth. Orr this may be done with a full body every day workout in order to spread out your workout volume over the course of the week so you aren’t overtraining one muscle group on any one day, and can train with higher intensity each day without fatigue, and also train the body to recover faster.   High Frequency Training is great for intermediate lifters who have hit a plateau they need to break through.  This is only sustainable when done right, with the proper periodization, preparation, conditioning, and for only one microcycle or mesocycle at a time preceding a rest period.


  • High Volume Training – Training at a high volume (with a high number of exercises, sets and reps and relatively heavy weights as well), approaching or reaching your Maximum Recoverable Volume. This is only sustainable when done right, with the proper periodization, preparation, conditioning, and for only one microcycle or mesocycle at a time preceding a rest period. It is a great for serious athletes to boost strength or stimulate massive hypertrophy, especially when preparing for a competition in the few months just prior to it.


  • Ego Lifting – The type of lifting that is done typically by macho gym bro’s with as heavy weight as possible, as if they were strength training, but distinguishable from strength training because it is done without proper technique or training. Ego lifting is only done for the purpose of inflating the lifters ego and making them “feel strong” when technically they are not training their body well enough to becoming actually strong, or impressing anyone except themselves. Thus this is not an efficient way to lift as it does not produce great muscle gains (relative to the amount of time spent in training) as good programming is supposed to. This takes longer for the lifter to make progress and in order to keep adding weight to their exercises they usually have to compromise their form more and more since they are not building enough muscle for the progressive overload they want, and eventually they end up injuring themselves.  The problem is that ego lifters usually do not realize that they were ego lifting until an injury occurs.  It is imperative that you try to make sure you are not one of these people.


  • Physical Therapy & Injury Rehabilitation – The type of training that you must engage in for a number of months or years after you have become injured or even just been ignoring certain pain for too long and then having your Doctor tell you that something is wrong with a body part and you need Physical Therapy. This type of training is not for training the body to become strong, to build muscle, or cut fat. It is solely for regaining the lost health of a joint or connective tissue or tendon/ligament or other body part that has been damaged.  It is a training that is much gentler and less intense than most resistance training, is done with a physical therapist instead of a personal trainer who will be training your body in very medically specific and specialized manners, and primarily consists of resistance band work, machine work, stretching, and if you are lucky some massage (but don’t expect it).





The way to avoid injury and not have to end up in physical therapy is to not be an ego lifter, work with a good professional personal trainer and use the techniques that they instruct you in properly.  Do not over train and use more volume than you really need to, or if you wish to do high volume for a while make sure it is only for a very limited time of ideally only one week at the end of a cycle, or for one month when working in a proper training program.   So it is imperative that you do not push yourself too hard too or even do any types of exercises that you do not fully understand the physiological science behind.  In the case that these safety measures are not enough and you begin to experience bad pain (not the type of pain you are supposed to be experiencing in the muscle, but pain in a joint or connective tissue), it is imperative that you listen to what your body is trying to tell you and slow down your training or take a break.  Training is not about doing everything there is to do all in one session.  You should be in it for the long term and modulating your efforts in order to come back and train more, again and again, day after day, week after week, month after month.  Because that is the only way progress is made and trying to shortcut progressive overload and do too much volume or weight too soon does not actually speed up your progressive overload, instead it will cut it short and can even cause your progress to reverse.



Transgressions of these guidelines mean that your risk of injury is high, and it is likely only a matter of time before you do.  So if you are continuing this type of exercise routine indefinitely for a long term it is almost certain that you will eventually get injured because of it, and probably much sooner than you might think.  You can only train with weights that are too heavy for you for so long before they hurt you, so you must make sure you are lifting weights that are right for your body and where you are at in your fitness journey and not beyond it.  For there is literally nothing worse that one can go through in life than a bad injury, especially if fitness is very important to you and your injury causes you to never be able return to it 100% which is sometimes the case.  So make sure that you are putting safety first in your training and following these guidelines like your health depends upon it, because it does.  And as long as you are doing that you will have a solid enough foundation to train very hard and get fast results without hurting yourself.



Remember that proper training for health and athleticism will employ a number of these different types of training (besides ego lifting).  So make sure you are using a wide variety of exercises and other training techniques in your fitness program.  And now that you understand all of the essential scientific principles of fitness training, you are ready to really get serious about making progress on your fitness journey and reaching your goals.  You now have knowledge that puts you above most other people who go to the gym, as most of them barely know any of this and are just going and doing exercises without a scientific system in place.  Even most personal trainers only have a knowledge of the exercises themselves but not a lot of these scientific principles that are involved in systematic programming.  All that most personal trainers are going to do for you is teach you the proper form for certain exercises.  But if you were to ask them questions regarding these scientific principles such as what different training styles they were going to use and how they were going to periodize them for maximum progressive overload that will approach but not exceed your MRV in order to get you to reach your training goals by the end of the macrocycle without injuring you…I guarantee you that most of the trainers out there won’t have a real answer for that and may not even know exactly what you are talking about.



And if you are feeling overwhelmed about all of the information in this article and exactly how you are supposed to integrate it together to create the right exercise program, do not worry, I am here to help!  I have the knowledge of programming that you need and can design the right training program that is systematized precisely to take you from where you are now to exactly where you want to be in your fitness journey.  Whether you are looking to lose weight, get shredded and look great, or looking to build muscle mass and achieve personal records for various lifts, I can get you there!  Just send me an email to Info@TrueLifeDevelopment.com and ask to schedule a free 20 minute consultation and we will talk about your goals and how to reach them!  And otherwise, good luck on your fitness journey!

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