Welcome back! Have you been focusing more on the tempo of your eccentric, concentric, and isometric contractions? Have you found it’s more difficult and more tiring when you make sure each eccentric contraction lasts 3 seconds? Have you been able to keep up with your breathing and core control? Let me know in the comments!
In the last lesson we spoke about the three different types of contractions and how manipulating each will help you achieve different results from your training. I mentioned you’ll want to change the tempo, or time for each eccentric, isometric, and concentric rep based on the different types of training. Today we’re going to go over those different types of training and why it’s so important balance your program to include all of them.
As you exercise, your body will adapt and improve based on the movements you perform. Those adaptations will relate to the two types of fitness, health related fitness and skill related fitness. WIthin the two types of fitness there are 11 further components of fitness, 5 pertaining to health related fitness and 6 to skill related fitness. Knowing why and how the body adapts to various forms of exercise will help you select those that have the largest effect on the component you are working on improving.
Health related fitness is what most people are generally concerned with when first taking up a health and fitness routine. Health related fitness is measured by a person's metabolic health, including muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardiorespiratory capacity, combined with a person's flexibility and body composition. Improving each of these five components is important for bringing a person back to optimal health, so let’s take a moment to discover what each means and what exercises can help improve them.
- Muscle strength is the measurement of force a muscle can produce when contracting maximally under load. Muscle strength isn’t just a factor of how big a muscle is, but also how efficiently the central nervous system can communicate the signals to muscle fibers, getting them to contract and work together to produce the most force possible. Training muscle strength involves heavy weights, less repetitions and sets, and longer rest times between sets. Beginners should include 3 sets with rep ranges between 8 to 12 and rest times of 2 minutes. As you advance, you can reduce the repetitions when training for strength to between 1 to 5 repetitions and increase rest times to between 3 and 5 minutes.
- Muscle endurance is the opposite of muscle strength, in that its calculated based on a muscle's ability to continually contract over longer periods of time. For examples, cycling, skiing, swimming, and running all require muscle endurance. Muscle endurance is trained using lighter loads in combination with higher repetitions and shorter rest times between sets. For example, 3 sets of 12 or more repetitions with 45 seconds to a minute rest time. The use of circuit training is a great way of improving your muscular endurance, as rather than straight rest time you can use active rest.
- Cardiorespiratory fitness is the body’s ability to deliver oxygen form the lungs through the circulatory system to working muscles during exercise, then removing carbon dioxide through exhalation. Maintaining or improving cardiorespiratory fitness is very important as it depends on the health of your heart and circulatory system. Both aerobic training, like speed walking, and anaerobic training, like sprinting, improve cardiorespiratory fitness. However, each have their own effects on your cardiorespiratory fitness.
- Flexibility is the relationship of the muscles and connective tissues that cross a joint and their effect on the joints end range. Restoring optimal flexibility can greatly improve your performance in the gym, but it will also help reduce the pain that comes from and imbalanced posture. In the momentum programs we get into restoring flexibility to improve performance through length tension relationships and the force coupling of multiple muscles, but for now just focus on restoring flexibility using the warm up mobility and cool down stretching routines in your program.
- Body composition is the ratio of a person's fat, bone, water and muscle. Lean mass, the muscle, bone, and water, should make up 70 to 90 percent of a person’s body composition, with fat accounting for the rest. A person's ideal fat percentage will vary depending on age and gender, but men should typically aim for between 10 and 20 percent and women between 18 and 30 percent.
In the Accelerator programs, the primary focus is on the improvement of your health related fitness. As you transition into the Momentum series of programs you’ll notice skill related fitness begins playing a larger role in your training. While health related fitness focuses on a person's metabolic response to exercise, skill related fitness primarily focuses on adaptations to a person's nervous system and increasing proficiency with specific movements. This is not to say metabolic changes don’t take place, as they certainly do, but the primary focus is on neuromuscular adaptation for improved performance.
Skill related fitness can be broken down into six components, all of which require different methods of training to stimulate improved performance. You’ll want to consider which of the skill related fitness components are most related to your favorite hobbies and activities but, regardless, bringing them all into some semblance of balance should be everyone's goal.
- Power is the combination of strength, as discussed in health related fitness, with the addition of speed and distance. Therefore, strength is the force a muscle is able to generate while power is the ability to maximally exert use that strength to against resistance through a range of motion or distance in the shortest amount of time. An excellent example of power is Olympic lifting. Power production requires strength training, but also relies heavily on training mechanical efficiency through practice.
- Speed is the ability to perform a movement or exercise as rapidly as possible. Sprint training down a 100 meter track is an excellent example. Speed can be improved using combinations of sprint training, strength and power power training, bodyweight plyometrics, and technique training for particular sports.
- Agility in an important aspect of training that often goes undertrained, and becomes especially important to balance if sprint training is a part of your program. Agility is the body’s ability to change momentum and direction without losing significant speed or control. Agility training consists of a person running different types of drills that require rapid changes of direction, acceleration, deceleration.
- Balance, like agility training, is another skill that can become undertrained. Balance can can be trained with exercises that have you standing on one leg, what are called unilateral exercises, by using unstable surfaces like a BOSU ball, or by intentionally changing your center of gravity as you perform various movements.
- Coordination is a combination of a person balance, spatial awareness, and ability to judge timing. Especially in sport, coordination is related to reaction time, as many coordinated movements in sport are a generated as a reaction to an event, like a player returning a serve in tennis or a boxer slipping a punch.
- Reaction time is the ability to respond as quickly as possible to an event which is then usually followed by a coordinated response. The faster you can react, the faster you can coordinate your response. Reaction time is critical in many sports like hockey where a goalie reacts to an inbound puck, baseball when a hitter swings at a pitch, or in track when a sprinter hears the starting pistol.
In contrast with health related fitness, where bringing all the components into balance is the ideal, balancing one’s skill related fitness is entirely dependant on a person's goals and lifestyle. For athletes, each skill related fitness component will be trained to a high level. However, different sports, and even different player positions within a sport, will focus varying amounts of attention into each component.
For the everyday person, though, an even distribution of time and attention into improving each skill to normal levels is a good goal, and one that is easily attainable over time.
In the next lesson we will bring everything together, showing how the different types of rep ranges, tempos, and components of fitness should be programmed to ensure your goal is achieved as quickly and safely as possible.
Let me know in the comments what you thought about today's lesson! Which part of health related fitness have you seen the most improvement with so far? What component of skill related fitness are you most excited to train in the future? Is there a sport or activity you enjoy that could be improved by training your skill related fitness components? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
As always, thank you for joining in on today’s lesson. If you got something out of it or have any questions, please let me know in the comments. If you’re enjoying this fitness program and know of a friend or family member who could also benefit, please feel free to share the sign up link with them. And, as always, the secret to getting ahead is getting started. So go get started!