PRINCIPLES OF EXERCISE
Adherence to certain basic exercise principles is important
for developing an effective program. The principles of exercise
apply to everyone at all levels of physical training, from the
Olympic-caliber athlete to the weekend jogger. They also apply
to fitness training for military personnel.
These basic principles of exercise must be followed:
- Regularity. To achieve a training effect, a person must exercise
of ten. One should strive to exercise each of the first four fitness
components at least three times a week. Infrequent exercise can
do more harm than good. Regularity is also important in resting,
sleeping, and following a good diet.
- Progression. The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how
long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level
- Balance. To be effective, a program should include activities
that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing
any one of them may hurt the others.
- Variety. Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom
and increases motivation and progress.
- Specificity. Training must be geared toward specific goals.
For example, people become better runners if their training
emphasizes running. Although swimming is great exercise, it does
not improve a 2-mile-run time as much as a running program does.
- Recovery. A hard day of training for a given component of
fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day
for that component and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery.
Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups
exercised every other day, especially when training for strength
and/or muscle endurance.
- Overload. The work load of each exercise session must exceed
the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about
a training effect.