Certain factors must be part of any fitness training program
for it to be successful. These factors are Frequency, Intensity,
Time, and Type. The acronym FITT makes it easier to remember them.
Factors for a successful training program are Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type; "FITT".
|FITT Factors Applied to Physical Conditioning Program
||Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance
||3 - 5 times per week
||3 times per week
||3 - 5 times per week
||3 times per week
||Warm up and cool down:
Stretch before and after each exercise session
To improve flexibility stretch 2-3 times/week
||50 - 90% HRR*
||3 - 7 RM*
||8 - 12 RM
||Tension and slight discomfort, NOT PAIN.
||20 minutes of more
||The time required to do 3 - 7 repetitions of each exercise
||The time required to do 12+ repetitions of each exercise
||The time required to do 8 - 12 repetitions of each exercise
||Warm up and cool down stretches:
10 - 15 seconds per stretch
20 - 40 seconds per stretch
Cross Country Skiing
Body-Weight Exercises (Push-ups/Sit-ups/Pull-ups/Dips, etc.)
|*HRR - Heart Rate Reserve *RM - Repetition Maximum
Vigorous physical fitness training should be conducted 3 to 5 times per week. For optimal
results, one should strive to conduct 5 days of physical
training per week. Ideally, at least three exercise sessions for
CR fitness, muscle endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility
should be performed each week to improve fitness levels. Thus,
for example, to obtain maximum gains in muscular strength, one
should have at least three strength-training sessions per week.
Three physical activity periods a week, however, with only one
session each of cardiorespiratory, strength, and flexibility training
will not improve any of these three components.
With some planning, a training program for the average person
can be developed which provides fairly equal emphasis on all the
components of physical fitness. The following training program
serves as an example.
In the first week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are devoted
to CR fitness, and Tuesday and Thursday are devoted to muscle
endurance and strength. During the second week, the training days
are flip-flopped: muscle endurance and strength are trained on
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and CR fitness is trained on Tuesday
and Thursday. Stretching exercises are done in every training
session to enhance flexibility. By training continuously in this
manner, equal emphasis can be given to developing muscular endurance
and strength and to CR fitness while training five days per week.
In certain circumstances, some muscular and some CR training can be done during each daily training session as
long as a "hard day/recovery day" approach is used.
For example, if one has a hard run on Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday, one may also choose to run on Tuesday and Thursday. However,
on Tuesday and Thursday the intensity and/or distance/time should
be reduced to allow recovery. Depending on the time available
for each session and the way training sessions are conducted,
all components of fitness can be developed using a three-day-per-week
schedule. However, a five-day-per-week program is much better
than three per week.
Numerous other approaches can be taken when tailoring a fitness
program to meet one's goals as long as the principles of
exercise are not violated. Such programs, when coupled with good
nutrition, will help keep one fit to win.
Training at the right intensity is the biggest problem in most exercise programs. The intensity should vary with the type of exercise
being done. Exercise for CR development must be strenuous enough
to elevate the heart rate to between 60 and 90 percent of the
heart rate reserve (HRR). (The calculation of percent HRR is explained
in Chapter 2) Those with low fitness levels should start exercising
at a lower training heart rate (THR) of about 60 percent of HRR.
For muscular strength and endurance, intensity refers to the
percentage of the maximum resistance that is used for a given
exercise. When determining intensity in a strength-training program,
it is easier to refer to a "repetition maximum" or "RM."
For example, a 10-RM is the maximum weight that can be correctly
lifted 10 times. An 8-12 RM is the weight that can be lifted 8
to 12 times correctly. Doing an exercise "correctly"
means moving the weight steadily and with proper form without
getting help from other muscle groups by jerking, bending, or
twisting the body. For the average person who wants to improve
both muscular strength and endurance, an 8-12 RM is best.
The person who wants to concentrate on muscular strength should
use weights which let him do three to seven repetitions before
his muscles fatigue. Thus, for strength development, the weight
used should be a 3-7 RM. On the other hand, the person who wants
to concentrate on muscular endurance should use a 12+ RM. When
using a 12+ RM as the training intensity, the more repetitions
performed per set, over time, the greater will be the improvement
in muscular endurance. Conversely, the greater the number of repetitions
performed, the smaller will be the gains in strength. For example,
a person who regularly trains with a weight which lets him do
100 repetitions per exercise (a 100-RM) greatly increases his
muscular endurance but minimally improves his muscular strength.
All exercise sessions should include stretching during the warm-up and cool-down.One should stretch so there is slight discomfort, but no pain, when the movement is taken beyond the normal range of motion.
Like intensity, the time spent exercising depends on the type
of exercise being done. At least 20 to 30 continuous minutes of
intense exercise must be used in order to improve cardiorespiratory
For muscular endurance and strength, exercise time equates
to the number of repetitions done. For most people, 8
to 12 repetitions with enough resistance to cause muscle failure
improves both muscular endurance and strength. As people progress,
they will make better strength gains by doing two or three sets
of each resistance exercise.
Flexibility exercises or stretches should be held for varying
times depending on the objective of the session. For warming-up,
such as before a run, each stretch should be held for 10 to 15
seconds. To improve flexibility, it is best to do stretching during
the cool-down, with each stretch held for 30 to 60 seconds. If
flexibility improvement is a major goal, at least one session
per week should be devoted to developing it.
Type refers to the kind of exercise performed. When choosing
the type, one should consider the principle of specificity.
For example, to improve one's level of CR fitness (the
major fitness component in the 2-mile run), one should do CR types of exercises.
The basic rule is that to improve performance, one must practice the particular exercise, activity, or skill
he wants to improve. For example, to be good at push-ups, one
must do push-ups. No other exercise will improve push-up performance