Exercise program design
Let’s talk about exercise program design! When you have decided to exercise, what next? Need a little structure? Check out the following ABC’s of exercise design. Use your current movement repertoire to fill in the blanks.
Body of workout/main goal/target area/target activity
Cool down or release
Start with easy, repeated or rhythmic movements that are gentle and suitable to your current fitness level. To see where you stand on the exercise and activity spectrum, see post Are you evolving as an exerciser?
Your warm up may include using cardio equipment like like a stationary bike or treadmill. Your warm-up could also be components of your main workout done slower in a smaller, gentler range to start.
Use your warm up to transition your mind and begin directing your focus to your body and how it relates to the physical space around you. “Let go” of the tasks that you were recently involved in or one’s that you need to do later.
Vary the intensity, by changing the speed slightly or use progressively larger movements.
These are all options. You can do what works for you. If you are not sure, consult someone who should know how to help you find and narrow down your options.
“Body” of workout/target areas/target activity:
This part of your workout may be where your goals come in to play:
Do you want to get stronger, more flexible, less stiff, have more endurance, better posture, better cardiovascular fitness, or improved balance? Is increasing the amount of movement at a particular joint important to you? Do you need to relieve stress? Check out Exercise specificity: what do you need?
You could focus on a part of your body (upper body vs lower body, back body versus front, arms and legs, spine and core)
You can also look at specific workouts already out there that meet your needs (Pilates, Yoga, Barre, Zumba, HIIT, TRX, Spinning, Interval training, circuit training, Essentrics®, weights).
If you are not sure, talk to someone who should know (family doctor, chiropractor, trainer, physiotherapist, massage therapist, kinesiologist, naturopath, or other health care or fitness professional).
Cool down or release:
This could be a progressively slower version or less intense version of what you were just doing (you were jogging and now you will walk). Kind of like your warm-up but in reverse.
Often cool downs will include stretches of the muscles that were used in the workout, which could be static or dynamic stretches. A cool down allows the temperature of your body to decrease slowly and if you got your heart rate up, to slow it down gradually and allow the muscles to return to a normal level of circulation.
It may also be the time where you feel the most relaxed and released and if that is the case, go with the flow and stay focused on the here and now.
To stay in the moment, something like diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) can be used to center yourself and release even further.
The ABC’s of exercise program design!
For more information, join me Wednesday mornings at 9:00 on Facebook for an interactive livestream on all topics exercise. If you are interested in trying an Essentrics class, please see my sign-up page. And finally, watch for my fun “shorts” on You Tube!
Are you ready? Get set. Let’s move!