THE PERFECT WORKOUT
by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute
Tid Bits of Info.
- Max heart rate is approximately 220 – your age.
- Cardiovascular exercise for 30 + minutes / day 5 days / week at 60+% of your max heart rate has been proven to improve the quality of life.
- Lower #s of repetitions and heavy resistance = strength; high reps and low resistance = endurance.
- Cardiovascular exercise at 60% of the max heart rate for 30+ minutes / session will target fat burning.
- Seek the advice and treatment of a Physical Therapist if you need information or get injured during your work out.
What is the perfect workout? Coaches, trainer, athletes, healthcare professionals, and fitness enthusiasts have been asking this question for years. Every so often, a new routine makes a claim as the ultimate workout. This raises another question; can one routine be a perfect workout for every person? While some fitness regimens may vary based on the specific needs of individuals, all workouts should include three main elements: strength training, flexibility or stretching, and cardiovascular exercise.
Over the past couple decades, the fitness industry has exploded in popularity. 20 years ago it was hard to imagine that being a fitness trainer or health coach could be a full-time job, but times have change. Trainers have become a common part feature in healthy lifestyles, and the now trainers face the pressure of prescribing well-devised, thorough exercise routines that focus on the specific needs of their clients.
Trainers and healthcare professionals know that the prescription for a perfect workout has to include several key ingredients or it will most likely leave something out of a person’s workout that ultimately could cause major problems. A truly effective regimen must include strength training, flexibility or stretching, and cardiovascular exercise must be in everyone’s exercise routine. This does not mean that you have to perform all three on the same day, but the exercises/activities must be performed more than 1x/week to be really effective.
Strength training does not mean that you have to perform heavy duty workouts or use an extreme amount of resistance. It does mean that you have to use a high number of repetitions or add resistance to your workout and perform less reps. There are a number of classes or routines that utilize your body weight or a minimal amount of resistance during the routine. The key to these programs is that they have the participant perform a tremendous amount of reps and the muscle or muscle group fatigues or reaches failure. The “old” fashioned way of strength training still works and is one of the most reliable forms of strength developing exercise. The exercises require the person performing them to use a significant amount of resistance and “overload” the muscle or muscle group. The repetitions are much lower and many times the resistance is equal to or greater than the person’s body weight. Strength training should include exercises for every part of the body and take into consideration the type of muscle that is being trained. There are primarily two types of muscle and one of them is to be a “marathon” performer and continue to work well throughout the day. These muscles are associated to posture and normal speed gait. They consist of mainly slow twitch muscle fibers. The other type of muscles has a role that is associated with movement through space. These muscles will be mainly fast twitch fibers and are responsible for moving our limbs with force and speed.
Flexibility or stretching can occur before or after a workout or competition but knowing which form and technique of stretching to perform might improve the performance. Stretching and increased flexibility have never been positively linked to reducing injuries, but empirical results indicate that people that are more flexible experience less episodes of daily painful conditions. Stretching before a workout should be more dynamic and involve rhythmic type movements that are done at a controlled speed. The muscles and joints are moved through motions that are similar to those that will be used during the workout or competition. The movement increases blood flow, tissue and joint temperature and reduces the viscosity of all fluids in the muscles and joints. The changes that occur during a dynamic stretching “warm-up” enable the participant to move more freely and with less pain in most cases. At the end of a workout, more dynamic stretching can take place, but many times the “cool down” period is associated with static stretching. The muscle or body part is stretched and held at a point where a slight amount of “stretching” pain or discomfort is perceived. The static stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds minimally.
Cardiovascular exercises come in many forms and as long as your heart rate is elevated to a level that is significantly above resting heart rate for a period of at least 20 minutes 4-5x per week you will enhance your cardiovascular conditioning. The goal is to exercise in the range of 60 – 75% of your maximum heart rate which can be figured out by subtracting your age from the number 220 (220 – your age x .7 = 70% of your max heart rate and this is your “target heart rate” during your cardiovascular exercise). You need to be sure that your doctor has cleared you to exercise vigorously and you should take several weeks to increase your pace during the workout so you don’t hurt yourself.
Working out can be fun and in most cases, makes you feel better and live a healthier and higher quality of life. You don’t have to “kill” yourself to get the benefits of exercise, but you have to be consistent and diligent to give yourself the best shot at achieving your workout goals.ical Therapist if you need information or get injured during your workout
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