Fitness Program Design

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I am a fitness consultant at a local sports club. A sports performer has approached me and asked for advice on improving their fitness levels for the forthcoming season. I have looked at what I will have to do and decided my work will involve planning an effective training programme and recommending suitable methods of fitness training to support and improve their performance. There are four guiding principles, which apply to all fitness training. They are: 1. Specificity 2. Progression 3. Overload 4. Reversibility.

1. Specificity means that the training specific to the sport or activity that you perform in, the type of fitness requirements of that sport and the particular muscle groups that are involved in your performance. For example, footballers and rugby players will do a lot of endurance work in their training along with exercise for specific muscles used in their sport, e.g. footballers- legs, rugby players- upper body work.

2. Overload means that training must be raised to a higher level than normal to create the extra demands to which the body will adapt. This can be done in three ways: Increasing the intensity- by running faster, lifting heavier weights, etc… Increasing the frequency- by training more often, e.g. 1 or 2 times a week to 3 or 4 times a week. Increasing the duration- by training longer and longer to prolong the demands. Both sets of players (rugby and football) will need to use this sort of training a lot because the demands in these two sports are very high and the training during pre-season must be gradually increased because both sports are very demanding.

3. Progression means that as the body adapts to training it progresses to a new level of fitness Three important points about this graph: 1. Most progress is made in the early stages 2. At higher levels of fitness there is less progress 3. A plateau may be reached where further progression to a higher level of fitness is difficult to achieve. 4. Reversibility means that the training effects are reversible. If exercise is reduced in intensity or stopped altogether then the benefit can be quickly lost. Deterioration sets in after about one week. Strength and speed are gradually lost with muscles losing their tone and size. In simpler terms someone that is very well built and fit will turn into someone that is small and weak. It is imperative that both sets of players do not reduce the intensity of their training otherwise, in the most serious of cases the player’s career could be ruined.

The different types of fitness training are: Weight training involves a range of exercises where each one focuses on a specific muscle group in the body. All of these exercises involve the overcoming of a resistance by the use of a machine or free weights. Circuit training involves a series of exercises or activities, with each one taking place t a different station. Each station involves an exercise aimed at a specific muscle group in the body. For example one station will work on the legs, one on the arms, one on the abdominals, etc…

Interval training involves alternating between fixed periods of exercise and fixed periods of rest for recovery. In simpler terms the player does a 25m sprint, a 30 sec rest, a 25m sprint, a 30 sec rest… and so on. Fartlek training is very similar to interval training except that the intensity and the type of exercises are varied through changes in pace, terrain and style. For example the player has to complete a 10 min jog, 100m walk, 50m sprint, 2 min rest, 5 min jog… and so on Continuous training involves long, slow, distance exercise at a constant rate without rest. At first the training should be light and as the heart rate increases the distance involved increases.

The similarities of these training methods are that all of them train both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. I am now going to design a six-week training programme for a football player. Week 1. I will introduce myself and tell the sports performer what we will be doing over the next six weeks. “I will take various training sessions on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, having a rest on Tuesday, Thursday and at the weekends”, ” each training session will start off easy and gradually become harder as the weeks go by”.

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