Jackie Wright " What is periodized training? (Second in a three-part series)
Owner/manager, Neversummer Fitness
Grand County, Colorado
Last week we highlighted periodizing your exercise program as it relates to the frequency of cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength training programs. This week we will focus upon the intensity of exercise and how to periodically modify the intensity of your cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength training programs. As always, consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Cardiovascular Endurance Training Programs ” Cycling, running, hiking, Nordic skiing, skating, swimming, walking, cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, etc.
– If you currently perform your cardiovascular endurance exercise program at a steady state intensity level, consider modifying your level of intensity by incorporating anaerobic interval training. Steady state training usually refers to your oxygen supply meeting your oxygen demands. Anaerobic interval training usually refers to crossing your anaerobic threshold (that point when you become breathless) increasing the intensity, challenging your cardiovascular endurance system, increasing your caloric expenditure and elevating the level at which you reach and cross your anaerobic threshold.
– If you are performing your steady state cardiovascular endurance exercise program four to five times per week, begin by adding two or three sprint intervals into each steady state workout. For example, if you are cycling/running/walking for 45 minutes, cycle/run/walk for four minutes and then add a one minute sprint. Repeat the four-to-one ratio two to three times during the 45 minutes. As you become more proficient at this process, add more sprint intervals with the same ratio. Once you master that, try a three-to-one ratio eventually reaching the point when you can cycle/run/walk for one minute and sprint for one minute.
– When performing sprint intervals, cycle/run/walk as fast as you safely can, until you become breathless, then actively recover during the recovery interval (i.e. catch your breath). Make certain you have recovered enough prior to sprinting again, so that you can perform the same exertion at a similar or improved intensity and quality level. If not, take longer recovery intervals between sprint intervals.
Muscular Strength Training Programs ” Training with body weight as well as external forms of resistance such as free weights, selectorized and plate loaded equipment and various other types of resistance equipment such as resistive tubing, kettlebells, and medicine balls.
– If you currently perform your muscular strength training exercise program with the same weight increment or other external resistance equipment, attempt to modify your program to include higher levels of intensity.
– One way to increase intensity is to increase the weight increment. This is very effectively achieved when using descending sets rather than straight sets. For example, if you are performing tricep kickbacks and always use an 8-pound dumbbell for three sets of 8-12 repetitions, try to perform 12 repetitions with the 8-pound dumbbell, 10 repetitions with a 9-pound dumbbell and 8 repetitions with a 10-pound dumbbell. Your goal, if you can successfully and safely perform this sequence, is to eventually be able to perform 12 repetitions with the 10-pound dumbbell.
Next week, we will discuss how periodically changing the exercise time and type of exercises you perform will spice up your workouts.
” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address: NSFGL@comcast.net; her Web site:
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