Fitness training methods determine the effectiveness and intensity of our workout. And we have quite a range of exercise techniques we can choose from. Among the different fitness levels and other factors, like age, health status, etc. certain methods are more suitable than others for the respective athlete. The article training intensity already explains the most important fitness training methods and factors, that have an impact on the effectiveness of our workout. This article will add more variety options to your list of training adjustments by modifying the number and combinations of sets.
Fitness training methods – scope
The question of the scope of the training load often wants to clarify if a one-set or a more-set training is appropriate. Or in other words: “How many sets are optimal?” This question is important for most sportsmen and -women, especially in the areas of health, fitness, prevention, and rehabilitation. But there is no comprehensive answer. Each person brings a different set of conditions that need to be treated individually.
Common fitness training methods work with either one or three sets of a respective exercise. According to Buskies W./Boeckh-Behrens W. (2014) especially for beginners in their first two training months there is almost no difference in terms of workout results between a one-set or a three-set training. Also the application of either hard or soft training methods or even body building techniques didn’t have relevant impacts on the test results.
With the time the three-set training outperforms the one-set training. But not as significant as you would imagine. With a one-set training that is performed two to three times a week we are able to achieve very good results in terms of muscle growth and strengthening. A one-set training especially is recommendable for beginners, athletes that want to maintain their performance level or achieve noticeable results with just little time exposure. More-set training applies for athletes that want to improve their performance and strength optimally, people who have fun to work out more than one set, and people who would like to burn more body fat by working out on a larger scope.
Fitness training methods – set variation
Basically, if we want to make progress within our fitness training we continuously have to adapt the weights or resistance to our current level. This method refers to the progressive loading and overload principle. Another important method is the variation or muscle confusion principle. Every two to three months it is recommended to amend the training program in order to prevent our muscles from getting used to the load, what slows down the progress. This variation can be achieved via different exercises, positioning, motion paces, intensities, and numbers and combinations of repetitions and sets.
We have different fitness training methods that vary the set. Within super sets we perform one set of exercises for the agonist and one set of exercises for the antagonist without a break in between. This method increases the blood circulation in the trained area (pumping up or flushing). It can also be extended to double super sets. Here, we add another super set right after the first one without break. Again we work out one set for each, the agonist and antagonist, but can choose different exercises for that to stress other parts of the muscles.
To further intensify this fitness training method we could work out compound sets, tri sets, or giant sets. Compound sets represent super sets for just one muscle group. Here, we perform two different sets of exercises for the same muscle without rest in between. In tri sets we work out three sets of different exercises for the same muscle in a row without break and in giant sets we could work out four to six sets accordingly.
Fitness training methods – add more variety
As a method against the monotony within your fitness training you could interrupt your sets. Beyond your training schedule you would then add different exercises for other muscle groups than the ones you are already working out. Very common are sets for the abdominal muscles between your regular sets.
Many complex exercises bear the problem that the exhaustion of smaller involved muscles groups much faster kicks in than the actual main muscle, that we intend to work out. This, for instance is the case with the deltoid and the triceps when we train bench press, or with the biceps when we work out pull-ups. Here, we could go with the pre-exhaustion-principle and work out an exercise isolated for the intended muscle. Right after we perform the complex exercise. In this way we are able to nearly maximally strain the main muscle within the respective complex exercise.
To lay a larger focus on a certain muscle group within your fitness training you could go with the eclectic method. Here, you work out several sets of different exercises with regular breaks for just one muscle group. It is recommended to start with an intense exercise and choose lower intensities as the training session proceeds.
Fitness training methods – intensify and optimize
In accordance to the method of prioritizing important muscle groups should be worked out in the beginning of your fitness training as long as the organism is fresh and our motivation and concentration are on a high level. Starting out with our weaknesses or certain muscles we would like to focus on are common examples.
Experienced athletes also work with their feelings and instinct. They are sensitive to the signals of their bodies what allows them to modify their schedule as they work out. These modifications could affect the order of exercises, the intensity level, etc.
To keep up the muscle tone between the individual sets you can isometrically contract the trained muscles in your breaks. This contraction could be held for around 10 seconds and practised throughout the entire training session or just occasionally.
Fitness training methods – split principle
A common fitness training method is the split principle. Athletes that work out more than three times a week could split their body into two or three parts. On each training day the focus would be laid on a different part that allows us to intensify the workout for that particular portion and perform more individual sets and exercises for those muscles. Here, we could either single (for at least 4 training days per week) or double split (for at least 6 training days a week).
It makes sense to combine muscle groups with similar functions. For double splitting one group then would consist of the chest, triceps, and the front and middle part of the deltoid. The second group would combine the latissimus, upper back, biceps, and the back part of the deltoid. The third group is then represented by the legs, buttocks, and the lower back. For single splitting we merge the first two groups, since they mostly represent agonists and antagonists. The third group stays the same. The abdominal muscles can be added to any group.
We have a wide range of fitness training methods we can choose from. It is important to keep up the variety to prevent our muscles from stagnating on a certain performance level. And it doesn’t necessarily always have to be the most intense training method to reach decent results. With a soft fitness training we are able to achieve significant results. It is recommendable to not exaggerate and rather go with a health-oriented fitness approach. How often should you exercise?
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