5 types of physical training
No one type of physical training provides everything your body needs.
For example, strength training builds muscles, but aerobic exercise is essential for improving your cardiovascular health and endurance. Ultimately, the best workout routine is the most complete.
“Whether your goal is weight loss, functional movement, or strength building, it’s important to incorporate all forms of exercise,” explains Brianna Bernard, CPT, certified trainer, nutrition coach and Isopure athlete.
Don’t know what’s out there besides strength and aerobic exercise? Read on to learn more about the five must-have workouts you need in your exercise routine.
Muscle building matters. In fact, your strength and muscle health are the biggest factors in longevity, according to a July 2020 research inBMJ.
This is because doing activities that strengthen and develop lean, active muscle can help reduce the risk of chronic disease, improve mobility and function, and protect brain health.
For some people, strength training is as easy as lifting their kids or going up the stairs. For others, it’s about tire flips and mountain climbs.
That said, whatever your strength and muscle goals are, there are several ways you can achieve them.
Any activity in which you stand against gravity (for example: standing up during movement) is a weight-bearing exercise. While some of the more popular weight-bearing activities are paired with aerobic exercise (we’ll talk about that later), they also include many of the best strength moves.
Climbing stairs, jumping rope and hiking, for example, strain your core and sweat, but they also strengthen the muscles in the lower body, including the quads, glutes and hamstrings, which help you to maintain balance.
Meanwhile, traditional strength movements, using gymnastic equipment or just your own body weight, are also considered weight-bearing exercises.
- Cross-country skiing
- Standing yoga poses
- Bodyweight squats
- Standing bicep curl
Exercise without weight-bearing
Not all great strength exercises involve lifting weights. Non-weight bearing exercises usually involve sitting, lying down, or using weight machines.
These types of exercises put less stress on the joints and can be helpful for anyone with joint problems and mobility restrictions. Weight machines, while they can be useful for training and injury rehabilitation, are particularly useful in helping athletes isolate specific muscles.
Here are examples of exercises without weight-bearing:
- Leg presses
- Seated rows
- Leg extensions
- Seated bicep curl
- Hamstring curls
Whenever you use your own weight for resistance, you are doing Swedish gymnastics. Think push-ups, squats, and mountaineers. One of the biggest advantages of Swedish gymnastics is its convenience. You can do them anywhere without any fancy equipment.
They are ideal for beginners because they help you learn movement patterns and build the functional strength needed to switch to using weights.
In a 2017 study inIsokinetics and exercise science, Exercise beginners significantly improved their overall strength after just eight weeks of Swedish gymnastics training.
But seasoned weightlifters can also benefit from bodyweight exercises, incorporating more difficult variations into their routines or returning to basics to warm up before heavier lifts.
Here are some examples of calisthenic exercises:
Lifting weights is the ultimate muscle building exercise.
From tricep rebounds with 5-pound dumbbells to Olympic lifts with 500 pounds on a barbell, strength training is different for everyone. The type of weight lifting you do depends on your goals.
Once you get comfortable with the bodyweight exercises, you can add the load and do the loaded exercises.
Dumbbell and barbell exercises aren’t the only options. You can use exercise machines, resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, and many other weight lifting equipment.
Common weight lifting exercises include:
Any activity that you do for more than a few minutes at a time is aerobic training.
When you do this type of exercise, your body uses your aerobic energy system for power. And, because this metabolic system uses oxygen to help create energy, your breathing rate increases, explains Bernard.
Some popular types of aerobic exercise include:
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it regularly. The Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.
Alternatively, you can do at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. When doing high-intensity exercise, alternate periods of work and rest. For example, sprint for 30 seconds and recover from jogging for a minute; then repeat.
A higher heart rate in these intervals can help you reap more benefit than possible with the same amount of steady-state aerobic activity, according to a 2015 study in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. You can do intervals on the treadmill, track or bike, and in the pool or on the jump rope.
3. Balance and stability training
Actively working to maintain and improve your balance and stability is extremely important, especially as you age. Improving your balance can help you avoid falls and stay active and independent, depending on the American Council on Exercise (AS).
Dynamic balance work is a type of physical training that tests your ability to stand on one or two legs while moving other parts of your body, depending on your ability. AS. It requires greater awareness and control of your body, while maintaining a certain position or performing a specific movement.
The good news is that many of the activities you do to build strength will also improve your balance. Balance is in part a matter of developing your little stabilizing muscles that support you and keep you stable.
Here are some common balance and stability exercises to try:
4. Training in coordination and agility
Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily, but this type of physical training is not just for athletes. It also helps prevent falls and injuries by improving your reflexes, coordination and concentration, depending on the AS.
In everyday life, it’s being able to dodge an object before tripping over it or stepping aside when your gym mate almost drops a weight on your foot.
Agility training can be a complete workout on its own which also builds endurance and strength. Or you can add some agility exercises to your strength and cardio workouts.
Here are some examples of effective coordination and agility exercises:
- Fast feet
- Side steps
- High knees
- Lateral crossings
5. Flexibility and Mobility training
One of the most important types of physical training is probably flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is the ability of your muscles to stretch. Mobility is being able to move your joints and tissues through their full range of motion, depending on the American College of Sports Medicine.
Both are important for athletic performance and for preventing injury. Muscles and joints that are flexible and mobile – as well as strong – are much less susceptible to sprains and other injuries.
Regularly working on flexibility and mobility will also help you age better. You will be able to move more freely, do more of your favorite activities without pain or injury, and you will be able to stay independent for longer.
Stretching and working on range of motion before and after each workout is crucial as part of your warm-up and cool-down. On days when you aren’t strength training or aerobic exercise, try to devote more time to mobility and flexibility. Doing 30 minutes to an hour of these exercises is a great way to practice active recovery.
Gentle, dynamic exercises are ideal for warming up your joints and muscles before exercise. They also often increase your heart rate, which means you can combine them to create a light aerobic workout.
Some examples of dynamic stretching and mobility exercises:
After your workout, perform static stretches, holding each stretch for 30 seconds or more. Static stretching helps relieve muscle tension. Post-workout stretching can help you recover faster and can also slightly reduce the pain that can occur for a few days after a hard workout.
Here are some examples of static stretches: