U.S. Army HOOAH 4 HEALTH Fitness - Toning Exercises
Some of the exercises demonstrated on these pages may be difficult to perform, and if done improperly, may result in injury. To prevent injury, always perform a light warm-up for a minimum of 15 minutes prior to training.
This type of training requires full control during the entire range of motion. If you perform each exercise exactly as demonstrated, you will significantly decrease your risk of injury. Muscle soreness and discomfort are normal symptoms of strength training, and may be delayed as long as 48 hours after training.
You should obtain medical clearance from your physician prior to starting any new exercise routine. This is extremely important if you have been inactive for 6 months, are over the age of 40, or have any previous or existing injuries.
An ideal exercise program consists of three major components.
Muscular Strength and Endurance.
AEROBIC exercise is a sustained, rhythmical activity using all of the major muscle groups of the body. It improves the heart and lungs' ability to function on a daily basis. Aerobic exercise also helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle. Some examples of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming.
MUSCULAR STRENGTH is the maximum force that a muscle produces against resistance in a single, maximal effort or 1RM. From this One Repetition Maximal effort (1RM), a percentage of resistance, or weight, is calculated for the starting weight in a strength training program. Muscular strength may improve in as little as 4 to 6 weeks of consistent training. Strength gains continue to improve after 12 weeks by increasing sets and weight. Maintaining, or increasing muscular strength decreases the rate of age related loss of lean muscle mass. It also decreases the risk of injury and age related diseases such as osteporosis. The exercises in this section are muscular strength exercises.
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE is the capacity of a muscle to exert a force repeatedly against a resistance. The best illustration is running, where the feet repeatedly hit the ground and push off for the next stride. When weight training, performing one set of 15-20 repetitions with a relatively light weight is more of a muscular endurance exercise than a muscular strength exercise. The exercises in this section can also be used to improve muscular endurance.
FLEXIBILITY is the range of motion around a joint. That sounds simple, but this component is often neglected in the most avid exercisers. Flexibility is very important in the prevention of injury in daily activities, as well as during training or athletic event. Overall flexibility declines with age as soft tissue gets thicker and loses elasticity, thereby decreasing mobility and range of motion.
Keep your exercise program balanced by incorporating all of the components of fitness.
Prescription for Training:
1. Begin with 1 set of 12-15 repetitions. The amount of weight should produce noticeable muscle fatigue by the last few repetitions.
2. Master each technique before adding sets or weight. Control the speed of movement with each repetition.
3. Any increase in sets or weight should occur after 4-6 weeks of training.
4. Gradually increase to 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
5. Perform a compound exercise before an isolation exercise.
6. Train 3 times per week, every other day.
7. Rest for a minimum of 2 minutes between sets and exercises.
8. Always finish your workout with a cool down and stretch.
REMEMBER: To either maintain or lose extra body fat, aerobic exercise is essential in the fight against accumulating fat stores. Aerobic exercise is the only form of exercise that burns fat, thus helping to lose fat weight.
Some important facts about fat:
Fat will not turn into muscle, nor muscle into fat.
Fat is only burned through aerobic exercise, not strength training.
Initial weight loss is from losing water weight.
An improper diet, or fasting, will not reduce fat stores. Instead, the body will hold onto the fat to keep functioning!