Training Design and Progression

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Now you are ready to design your aerobic workout! When designing a cardiovascular routine there are a few questions you must answer. These are:


What are your goals?

Are you interested in health, general fitness, or performance benefits? Get more specific as you become more involved with your workout.


What do you enjoy?

Do you prefer team or solitary activities? List at least three activities that you enjoy doing.


What are your time limits?

Be realistic about the time you can devote to these activities.

  1. What gear do you need? Plan to get the gear you need to participate in these activities.
  2. What gear do you need? Plan to get the gear you need to participate in these activities.

You want to tailor your program to realistically meet your goals and time demands, so answer the questions honestly. (See Chapter 17 for more information on setting goals.) If you have been sedentary, begin by increasing your physical activity by performing more daily activities, found in Level 1 of the Physical Activity Pyramid (Figure 4-2). Once you can easily perform these activities, add 5-10 minutes of Level 2 activities two to four days per week. Gradually increase the duration of the Level 2 activities by 10% per week until you can perform 20 to 60 minutes continuously. Your training intensity during these exercise sessions should be between 65% and 70% of your max HR (see Worksheet 5-1).

If you can already perform 30+ minutes of Level 2 activities and wish to maintain or increase your aerobic capacity, exercise between 65% and 80% max HR for 30 to 60 minutes three to four days per week. If you are interested in performance fitness benefits and are in excellent aerobic condition, consider adding 15-30 minutes of high-intensity (80% to 90% max HR) activities per week in addition to your aerobic training. This will increase your anaerobic energy system and increase your ability to sprint and recover more rapidly during sports such as basketball and soccer. For sport specific performance, some of your training sessions should mimic movements you perform during the sport.

The golden rules of training progression are:

  • Increase only one FITT component, i.e., frequency, intensity, time, or type, at a time.
  • Increase your training by no more than 10% per week. Allow yourself time to adjust to this new routine before you increase your workout again. Increasing too fast will lead to injury and overtraining (see Chapter 13).
  • Signs of overexertion include pain in your chest, breathlessness or gasping for breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you have any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately!

Based on your answers to the questions above and your current fitness level, set up a weekly routine with moderate to hard workout days and rest days. You will add a strength training workout to this schedule in Chapter 7.



In this chapter you will learn to:

  • Design a walking program.
  • Design a running program.
  • Design a swimming program.

Walking, running, and swimming all provide excellent aerobic workouts. These three types of exercise will be discussed in this chapter for two reasons: 1) walking and running are the most common types of exercise that people engage in, and 2) all three modes of exercise can be used to test your level of physical fitness on the Navy PRT tests.

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