Type of Exercise

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The last "T" in "FITT" refers to the type of exercise performed. To increase aerobic fitness, exercise should be a low-resistance, high-repetition activity (e.g., biking) that trains the heart and the muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. To choose the best exercises for you, consider the following:

  • Training is exercise specific; what you practice, you perfect. Therefore, to improve your run time, you must run.
  • As a general rule, exercises that involve several muscle groups and are weight bearing will require the greatest amount of Calories and oxygen to perform.
  • Exercises that you enjoy the most are the best exercises for you.
  • Alleviate boredom and decrease your risk for injuries by alternating the types of exercise you perform, i.e., cross-train.
Table 5-2. Examples of Aerobic Exercise




Aerobic Classes

Group setting, variety of levels

Work at your own pace, ask instructor prior to class for any tips.


Low impact, good for cross-training

Bike at 70 rpms, with a slight bend in knee to best work the quadriceps muscles.

Climbing (Stairclimbing)

Weight bearing

Uses major muscles of lower body; weight-bearing (by not leaning arms on machine); Rock climbing strengthens upper body, too.

Cross-country Skiing

Low impact, good for cross-training

Uses most major muscle groups.

Jumping Rope

Can be performed in small quarters

Variety of styles, fast pace mimics running, wear good shoes and avoid cement surface.

Martial Arts

Group setting

Popular; many focus on flexibility, strength, and relaxation.


Low impact

Works most major muscle groups.


Minimal gear required

High impact, alternate with other exercises.

Swimming, water aerobics

No impact, can be a group setting

Uses most major muscle groups; great as primary, cross-training, or rehab. exercise.


Low impact, minimal gear

Uses most major lower body muscle groups; weight-bearing.

Variations of these basic types of exercise include kickboxing, treading, and spinning. Now that you are familiar with the different exercise choices, look over Table 5-3 for descriptions of routines that you can use in your workout. If you are exercising for health and general fitness benefits rather than specific performance-related fitness, alternate the exercises and routines that you perform. For example, try biking for 10 minutes, stairclimbing for 10 minutes, and jogging for 10 minutes. As long as you keep your intensity within your target heart rate zone, add as much variety as you wish. This may help alleviate boredom too!

The benefits of performing routines listed in Table 5-3 that increase your anaerobic capacity include enhanced performance in fast, short duration activities (like sprinting). These types of workouts increase the muscles'

ability to store and generate more energy via the anaerobic energy system. This is beneficial in sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis, and soccer that require several short bursts of speed throughout an entire game.

Table 5-3. Various Training Strategies



Long and Slow

20 to 60 minutes at an easy pace. Use to improve and maintain

health benefits and general fitness (see Figure 4-1).

Steady State

20 to 40 minutes at a pace which barely allows you to talk to

someone; uses anaerobic and aerobic systems. Use to

increase general fitness.

Intervals Ratios of recovery to work; i.e., 3 minutes normal (recovery)

pace, 1 minute sprint (work) pace (3:1); 30 second recovery to 15 second work (2:1), etc.; increases anaerobic and aerobic systems depending on ratios. Use to increase general fitness and performance fitness.

Fartleks Mix normal exercise pace with hard exercise pace in an

(Speed Play) unstructured pattern; increases anaerobic and aerobic systems. Use to increase general fitness and performance fitness.

Time Trial Exercise for predetermined distance at a race pace. Use to establish baseline of performance fitness.

Pyramids Exercise is divided in stages as follows:1 minute (min) hard: 1

min rest, 3 min hard: 2 min rest, 5 min hard: 3 min rest, 7 min hard: 5 min rest, then work back down (5:3, 3:2, 1:1); increases anaerobic and aerobic systems. Use to improve general fitness and performance fitness.

Sprint Maximum exercise effort lasting 5-10 seconds, followed by complete recovery; increases anaerobic system. Use to improve performance fitness.

Acceleration Sprint Jog 100 yards (yds.), then sprint 100 yds., then walk 100 yds.;

repeat this pattern for a given distance or time; increases anaerobic system. Use to improve performance fitness.

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