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General Fitness In Circuit Training Physical Education Essay

My chosen pursued activity is general fitness which is health-related;specifically circuit training.In pursuing such activity I may improve both my strength and cardiovascular fitness.Circuit training is essentially structured exercise.Aerobic fitness,strength and flexibility are all improved pursuing circuit training.Incorporated into such an exercise structure are fixed weights/machine ‘stations’ which isolate specific muscle groups.A complete exercise set is achieved within a given period of time,usually 20 minutes.An uninterrupted flow of activity from machine to machine may enable proper gain of aerobic benefit.The heart is pumping at a steady high level.

Every gym session will consist of a warm-up with mobility exercises;ending with the cool-down.Each exercise ‘station’ exercises a different muscle group from the last.The whole session should last one hour.(Pollock et al.,1998) Circuit training should not occur on consecutive days,two or three visits to the gym per week being sufficient.Selection of correct weights,repetitions and positions is necessary to minimise occurrence of injury and to achieve desired fitness objectives.

Aerobic endurance is exercised by completing a circuit as quickly as possible.Significant gains may occur for strength,muscular endurance and flexibility.Physical fitness consists of ‘components’.These are aerobic endurance,strength,speed,flexibility,muscular endurance,power and agility.Training programmes may be customized to improve on a

selection of these.The most important aspects applicable to circuit training are aerobic endurance;muscular endurance,and flexibility.

When the body performs for a prolonged period of time with a low work rate aerobic endurance comes to the fore;such a training will condition the heart and lungs to function more efficiently.Choosing a work-out on the rowing machine for some 20 minutes as an example;this cardiovascular ergometer is very effective in establishing a proper base of muscular endurance that initiates improvement in other components of fitness.

Muscular endurance is a function of aerobic endurance without whose supply of oxygen it could not rapidly perform.It is defined as a single muscle or group performing recurrently against variable resistance.For example dumbbell(DB) lunges or shoulder press with a barbell(BB).Body

resistance circuit training that includes both free and fixed weights is well suited to improve muscular endurance.

Usually overlooked is flexibility,the range of motion(ROM) at a joint or series of joints.This component however is vital in the prevention of inadvertent injury.It is sufficient to perform the warm up including mobility exercises(developing a full range of movement[ROM]) and cool down stretches;all being required for a main session of gym activity.

My gym circuit therefore is comprised of a warm-up lasting 5 minutes on a suitable cardiovascular machine eg the treadmill, that simulates a

walking gait exercise aerobically.This is followed by the set of mobility exercises(not stretches) to loosen my joints and produce more synovial fluid;gently and rhythmically exercising.This is still aerobic.There follows a set of stretches to prepare the main muscle groups of the body for an imminent main activity session.These too are aerobic;not as intense yet steady,controlled,positioned for some ten seconds.

The main cardiovascular machine chosen for a full work-out of at least twenty minutes is the rowing machine,which exercises all main muscle groups with the heart as target muscle. A customized programme working the rower will produce an aerobic curve with a rising and falling RPE[rate of perceived exertion 0-10 on the Borg Scale](Gunnar Borg(1973) validated by(Kang et al.2003)also (Steed,Gaesser,and Weltman 1994) Aerobic contribution is present in the Cool down using a different cardiovascular machine followed by stretches including some that are developmental;included to improve flexibility in the bigger muscles eg the hamstrings(ACSM,2006)

As I want to improve my strength and endurance it is important that I obtain profile data from the apparatus and exercises outlined above so that I can clearly see whether I am making any improvements from when I began.

The Principles of Training should be applicable to every exercise and sporting category.Individuals and teams then have specific objectives and goals to aim for in their training schedules.Else, all would be

blindfolded resulting in overtraining,burn out and poor performance results.

Demands on the body higher than the norm comprise what is known as Overload that in turn has related factors of intensity(how hard);duration(how long);type(sport/activity);frequency(how often).

Frequency is self-explanatory,often resulting in a higher level of performance. As workload steps up so does intensity.Heavier weights,longer stretches.Such results take time.Overload may be achieved with a higher number of repetitions or performing the same with reduced time-spans.

The body is a natural adapter to overloading,so training should be progressive to prompt a response.When this occurs improvement is tangible especially at the beginning.As sets increase muscle strength and endurance increase. It is important not to be too slow in progression. Biceps curls for example.If working with 10 lb weights taking it to 3-4 sets at 15 reps before muscle fatigue is experienced then it is better to do 2 sets of 15 lb weights.

Specificity of a chosen,pursued activity needs to be understood.What am I training for? This is very important and relevant for strength training.Exercise has to be specific for each muscle group and strength type required.Balance has also to be included and therefore other exercises of a general nature such as the squat provide an excellent base for development of specific exercise.Training must be specific

which means that it should concentrate on the particular needs of the individual within the training programme.(Sharkey and Greatzer 1993)For example,lifting weights will increase muscular strength but will have little effect on the aerobic capacity of the individual. Although training should be specific to a sport this does not mean that training for sport will have little effect on another.Transfer of training can take place where the sport or parts of a sport have a great deal of similar elements of fitness are common to many sports.

The opposite of Progression is Reversibility.Training and performance when falling off will signal to the body for an appropriate response.Aerobic capacity diminishes rapidly with no exercise(Coyle,Hemmert,and Coggan 1986) also (Saltin et al.,1968) Muscular endurance with muscles no longer used falls away three times more rapidly than when gained.Performance of skills may be affected through physical deterioration(Greenleaf et al.1976)

A number of training methods exist designed for the different fitness components.Circuit training may be viewed as interval training containing high-intensity anaerobic periods with weights and low-intensity aerobic periods of recovery.This training method is able to improve specific areas of the body for muscular endurance.A circuit improves both aerobic fitness and strength thereby providing for much needed conditioning.Aerobic training also involves continuous/steady state training(McArdle et al.,2006)Other methods consist of interval(McArdie et al.,2006) and fartlek training.Flexibility training

incorporates both passive and active,static stretching;dynamic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation(PNF) stretching.

Suitable to my requirements is a muscular endurance circuit.This will enable me to withstand fatigue,hold to a given position,and to perform repeated muscular contractions for a given period of time.Selection of appropriate exercises needs a central focus of balanced muscle groups.Improvement of cardiovascular exercise and muscular endurance exercise may be achieved by alternating them within a circuit programme.The back squat for instance utilises many muscle groups,that work simultaneously.A main cardiovascular work-out,for example, requires at least 20 minutes on the rower, being correctly positioned within the circuit.The remaining floor-based stretches are performed at the end of the gym session.This saves the heart rate from decreasing too much.

Progression and overload are important to consider when a circuit training programme is being planned. The principle of overload indicates “your body systems must be stressed beyond their normal levels of activity if they are to improve.”(Williams 1993:18).Progression can be maintained simply by increasing the number of repetitions per exercise; reducing the recovery period(secs) between each set of exercises;increasing the resistance of the exercises by weight .

Stimulation is applied using the principles of overload and progression during circuit training so that adaptation may occur. Overload is delivered by adjusting one or more of the FITT principles.Frequency(how often);Intensity(how hard);Time(how long);Type(suiting sport/activity).

Principles are usually installed in most matters and physical activity is no exception. The principles of training are the rules to follow when using physical activity programmes.Sound and useful training takes into consideration all of the principles and their effects on the body;being essential to the planning of the training programme so that the participant is able to improve their fitness level. Fitness levels vary from person to person so the training needs be systematic taking into account individual needs ; variables of difficulty or intensity are set at the personal level.

An example from the free weights exercises for progression/adaptation is the Biceps Curl with barbell(BB).Apart from applying a progressively greater weight performance may be effected through different ranges of motion i.e. halfway up and down.All the way up and halfway down;up again and all the way down;all the way up and down.An example of an adaptation for a fixed weight machine is substituting the seated row for the lateral pull down.Again the seated cable row may be substituted by the single arm row with a dumbbell(DB).Or the Triceps pull down (cable) by selection of a Triceps extension with butterfly grip(DB).

It may be necessary to increase aerobic fitness and if so, use of one of the cardio-vascular machines is ideal. The rowing machine for example,is an excellent piece of equipment for a good all over

workout,impact- free; protecting joints while improving flexibility Using this machine you will work out your heart,lungs,circulatory system and at the same time shape and tone your legs,back,shoulders,buttocks,arms and stomach.

If aerobic fitness needs to be increased interval training is very effective when inserted into circuit training.Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work.This high intensity work is alternated with periods of rest or low activity,intervals.[ see Appendix] The term can refer to any cardiovascular workout,for example,rowing,that involves brief bouts at near-maximum exertion interspersed with periods of lower-intensity activity.Interval training improves the exerciser’s aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying intensities.This method of training may be more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration.

With no correction or improvement reversibility occurs.Having ceased training the body loses its conditioning and strength and also endurance.This is relevant to myself as I am pursuing a cardiovascular, strength and endurance programme.A study has been made of cessation of physical activity;in this case an Olympic rower.It was 20 weeks before he was able to resume his activity following an eight week convalescence. ‘The detraining and retraining of an elite rower:a case study’.J Sci Med Sport 2005;8;3:314-320. It is recommended there should be no more than three weeks interval since last specific activity.

A state of complete fitness involvesthemental,emotional,nutritional,social and medical,not only the physical. How we enjoy life;attention towards any diet at all;how we deal with stress;our emotional world;communicative ability;requirements for relaxation and also of course physical fitness.Circuit training is one of a number of ways to improve components towards a state of complete fitness.

Word count 1,783

References:

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BIBLIOGRAPHY:

The Open University(2008) E112 Introduction to sport,fitness and management Study Guide Study Topic 4 Training for health,fitness and sport Caroline Heaney

Sharkey,B.J.and Gaskill,S.E. (2007) Fitness & Health (6th edn),Leeds,Human Kinetics(Course Book)

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