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The four key areas of exercise

If you already follow an exercise routine or you are about to embark upon a new one to avoid boredom and to maximize benefits you must include the four key elements that come under the term ‘exercise’. Each of which plays a vital and essential role on your health.

Cardiovascular (aerobic) training.

This refers to repetitive movements performed over an extended period of time, such as running, walking, rowing, cycling. Such exercises cause an increase in heart and lung activity. The result is improvement in the whole cardiovascular system which expresses itself as an increase in our fitness, energy levels and the overall health of the body. The key element of aerobic exercise is ensuring your are getting at least slightly out of breath and varying the training programme to ensure you continue getting fitter. Performing aerobic exercise uses up calories and can positively aid fat loss, if done as part of a complete exercise and lifestyle programme.

This exercise type should be limited to 10-20 minutes maximum for the whole session. I personally do not like to take clients over 10 minutes aerobic training, e.g. we do a 10 minute interval jogging session then no more aerobic training that day.

Resistance training.

It can be described as performing a movement between 1 – 15 repetitions, so that fatigue is induced. These exercises can use body weight e.g. press-ups, squats, dumbbells and weights machines. The benefit of such training is improved muscle tone in women, increased muscle size in men and positive effects on bone density. An unpublicized benefit is its long term effect on increasing your metabolic rate (the number of calories burnt per day). This corresponds to the amount of muscle tone you have. Through effective resistance training we can also improve our functionality allowing us to stay active whatever age we are.

RT is about making the muscles work and this is done by making them lift a heavy weight (heavy relative to your muscles) until you feel you cannot do anymore with losing form. The majority of women simply stop at 15 because they are at 15 and nothing to do with feel of the muscles. Increase the weight used until fatigue is reach by 15 reps .

Flexibility training.

This refers to the different types of stretching and is a key element in both preventing and rehabilitation after injury. It also plays an important role in creating good health by removing toxins from the body. When you are flexible you are much more likely to want to be active. Staying injury free not only makes you more functional, but also allows you to be more productive when exercising. Flexibility comprises static stretching, the traditional holding movements as seen in yoga, when cooling down etc and active flexibility, which is controlled movements to loosen up the body and increase muscle length.

The key to flexibility is stretching the muscles that are tight and not just any muscle. Most people stretch the hamstrings all day and night yet do not pay attention to other tighter muscles. In general, focusing on developing your overhead squat will be a good place to start flexibility wise.

Core training.

This is the strengthening of the muscles that support the spine. A type of resistance training, it is classified on it’s own due to its importance to your overall health. A strong core is the basis of strength within the body. It allows optimal movement patterns to be used which prevents injury and promotes well-being. It is essential to ensure that the core muscles are both working correctly and then ensuring they are strong. Learn how to activate the core here.

To optimize your health you need to be doing all of these exercise types every week. It does not require vast amounts of time, nor much in the way of equipment. Ask yourself how your exercise routine is set out at the moment.

These foundational principles are covered in my on line body transformation programme, my Personal training London (Clapham) and the 10 Minute Diet

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