1. Continuous Training
This application of cardiorespiratory training focuses on maintaining an established intensity level continuously for a predetermined length of time. The variables (FITT principles) generally remain unchanged throughout the duration of the activity.
- Able to establish high levels of duration
- Establishes adaptations which allow for long duration, low intensity activity
- Adaptations are specific to training intensities
- Clients struggle to perform higher intensity activities
- Extremely monotonous and clients might find this boring
This type of training is most effective with clients who are unaccustomed to physical activity, and need to train at lower intensities. It is also utilised for clients who require a high level of endurance over a long duration where intensities do not vary much, I.e. marathon runners. This type of training can be more enjoyable by varying the mode of exercise during a single exercise set, I.e. 30 minutes of continuous training split into 10 minute sessions on the treadmill, rower and cycle without any rest in between. Progression will occur once the predetermined duration has been reached, after which intensity can increase to allow for continuous adaptation. Duration may need to decrease initially as a change in intensity is introduced, however, duration should increase as client adapts to new intensity. Resting heart rate and RPE can be used as indicators for progression.
2. Fartlek Training
Fartlek training was developed in Sweden and is translated as “speed play”. In this training mode, the client is encouraged to vary intensity throughout the session, adding higher intensity bursts at random intervals during a continuous training session. It is also recommended that multiple surfaces are utilised, I.e. running cross-country where the client runs on grass, gravel, sand and tar surfaces at random intervals.
- Able to reduce monotony of cardiorespiratory training
- Constant change in surfaces reduces risk of repetitive strain injuries
- Able to perform at higher intensity training levels
- No control over precise training adaptations as client may not sustain high enough intensities throughout session
- Variety of training surfaces is not always available or practical
This type of training is best implemented to add a new dimension to a continuous training program. It will break the monotony of the continuous training regime and provide the client with something different and fun. Due to the inconsistent nature of the activity, it is recommended that it is not utilised as a daily training program. Longer duration sessions can be encouraged as the client will most likely derive greater enjoyment from the session. It can also be utilised as a method of implementing an intensity increase in a program due to the varied, interval-type nature of the session.
3. Tempo Training
The application of a tempo workout is where the intensity of the workout is raised to an intensity slightly above that which is usually implemented in the training program. This requires the client to raise the intensity of the session throughout the duration of the session. The increase in intensity must be relatively small (5-10 bpm or 1 level on the RPE scale increase).
- Able to increase intensity over a predetermined duration
- Enables client to raise their intensity when required to in a race or competition
- Enables adaptation and therefore progression
- Not suitable for poorly conditioned clients
- High risk of injury if correct programming principles are not applied before and after the session in order to allow sufficient recovery
Like Fartlek training, this type of training is best applied as isolated sessions in between a continuous training program. This training will have the role of allowing a progression in intensity, or may be used to break up the monotony of training. It is advised that a 24-48 hour period of rest is implemented after the session to allow for sufficient adaptation and recovery to occur.
4. Interval Training
The highest intensity form of cardiorespiratory training, this mode of training is used to continually challenge the client’s intensity levels, and ensure that adaptations in intensity consistently occur throughout the training program, and that the client never reaches a plateau or stagnates. This training involves designing a program of varying intervals of intensity. The program will usually involve periods of high intensity immediately followed by periods of lower intensity. The high intensity intervals allow for increased intensity levels to be achieved over shorter duration periods, while the low intensity intervals allow for physiological recovery and allow the client to begin the next high intensity interval will renewed energy.
- Able to sustain higher intensity levels over a longer total session duration than what would normally be achievable in a continuous session.
- Able to challenge the clients perceived endurance and fatigue levels or markers.
- Does require a 24-48 hrs rest period in between sessions
- High risk of injury if client is inactive or poorly conditioned.
This type of training is best implemented in conjunction with a continuous training program, especially if Fartlek or Tempo sessions are not implemented. It is best implemented in training cycles leading up to progressions in intensity, I.e. 2 interval sessions per week for 2 weeks, incorporating a 20- 30 minutes session of 2 minutes high intensity intervals followed by 1 minute recovery intervals. this mode of training is very effective in eliciting progressions in training intensity. It is best to not implement an interval training cycle for longer than a 6 week period, as this will increase the risk for over training and injury. A rest week of lower intensity training is recommended in between interval training cycles. This type of training is best suited to higher intensity fitness requirements.
5. Circuit Training
This training mode utilises resistance training in a continuous training session, and applies minimal rest in between resistance exercises. The exercises in a circuit are not limited to resistance style exercises, and may include cardiorespiratory modes in between exercises. A circuit must continue for a minimum of 20 minutes without significant rest in order to achieve cardiorespiratory adaptations.
- Able to achieve similar adaptations in cardiorespiratory conditioning without performing continuous cardiorespiratory-style training sessions
- Able to achieve high post-exercise metabolic rate than previously mentioned cardiorespiratory training techniques
- Not suitable for inactive clients or clients not familiar with resistance training techniques
- High risk of injury while performing exercise due to low rest intervals and high tempo on repetitions
This type of training can be incorporated in conjunction with other cardiorespiratory modes to improve the rate of cardiorespiratory adaptations. It can also be used for clients who are not able to spend the large duration of time achieving cardiorespiratory adaptations using continuous training. The adaptations are specific to the exercises performed in the circuit, therefore, this mode of training cannot be used as the only mode of training for clients who require specific long duration, low intensity adaptations, E.g. marathon runners and cyclist. It can however be used to complement continuous training in this situation.
Of all of these training modes, one is not superior to the other. Rather, each one can be applied to a specific scenario for a prescribed period of time in order to achieve a specific goal.
A trainer must understand the needs to the client, evaluate their conditioning status at a specific time, and then prescribe the best method of training for that specific period.