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GCSE Revision - Training Methods

Training can be in the form of weight training or cardiovascular training, although there is some overlap between the two.

Weight Training

Most people take part in weight training in order to increase their strength. Other reasons include improving muscle tone or muscle size.

Most forms of weight training are:

Isotonic training

Isotonic training means the muscles contract and shorten to produce movement. Examples include a push-up or squat

  • Advantages - Strengthens the muscle throughout the range of motion
  • Can be adapted easily to suit different sports

  • Disadvantages - Muscle soreness after exercise because of the high stress levels
  • Muscles gain the most strength when they're at their weakest point of action

Isometric training

Isometric training means muscles contract but there is no movement at the muscle or joint. For example the wall sit exercise (stand with your back to a wall and bend the knees into a squat position and hold).

  • Advantages - Develops static strength
  • Inexpensive and easy to perform nearly anywhere as little equipment is required

  • Disadvantages - Muscles gain most strength at the angle used in exercise
  • Avoid if you have heart problems as they cause a rise in blood pressure due to a drop in blood flow to the muscle during this contraction.

Endurance Training

The following types of exercise are good for improving your cardiovascular endurance:

Continuous training

This type of exercise is, as the name suggests, continuous! Rests are not allowed. To achieve this you must exercise at a constant rate which is within your aerobic training zone (60-80% max heart rate). Continuous training should last for bouts of at least 20 minutes (when starting) up to 2 hours or more! (think of a marathon!)

  • Advantages - Needs only a small amount of easy to use, accessible equipment, if any
  • Good for aerobic fitness
  • Good for losing weight

  • Disadvantages - can be boring
  • Doesn't improve anaerobic fitness so isn't as good for team games like football or hockey which involve short bursts of speed

Interval training

Intervals are periods of exercising hard, with rest or low intensity periods inbetween. For example you may run 100 meters at 85% and then 200 at 50% to recover. This is one rep. You may perform this 5-10 times, which would complete the set.

  • Advantages - Can mix aerobic and anaerobic exercise which replicates team games
  • It makes it easier for a coach to see when the athlete isn't trying

  • Disadvantages - It can be hard to keep going when you start to fatigue
  • Can become boring

Fartlek training

Fartlek involves training at a continuous exercise, but varying the intensity and type of exercise. For example, a running session could include sprinting for 10 seconds, fast walking for 20 seconds, jogging for 1 minute and repeating this. You can also add in things like running uphill or on sand.

  • Advantages - Good for sports which require changes in pace
  • Easily adapted to suit the individuals level of fitness and sport

  • Disadvantages - Too easy to skip the hard bits
  • Can be difficult to see how hard someone is trying!

Circuit training

Circuits can be used to increase either strength, aerobic fitness or both! There are usually between 8 and 15 stations and at each one you do a different exercise for 1 minute. At the end you then move on to the next station. Rest can be incorporated depending on the level of the participants.

  • Advantages - Less boring because it changes all the time
  • Can be easily adapted for strength or endurance or different sports etc

  • Disadvantages - Takes a while to set up
  • Takes a lot of equipment

Speed training

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