There are different categories or types of physical fitness training. Each corresponds to a defined purpose or fitness goal such as the development and improvement of one or more of the five dimensions of physical fitness, or for participation in a particular type of sports and rehabilitation, among others. These different types of training also correspond to the different categories or types of exercises.
The Five Types of Physical Fitness Training
1. Strength Training
Strength training is one of the five types of physical fitness training that revolve around building muscle mass and bone density, as well as improving the strength and endurance of muscles by inducing muscle contraction through the use of resistance. It also enhances the functions of the joints and develops the sturdiness of tendons and ligament, thus reducing the risk of injuries from physical activities.
Because this type of physical fitness training builds and increases muscle mass, it also improves muscle tone, body composition, and outward physical appearance. Better muscle mass promotes long-term fat loss and weight maintenance because bigger muscles improve metabolism and expend more energy at rest.
Resistance training is another term used in place of strength training. Some examples of strength training include bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and stomach crunches, and weightlifting using dumbbells and barbells, among others.
Note that strength training is also fundamentally a type of anaerobic activity. However, fitness experts have introduced a modified strength training regimen called circuit training that involves a series or circuit of resistance-dependent anaerobic exercises to collectively constitute a high-intensity aerobic activity.
2. Agility Training
Agility training is aimed at developing and improving the ability of a person to effortlessly change the position of his or her body or move parts of his or her body swiftly without losing movement precision, coordination, and balance.
This training involves the utilization of different dimensions of physical fitness at once or simultaneously. These dimensions include strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, as well as more specific physical skills such as reflexes and speed.
Some examples of workouts or exercises used in agility training are sandblasting or running in sands, high-speed sprints, footwork drills shuttle runs, high knee kick, and lateral plyometric humps, among others.
Agility training is essential to almost all kinds of sports. For example, in gymnastics, this type of physical fitness training refines movements and coordination in consideration of flexibility, reflexes, and timing. Basketball and football are some of the sports that require the ability to easily and rapidly move around a large playing field.
3. Eccentric Training
Eccentric training is another type of physical fitness training centered on improving eccentric muscle contraction. As a backgrounder, this type of muscle contraction occurs when the muscle elongates or lengthens from the influence of an opposing force. The contraction happens explicitly when a muscle gives in or goes with the flow or direction of an opposing force.
Lowering down a dumbbell during a bicep curl induces eccentric muscle contraction. Typical day-to-day activities such as walking down the stairs, running down the hills, and landing from a jump also induce this contraction, especially when intensity and frequency are modified.
Negative training is another term for eccentric training. Similar to strength training, eccentric training also increases muscle mass and improves physical strength. However, it is a more targeted approach than strength training because it focuses on a specific phase of muscle contraction.
4. Interval Training
Interval training is designed primarily for losing weight by burning calories on a faster rate while also developing other dimensions of physical fitness such as physical strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and balance.
The routine is characterized by a set of high-intensity activities with light-intensity to moderate-intensity activities in between. Note that the set of light-to-moderate activities is referred to as the rest interval.
Studies have revealed that this type of physical fitness training is more efficient in burning calories over a shorter period than steady-state activity or performing the exercise routine repeatedly. Another benefit of this training is that it enables an individual to develop his or her routine by mixing and matching his or her choice of activities or exercises. Different mixes and matches can produce different results.
An example of interval training would be a workout routine that involves running and push-ups as high-intensity activities, coupled with rest intervals or low-to-moderate-intensity activities such as walking or stretching.
5. Continuous Training
Continuous training is a type of physical fitness training based on two primary purposes: burn calories to lose weight and improve cardiovascular endurance. Depending on the design of the program or regimen, this training can also improve physical strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
When compared to interval training, continuous training is characterized by a series of moderate-intensity to high-intensity activities done in a short period without any resting intervals. Hence, continuous training is mostly an anaerobic activity.
Nonetheless, similar to interval training, the advantage of continuous training is that a person can design his or her own routine by mixing and matching activities or exercises according to his or her needs or preferences. This mixing and matching can yield different results.
A Note on The Five Types of Physical Fitness Training
The aforementioned types of physical fitness training or categories of exercises provide a methodological or systematic way of achieving physical fitness. Because each has its own purpose, each also has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Employing a right mix of two or more of the aforementioned types of training can promote well-rounded physical fitness. For example, a combination of agility training and eccentric training is useful in sports that require strength, endurance, and coordination such as basketball and football. A combination of strength training and continuous training benefits individuals who want to maintain a certain type of physique.
However, remember that it is best to consult and work with a fitness expert such as a certified trainer or a physician specializing in sports medicine to identify the best fitness programs according to specific physical requirements or fitness goal.