What is pyramid training structure?
Pyramid Structure of Fitness Training Programs
Fitness training involves purposeful and planned physical activities aimed at achieving health goals. Due to the wide variety of fitness training programs available, many individuals planning to engage in fitness activities may find it challenging to select appropriate exercises. The "Exercise Pyramid" recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine provides guidelines for scientifically and specifically choosing fitness training activities, constructing a pyramid structure of exercise options for the general population. By following the structure of the pyramid, adhering to the principles and basic requirements of scientific fitness, individuals can effectively improve their physical fitness and overall health.
The first level primarily consists of daily physical activities. In modern civilized societies with technological advancements, the use of automated devices and the information-based nature of daily life have significantly reduced human physical activity. Therefore, incorporating fitness activities into daily routines has become a major approach to counteract the decline in physical activity. Daily fitness activities refer to purposeful and planned physical activities performed during work, daily life, transportation, leisure, and other activities. For example, choosing to walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving or taking public transportation, personally mopping the floor instead of using a robotic cleaner, or using the stairs instead of an elevator. For individuals who find it challenging to set aside dedicated time for exercise and lack sufficient time, incorporating fitness activities into daily routines can still achieve the goal of improving physical fitness and promoting health. Research has shown that walking 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day can effectively prevent various chronic diseases. Advocating a fitness-oriented lifestyle provides an effective solution to address the reality of human "sedentary behavior" and lack of physical activity resulting from mechanization, informationization, and automation.
The second level mainly focuses on flexibility training, primarily stretching exercises. As individuals age, their muscles, fascia, and joints gradually become stiff. This stiffness, to varying degrees, can weaken the microcirculation in the body, affecting the supply of nutrients to muscles, bones, and joint cartilage. It also reduces the elasticity of the body's movement system, leading to increased risks of injuries during physical activities and decreased functional abilities in daily life as joint mobility declines. Therefore, performing full-body joint stretches daily or every other day can enhance flexibility, an important component of fitness training. Flexibility training can be integrated into daily life by utilizing fragmented time or performed before and after aerobic or strength training. By developing the habit of accumulating 10 to 30 minutes of flexibility training per day, it becomes an easy and enjoyable activity.
The third level mainly consists of moderate or low-intensity aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises have longer durations and engage large muscle groups in the body. They strengthen the heart's circulation, improve lung ventilation and oxygen exchange, and consume a significant amount of energy. Therefore, aerobic exercises are beneficial in several ways. They effectively enhance cardiovascular endurance, resulting in stronger heart contractions and increased lung capacity. They also improve blood vessel elasticity, preventing arterial hardening. Additionally, they help control body weight, aid in weight loss, and reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming, and brisk walking, require planned time allocation. Factors such as age, gender, and physical condition should be considered, progressing gradually and according to individual capabilities. Low-intensity aerobic exercises, such as walking and cycling, can be incorporated into daily activities. For optimal results, aerobic exercises should be performed continuously for at least 5 minutes per session, with a cumulative duration of 30 minutes or a single session lasting 30 minutes or more. It is recommended to engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises 3 to 5 times per week, diversifying the forms of exercise to prevent monotony or loss of interest. Low-intensity aerobic exercises can be performed daily, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.
The fourth level primarily focuses on strength training exercises aimed at enhancing muscle strength. Alternatively, a combination of strength and agility training can be incorporated, with 2 to 3 sessions per week. Strength training improves muscle strength, increases bone density, and helps prevent accidental injuries. Speed and agility training enhance body responsiveness, movement and transition abilities, coordination, and more. Strength training is suitable for various populations, while speed and agility training are particularly beneficial for children and adolescents. Strength training is typically performed using resistance, either statically or dynamically. Dynamic strength training exercises are more common, such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups using one's own body weight, or dumbbell curls, barbell bench presses, and resistance band stretches using external weights. Static strength training holds special significance for individuals with joint diseases or reduced strength, and it can be conveniently performed at home, such as wall squats or planks. Initially, muscle soreness may be experienced during strength training, which is normal. By gradually progressing and maintaining proper form, the risk of exercise-related injuries can be minimized.
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