Consider These Five Great Exercise Program Formats

While there are virtually dozens of excellent exercise program formats available, integrating the programs highlighted this week may add variety and challenge to your existing program keeping you on track and adhering to your macro exercise program. There is something for everyone within these five program formats, so diversify your program and consider adding a new format into your repertoire. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Program #1 Boxing/Kickboxing – pure boxing formats or fusion formats which include some kickboxing are great options as well as classic kickboxing formats. Most of the above tend to include drills with light and heavy punching bags, jump rope training, and some fusion formats may feature muscular strength training circuit-type formats training with TRX Suspension Systems, TRX RIP Trainers, ViPR and other fitness tools.

Program #2 Yoga/Mat Pilates/Pilates Apparatus – while yoga and all of the derivations on that theme, mat Pilates and Pilates Apparatus are all unique programs, there are a few similarities which include lengthening, strengthening, specific “nose to toes” core strengthening and awareness, breathing techniques and relaxation/stress reduction elements. Yoga programs will vary so check with your program director and let them guide you toward the best format addressing your specific needs. Mat Pilates also varies; however, the lengthening/strengthening and core-centric strengthening component is pretty universal. And, while yoga and mat Pilates require seasoned, qualified and certified instructors to teach safe and effective classes, Pilates Apparatus instructors are required to complete significant levels of additional training specific to the reformer and other apparatus utilized in the program. These programs, which are often fee-based, are usually small in size allowing the instructor to dedicate time to each participant and the results for most populations, but definitely for many with serious limitations, are remarkable.

Program #3 Step Interval – step programs have begun a bit of resurgence after many programs lost focus on what makes stepping unique, fun and a very effective exercise modality. This occurred, in part, due to some programs becoming too dance oriented with complex choreography and due to the complexity elements, lowering the step height which led, in many cases, to the intensity levels decreasing. Seek out a step interval-type format that provides the participant with a complete program addressing all five components of physical fitness. And, programs that provide step workshops, providing the novice with the opportunity to learn the step fundamentals.

Program #4 Functional Strength – while this format may include many different varieties, generally these formats are muscular strength training, core concentrated, programs which emphasize compound, multi-muscled elements to improve the participant’s functional movement patterns and strength. Principles of progressive overload and momentary muscle failure are generally applied.

Program #5 Indoor Group Cycling – this program, when properly designed and coached is probably one of the most inclusive. It is non-impact, there is no complex choreography to learn, you are on your own bike so you may train at an intensity appropriate for your fitness level and it is one of the safest, most effective program formats targeting cardiovascular fitness. There may be numerous format derivations available within the macro indoor group cycling program including those which include training on and off the bike providing you with complete class formats addressing all five physical fitness components.

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