Principles for Exercise and Training
Physical fitness and exercise have become, as previously discussed, an increasing concern at nearly all levels of American society. The goal of attaining peak fitness has existed for centuries yet two problems continue to obfuscate understanding. The ability to assess strength and/or to exercise has occupied centuries of thought and effort. For instance, Milo the Greek lifted a calf each day until the baby grew into a bull. Since this particular procedure is not commonly available, humans have attempted to provide more suitable means to determine strength levels and ways to develop and maintain conditioning. Technology for assessing human performance in exercise and fitness evaluations, in both theory and practice, exhibits two problems. First, a lack of clearly defined and commonly accepted standards which results in conflicting claims and approaches to both attaining and maintaining fitness. Second, a lack of accurate tools and techniques for measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of a given device touted to diagnose present capabilities for exercising or even to determine which exercises are appropriate to provide “fitness” regardless of age or gender. Vendors and consumers of fitness technology have lacked sound scientific answers to simple questions regarding the appropriateness of exercise protocols.
Reviewing studies conducted to determine the effects of strength training on human skeletal muscle suggests many benefits with appropriate exercise. In general, strength training that uses large muscle groups in high-resistance, low-repetition efforts increases the maximum work output of the muscle group stressed (34). Since resistance training does not change the capacity of the specific types of skeletal muscle fibers to develop different tensions, strength is generally seen to increase with the cross-sectional area of the fiber (35). The human body can exercise by utilizing its own mass, such as running, climbing, sit ups, etc. These and other forms of non-equipment based exercises can be quite useful. In addition, there are various types of exercise equipment which allow selection of a weight or resistance and then the exercise against that machine resistance is performed.