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Physical Education

Principles and methods of training

Methods of training

Training can be aerobic or anaerobic.

Sparring in tae kwon do

Aerobic training improves cardiovascular fitness. Photo courtesy of BBC Sport

  • In aerobic exercise, which is steady and not too fast, the heart is able to supply enough oxygen to the muscles. Aerobic training improves cardiovascular [cardiovascular: Relating to the heart and the blood vessels. ] fitness.
  • Anaerobic exercise is performed in short, fast bursts where the heart cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscles. Anaerobic training improves the ability of the muscles to work without enough oxygen when lactic acid is produced.

Specific training methods can be used to improve each fitness factor.

Weight training

Weight training improves muscular strength, endurance and power

  • Circuit training involves performing a series of exercises in a special order called a circuit. Each activity takes place at a 'station'. It can be designed to improve speed, agility, coordination, balance and muscular endurance.
  • Continuous training involves working for a sustained period of time without rest. It improves cardio-vascular fitness.
  • Cross training involves using another sport or activity to improve your fitness. It happens when an athlete trains in a different environment. For example a volleyball player uses the power training for that sport to help with fitness for long jump.
  • Fartlek training or 'speed play' training involves varying your speed and the type of terrain over which you run, walk, cycle or ski. It improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  • Interval training involves alternating between periods of hard exercise and rest. It improves speed and muscular endurance.
  • Weight training uses weights to provide resistance to the muscles. It improves muscular strength (high weight, low reps), muscular endurance (low weight, high reps, many sets) and power (medium weight and reps performed quickly).
  • Altitude training (AQA only) is aerobic training high above sea level, where oxygen levels are lower. It is used to increase aerobic fitness quickly.

General methods of training can be applied to specific sports. For example, continuous training might involve swimming, cycling, rowing, aerobics or running.

Back to Exercise and training index

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