Fitness Training Methods: Finding a Workout for You

Each fitness training method has its own advantages. And certain types of training complement specific sports. Discover what could work for you.

Man and woman running outdoors with lights

People work out for many different reasons: to get in shape, to stay fit, for fun, or for performance. And choosing the right fitness training method that fulfils all your physical goals is vital. All methods of training need to be specific to the individual performer and the activity. That’s why the workout programme you follow must be relevant to you and your sport, or the fitness target you’ve set yourself.

Each fitness training method is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. And certain types of training complement specific sports. Continuous training, for example, works well for marathon runners, so it’s important both athletes and coaches know what methods can enhance physical performance in their particular sport, and how best to incorporate them into their training programmes.

So what are the different fitness training methods, and how do you know which is best? To decide, it’s a good idea to try everything and see what gives you the most reliable results; experiment and learn in the process. So let’s take a look at eight conventional models of fitness training so you can decide which methods could work for you.

Woman running on incline treadmill
Man using elliptical machine

Continuous Training

Also known as continuous exercise or steady-state training, continuous training is any type of physical training that involves continuous intensity and doesn’t involve any rest periods. The aim is to keep a constant heart rate of between 60 - 80% throughout the session to enhance your respiratory and cardiovascular system.

Man using elliptical machine
Woman running outdoors

Fartlek Training

Fartlek (Swedish), roughly translated to ‘speed play’ training, involves varying the intensity or speed of your run to improve your fitness and endurance. This type of training is very individual as you determine the intensity and pace. It can be fun and offers much more variety compared to continuous training. This could make it easier to stick to and stay motivated, which in turn will give you better results.

Woman running outdoors
Man using jump rope

Circuit Training

Circuit training methods require alternating between several exercises targeting different muscle groups for a full body workout. There is little rest involved, as the fast pace between exercises adds a cardio element to the workout.

When circuit training, it’s important to balance exercises so there’s no burn out. This is where one muscle group is worked at a time, allowing others to rest in between. One circuit is when all of the chosen exercises have been completed. Multiple circuits can be performed in one training session.

Man using jump rope
Woman doing yoga stretches

Plyometric Training

Plyometrics or jump training, is a highly effective form of power training designed to significantly improve sports performance. It develops power, speed and strength through high intensity exercises involving explosive movements.

A plyometric exercise is an exercise where the muscle is lengthened, and then rapidly shortened to improve muscular strength and speed. This process of contract-lengthen, contract-shorten is often referred to as the stretch – shortening cycle (SSC).

Woman doing yoga stretches
Group of women doing warm-up stretches

Plyometric Training

Plyometrics or jump training, is a highly effective form of power training designed to significantly improve sports performance. It develops power, speed and strength through high intensity exercises involving explosive movements.

A plyometric exercise is an exercise where the muscle is lengthened, and then rapidly shortened to improve muscular strength and speed. This process of contract-lengthen, contract-shorten is often referred to as the stretch – shortening cycle (SSC).

Group of women doing warm-up stretches

Other activities to improve flexibility include:

Man and woman doing yoga

Yoga

Yoga: An ancient form of exercise that uses various postures (series of movements) to focus on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. Find out how yoga can help improve your flexibility.

man and woman doing tai chi

Tai Chi

Tai chi: Combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is now practised around the world as a health-promoting exercise.

man and woman doing pilates

Pilates

Pilates: Developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. Pilates strengthens the body with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing. Discover the benefits of Pilates.

Benefits of flexibility training

 •Improved physical performance
•Increases range of motion
•Fewer aches and pains
•Improved posture and balance
•A positive state of mind
•Reduces the risk of injury
•Greater strength

Man running  through hurdles

Speed, Agility and Quickness Training

SAQ training—for short—aims to reprogramme an athlete’s neuromuscular system to enhance multi-directional movements.

‘Speed’ is the ability to move the body in one direction as fast as possible. ‘Agility’ allows you to accelerate, decelerate, and quickly change direction with proper posture. And ‘Quickness’ is the ability to react and change body position with a maximum rate of force production. All three components will enhance an athlete’s training programme; providing variety in movement position and direction, and offering a good cardio workout. Key elements of the SAQ technique are sprints, high knees, mini hurdles, and agility ring hops.

Man running  through hurdles
Woman doing crunches using weights

Weight Training

Weight training is a primary form of strength training that uses weights for resistance. It helps build muscle strength and power using free weights (barbells and dumbbells), bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or weight machines.

Effective weight training requires proper technique. Done incorrectly, it can lead to sprains, fractures and other painful injuries.

Woman doing crunches using weights

While this article goes through some of the fitness methods that can be used, there are many other techniques and types of workouts available, like cross-training and resistance training, as well as other top fitness trends. So spend some time trying them out and see what works for you. It’s important to use the method that helps you achieve your fitness goals, but it’s equally important to enjoy your workouts so you’re more likely to stay motivated.

At DECATHLON we have an extensive range of fitness equipment and accessories to suit all fitness training methods. Whether you do HIIT or weight training, or even if you’re simply looking to change your lifestyle for the better, we’ll support you in achieving your fitness goals. From gym leggings to hoodies or trainers, our Domyos brand will kit you out from head to toe. And our range of exercise machines, weights and gym accessories are perfect for home use.

Woman doing stretches using band