This page describes exercise in general. In contrast my Exercises page groups and describes specific exercises.
Exercise is activity performed to develop or maintain physical performance and health. Some people do activities (such as martial arts or sports) for exercise, but others do exercises to enhance their activities. I should put some disclaimer here about if you're starting an exercise program, then use common sense, start easy, check with your doctor, and so on.
Several factors can be varied during the execution of exercises.
Speed. Slower or faster.
EG: Running can be done slower (jogging) or faster (running) or much faster (sprinting). Walking is not a slower form of running because one limb is always on the ground when walking.
Exercises executed at a consistent speed are Isokinetic ("same speed").
Exercises executed at zero speed are Isometric ("same distance"), i.e. static exercises.
Resistance. Lower or higher.
Usually measured in mass (EGs: pounds, Kg) or force (EGs: "pounds", N).
Exercises executed at a consistent resistance are Isotonic ("same strength").
Time Duration. EG: Push ups for 2 minutes.
Repititions. EG: 20 push ups.
Sets. Rest between sets. EG: Three sets or rounds of jump roping with 1 minute between each set. EG: Alternate sets of push ups with sit ups.
Intervals. The time interval between repititions or sets.
"Work". This is roughly Force * Distance, but is effectively equivalent to Weight * Exercise. EG: A 100# Deadlift done twice is the same work as 200# Deadlift done once. You can approximate heavy weights with more reps.
"Power". This is roughly Work / Time, but is effectively equivalent to (Weight * Excercise) / Time. EG: A 50# Deadlift done 8x in 1 min is the same power as a 200# Deadlift done twice in 2 min.
Intensity. Intensity can be measured several ways.
Correlated with Target Heart Rates (see more at Health Units of Measurement). EG: Assuming George is male, 40 years old, and has a resting heart rate of 60 beats per minute (bpm), then George's Target Heart Rate ranges are as follows:
50-60%: For George this is either 90-108 or 120-132. Healthy Heart. Warm Up. A Safety HR for beginning exercise. 85% of calories burned here are fat.
60-70%: For George this is either 108-126 or 132-144. Fitness Zone. Fat Burning. 85% of calories burned here are fat.
70-80%: For George this is either 126-144 or 144-156. Aerobic Zone. Endurance Training. 50% of calories burned here are fat.
80-90%: For George this is either 144-162 or 156-168. Anaerobic Zone. Performance Training. 15% of calories burned here are fat.
90-95%: For George this is either 162-171 or 168-174. Red Line. Maximum Effort.
Correlated with number of repititions of an exercise before failure.
1-5 reps of very high resistance improves strength but not size or endurance. "Power".
6-12 reps of medium to high resistance improve strength, size, and endurance. "Strength".
13-20 reps of medium resistance improve size and endurance, but not strength. "Mass".
20+ reps of medium to low resistance improve endurance, but not strength or size. "Endurance".
In another model:
3-7 repitition maximum (RM) for muscular strength.
8-12 RM for muscular strength and endurance.
12+ RM for muscular endurance.
The Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). The scale if multiplied by 10 approximates to the approximate heart rate. The THR approximates to 12-16.
6 No exertion
7 Extremely light (7.5)
9 Very light
13 Somewhat hard
15 Hard (heavy)
17 Very hard
19 Extremely hard
20 Maximal exertion
The Talking Test:
Can sing: Light intensity
Can talk: Moderate intensity
Can't talk: Vigorous intensity
VO2 max for Volume per time of Oxygen. In units of L/min or ml/kg/min (where the kg is for bodymass). This is not an easy or typical measurement.
There are various formulas to approximate VO2 max. Here is the formula used in US Army FM 21-20 (1998) based on the 2 mile fitness test:
Males: VO2 max = 99.7 - [ 33.5 * (Run time in minutes) ]
Females: VO2 max = 72.7 - [ 1.77 * (Run time in minutes) ]
Some VO2 max figures (ml/kg/min):
40s college students, male
50s college track, male
70s max recorded for women
90s max recorded for men
240 sled dogs
Calisthenics. No equipment. EGs: Push-ups, sit-ups, most yoga.
Free weights. Equipment that is not stationary. EGs: Dumbells, barbells, weighted swords, wearable weights.
Stationary equipment. EGs: Cable machines, Smith Presses (guide the barbells), stationary bikes, etc.
Degree of isolation.
Isolation exercises target very specific muscles or skills.
Compound exercises work on a range of muscles or skills. Most exercises are compound exercises.
Polymetric ("many distances") exercise also covers polykinetic, polyometric, polytonic, and compound exercises. Polymetric refers to non-isolationist exercises or instability exercises. Polymetric exercises introduce variables into exercises so that multiple muscles are used in complex and more chaotic ways. EGs: Exercises with medicine balls, Indian clubs, jump ropes, body balls (aka Swiss balls, exercise balls, gym balls, sports balls, therapy balls, gymnasitc balls, etc.). Most activities are polymetric. EG: Swimming, martial arts, basketball, playing in the sand.
Flexibility. Stretching exercises increase the range of motion (ROM) of muscles and joints.
Static v Dynamic Stretching.
Static stretching is done statically or slowly. The muscles being stretched may are contracted.
Dynamic stretching is stretching while moving. Moderate speed is preferred. Bouncing, ballistic, swinging, or high-speed stretching can be dangerous especially if a dynamic stretch generates a reflex to tense.
Active v Passive Stretching. You can, of course, do both simultaneously if you wish.
Active Stretching is when your own muscles stretch themselves. EG: I raise my right elbow towards the ceiling and bend it in order to stretch the tricep muscle. The contracting muscle is the agonist muscle, or in this example the biceps. The stretching muscle is the antagonist musle, or in this case the triceps.
Passive Stretching is when an external force stretches your muscles. EG: I raise my elbow towards the ceiling and bend it in order to stretch the tricep muscle. I pull on the elbow with the my left hand. The external force can be done with gravity, a partner, a wall, a band, etc.
PNF stretching ("proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation"). Proprioception has to do with the ability of our body too sense itself, esp. motion and position. The opposite of proprioception is exteroception: sensing externally, usu. via sight, touch, sound, touch, and smell. There are variations of PNF stretching, here are a few:
Hold Relax. Tense antagonist isometrically, then relax and passive stretch. Repeat.
Hold Tense. Tense antagonist isometrically, then active stretch by tensing agonist while passive stretching. Repeat.
Hold Tense Relax. Tense antagonist isometrically, then active stretch by tensing agonist, then relax and passive stretch. Repeat.
Hold Tense Ballistic. Tense antagonist isometrically, then active stretch by tensing agonist, then swing/bounce stretch. Repeat.
Moving joints beyond their ROM should be avoided. Joint locks and such frequently involve hyper-flexion, hyper-extension, and hyper-rotation (as well as things like muscle or nerve pinching). Common activities to avoid:
Knee hyper-flexion. Deep knee bending should be avoided. Try to bend the knees no more than 90 degress in general.
Knee hyper-rotation. This can largely be avoided by properly facing the foot first.
Spine hyper-motion. 9 out of 10 adults have back pain. Lower back pain (lumbago) is the 5th most common reason for all physician visits in the US.
When to stretch
Stretch briefly during warm ups so that your body does not cool down.
Stretch intermittently during a workout during gaps and stretch the specific muscles you just used.
Avoid stretching during a primarily cardiovascular workout because you'll cool down and lower your heart rate (unless of course you need to).
Stretching during cool downs after a workout is ideal because your muscles are warmed and you have the time.
General stretching and wiggling is good any old time.
How long to stretch. Stretch to resistance but before pain. Then hold until the muscle relaxes and then for a few seconds more. This can take from 6 to 60 seonds. It is better to do more sets, than stretch for longer sets.
Speed. Fast contractions.
Skills. Controlled and coordinated contractions.
Power is high force/resistance in a small time. Usually anaerobic ("without air") --energy comes by local fuel.
Endurance is low force/resistance in a long time. Usually aerobic ("with air"), but in very long situations like marathons it becomes anaerobic ("without air") at the end.
Cardiovascular. Developing the heart, lungs, and fluid flow. Predominantly aerobic ("with air") --energy comes by local fuel combined with oxygen.
Muscle size. Muscular bulk. Additional mass may or may not improve your activity.
Fat volume. Fat percentage.
Skills. Skill exercises can mimic the target activity or are the target activity. The best exercises for an activity is to do the activity itself.
Tactical or Motor Skills. Controlled motion, from gross (simple) to fine (more complex). Grace and fluidity as well as accuracy, controlled speed. What to do and how to do it.
Strategic skills. When and why to do what. Strategic skill is strategic knowledge practiced and applied.
Ennervation. Stimulation of the nerves especially through fine motor skills is just as important as gains in flexibility and muscular strength.
Posture. Alignment. Everyone should have good posture for health and improved performance as well as appearance. There are, of course, alignment exercises that are activity specific.
Balance. Maintaining the center of gravity within the base of support with minimal swaying. Primarily three of the 6 extroceptive senses: sight, somatosensory (touch, pressure, etc.) and equilibrioception, as well as proprioception (self perception), combined motor skills.
Agility. The ability to change direction.
Reflexes. Reducing the reaction time (RT) between stimulus and response.
Rehablitation. Exercise can be key in recovering from things like knee surgery,
Fun. Interst. Meaning. Without motivation, you will not exercise.
Relaxation. Stress reduction. Exercise should reduce stress, and yet for some people it causes more stress.
Social. Social interaction. Appearance for social reasons.
I started the above list before I started doign CrossFit on 2008-11-23. Interestingly enough, my list has similarities to the 10 general physical skills that CrossFit wants to cover.
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance. Oxygen processing. Metabolic conditioning. HW.
Stamina. Energy processing. Metabolic conditioning. Do work repeatedly. HW.
Strength. Do work. HW.
Power. More work in less time. Burst and/or sustained. HW/SW.
"The Exercises" is the first and main sheet of the spreadsheet.
The columns come in sets.
The blue columns are required in order to uniquely identify the exercise. The columns are: Exercise, Gear, and Partner(s).
The yellow columns mark specific and general areas affected by the exercise. The columns are: Specific Area, Head, Arms, Back, Chest, Core, and Legs.
The green column is for the Primary Goal of the exercise. Goals include Agility, Balance, Cardiovascular, Endurance, Flexibility, Muscular, and Relaxation.
The purple columns are general purpose. The columns are: Aka, URL, and Notes.
Most of the terms are explained or self-explanatory except for the following:
FT = Fitness Test. There exercises done in a standard way in order for benchmarking purposes. The US Army for example does a push ups for 2 minutes, sit ups for 2 minutes, and a 2 mile run. The US Marines do pull ups untimed, sit ups for 2 minutes, and a 3 mile run.
Inclined = You're on a ramp and your head is higher.
Declined = You're on a ramp and your head is lower.
"Log" is the second sheet and it is an example exercise log that utilizes "The Exercises". The columns should be self-explanatory except for the following:
EachSide. EG: Were the 20 reps alternating or 10 reps on one side then the other?
ToFailure. There is a difference between doing a comfortable set versus doing repititions until you can't do any more for a set.
NextTime. Whether to increase or decrease the time, distance, weight, sets, or repes for the next workout.
Some exercises can be formed by combining some exercises already listed, but I have tried to limit the combinations.. EG: I list Inclined Push Ups and Staggered Push Ups, but I don't list Inclined Staggered Push Ups. Drills, set plays, combinations, techniques, are generally not included in "The Exercises".
Yoga [W] = "yoke" = union; unite. Yoga is one of the six major schools of Hindu philosophy. "Karma Yoga (yoga of Action), Jnana Yoga (yoga of Knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (yoga of Devotion), and Raja Yoga (yoga of Meditation) are considered the four different paths of Yoga."
dragondoor.com. "For supreme fitness and well being". Especially kettlebell stuff.
Drills and Skills [drillsandskills.com]. "The skills page is intended to be a forum for gymnasts, coaches, or anyone who just wants to learn about gymnastics skills." A wonderful site. Includes workouts of the day, drills and exercises. Classics include: