You don’t have to bulk-up your muscle mass to become a stronger person. Successful strength training will be comprised of exercises that are targeted at making your body stronger in specific areas utilized by your sport or activity. If you’re a swimmer for example, your strength training should target your arms and pecks in a way that helps you pull yourself through the water more efficiently. Or maybe you’re a runner who has been experiencing ankle pain. Your strength training should be focused on gradually increasing the strength in your ankles. To achieve peak fitness your strength training should work with, not against, your main activity.
Cardiovascular Exercise for Peak Fitness
The key to achieving peak fitness for cardiovascular exercise is not quantity, but quality. If you’re not constantly incorporating some harder work into your cardiovascular exercise routines your level of fitness will plateau. If you’re doing thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise, after a ten minute easy warm up do two minutes at an 80-90% effort, then slow back down for a minute to allow your heart rate to settle down. Repeat for ten minutes, and then finish with a ten minute cool down. When this pattern becomes easier for you, increase the amount of time you’re exercising at a higher intensity. You can also decrease the time you’re resting in between. To maintain your personal level of peak fitness you’ll need to change the intensity of your workouts every four to six weeks.
Flexibility Training for Peak Fitness
To perform more efficiently as an athlete your body needs flexibility training. The more flexible you are, the less likely you will suffer a performance related injury, and it will be easier for your body to adapt to and recover from hard exercise. Flexibility training is important to keep your muscles loose and will prevent and alleviate cramping. You should stretch for at least ten minutes after each of your strength training or cardiovascular exercise sessions. Like strength training, flexibility training will enhance your body’s ability to perform more efficiently. Flexibility training will also help you achieve your peak fitness level.