F.I.T.T. is an acronym that was created to address many of the important questions people have about exercise programs. This principle can be applied directly to strength training. Using the F.I.T.T. principle in combination with S.M.A.R.T goals is a great way to cultivate confidence, generate accountability to goals and improve your physical prowess!
The F.I.T.T. principle is comprised of Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type. Combining these factors is a safe and valuable way to answer the questions how often, when and how much effort is needed to strength train. Ultimately, this is a valuable way to create an exercise schedule. Since strength-based workouts follow different parameters than other forms of exercise (running, yoga, etc.), the resulting tips can be applied to strength training specifically.
Frequency is the first category listed within the F.I.T.T. principle. Frequency can be described as how often a person should lift weights.1
Frequency as it relates to strength training should be done two to three days a week.2 It is important to allow at least one day of rest between workout days to allow muscles to regenerate. Exercising the same musculature multiple days in a row can lead to increased soreness and potentially injury.
Intensity is a measure of how challenging a workout is. In terms of strength training, the amount of weight lifted, or resistance used, indicates the intensity at which one works.1
It is important to use weights that challenge the body, but that are still easy enough to maintain proper form. If building overall strength is your goal, consider using heavier weights for fewer repetitions. On the other hand, it is better to use lighter weights for more repetitions if greater muscular endurance is the goal.2
When it comes to strength training, time can be understood in sets and repetitions. Below are a few parameters to consider:
- A set is a group of repetitions. It is important to do more than one set of an exercise to build strength in the muscles being used. Three is a commonly recommended set amount, but more advanced training may recommend more.2
- To build greater strength, consider sets that have anywhere from one to five reps at heavier weights.
- For general fitness programs aimed at building strength and endurance, incorporate sets that have a greater amount of reps. Three sets that include eight to twelve reps is recommended for beginners, those with injuries and those over the age of 50.2
- Include anywhere from one to three minutes of rest between sets.
Type provides insight into what exercises should be included in a workout. Since every movement of the body requires the use of at least one or two muscles, the focus of resistance training should be to build total body strength. There are unlimited ways to combine exercises, however general strength can be increased by completing eight to ten different movements that challenge the major muscle groups.2
Use F.I.T.T. to get Fit!
As you begin a new strength training program, take time to consider how the F.I.T.T. principle can be used for your benefit! Goal setting gets the mind ready to take on new tasks, while the tips above help to create a plan of action to turn your dreams into a reality.
As always, if you feel any unusual pain or discomfort after your workout, click here to set up a complimentary injury screening.