7 Essential Components For Every Workout Program

ChangeI’d like to share a more evolved, science-based model of our current understanding of exercise, The Why & The Way we exercise.   As a fitness professional, I’ve found that the “Old Way” is not necessarily the “Best Way”.  Yet, we’re “stuck” doing the same “Old” traditional routines for lack of understanding in doing anything different.

My Goal in this post is to help you decide which workout program, or combination of exercises, is best for you based on the integration of these Seven Key Components.

For a moment, let go of what you know about exercise and let’s consider this Integrated Approach to the Human Movement System through exercise.


Integrated Training

Integrated Training is a comprehensive, systematic and integrated training approach that improves all components necessary for a person to perform at their highest level and prevent injury.  This form of training takes the best of all types of training and puts it into one usable system.


The Seven Components of Integrated Training


1.  Flexibility Training

The Why:  We know we should, but we don’t.  Muscle imbalances and poor flexibility may decrease performance and increase the risk of injury. Muscles function optimally from an ideal predetermined length. Flexibility Training provides optimum alignment and function of each component in the Human Movement System which is the cornerstone to a training program.

The Way:  Types of Stretching

SMR (Self Myofascial Release) – A flexibility technique, using a “foam roller” that focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body.  I’d compare it to trigger point massage.  To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen. Then on to the next spot.  For time constraints, the purpose of this video is to show the AREAS of SMR.  It’s up to you to STOP on the painful areas as discussed above.


Dynamic Stretching –  A Pre-Workout Stretch using the muscles own force production and the body’s momentum to take a joint through the full range of motion.  Proper performance of Dynamic Stretch requires holding the stretch at end point of momentum for 1-2″.


Static Stretching – A Post-Workout Stretch which combines low-force and long duration movements. Proper performance of Static Stretching requires holding the stretch at the first point of tension for 30 seconds.

Note: Overall, research shows that static stretching done PRIOR to strength activity decreases strength and may affect strength up to tw0 hours post-stretch.

2.  Cardiorespiratory Training

The Why:  Probably the most studied, yet least understood component of a total fitness program.  People often fail to understand why building a base is so important to their total training program.  Without a base, fatigue leads to a reduction in performance, increasing risk of injury.

The Way:  Cardiorespiratory Phase I – Building your base:    A systematic model using Heart Rate Training Zones for specific intervals of time. This builds an aerobic base that is critical for improving heart and lung capacity.  This improved capacity affects the body’s ability to store and transport oxygen and nutrients to produce energy.  If weight loss is your goal, you’ll stay here for 7 weeks.  It’s prudent to use different pieces of cardio equipment to enhance motivation and minimize boredom.  For example on a 30 minute workout: 10 min. Elliptical, 10 min. Treadmill, 10 min Rower.

Polar FT-1

Polar FT-1 HRM

I highly recommend a Heart Rate Monitor – Polar FT-1 is about $59

Heart Rate Training Zones

Heart Rate Training Zones


Straight Percentage Method

Straight Percentage Method

Example:  To determine Zone 1 range:  220-25(age of client)=195

195 x 0.65 = 127 (low end of Zone 1)  and 195 x 0.75 = 146 (high end Zone 1)

Thus, the 25 year old Zone 1 training range is 127-146 bpm

We’ll have a Low-Intensity Day followed by a High-Intensity Day.

As your condition improves, you can gradually increase Day 2 Zone 1 & Zone 2 times to 5 minutes.

Cardio BAse

That’s a lot…email me with questions.  THIS is how to do it!


3.  Core Training

The Why:  Core training is the foundation from which a solid training program is built.  Many of us work to develop strength in our large muscle groups, but neglect to develop adequate strength, control, power and endurance in our core.  The core has to function optimally to maximize the benefits of your workouts.  A stable, strong and efficient core should be the foundation in your workout.

The Way:  Traditionally, core training is done by sit-ups, crunches, leg-raises etc. (the sagittal plane of motion) focusing on the “six-pack” (rectus-abdmoinus). The Core comprises the musculature surrounding the hip complex.  To engage the rest of these muscles, we need to change the plane of motion to side-to-side (frontal plane).

It’s summed up in this video:  Training for Local & Global Stabilization of the Core.


4.  Balance Training

The Why:  Balance Training is a systematic and progressive approach designed to develop neuromuscular efficiency, or the ability for your nervous system to recruit the correct muscles to stabilize the body in all 3 planes of motion.  In other words, coordination.

A trip off the curb, a missed step, uneven ground:  these are all occurrences that, through balance training, have a better outcome.

The Way:  Balance Stabilization (Phase-1) involves little joint motion.  Choose 1-4 different exercises, each exercise with 1-3 sets and each set 12-20 reps with a slow tempo 4/2/1 : 4″ hold balance then 2″ to come back to beginning position then 1″ back up to the hold position.


5.  Plyometrics Training

The Why:  Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyo”, are exercises with quick, powerful movements, based around having muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time with the goal of increasing both speed and power. Evidenced-Based research supports the use of Plyometrics for injury prevention and Performance Enchancement.

The Way: Plyometrics Stabilization (Phase-1)  Plyo exercises designed to establish optimum landing mechanics, postural alignment and reactive neuromuscular efficiency.

Choose 1-2 different exercises, each exercise with 1-3 sets and each set 5-8 reps.  Tempo:  Controlled (hold the landing position for 3-5″)


6.  Speed, Agility, Quickness Training

The Why:  As mentioned earlier the Human Movement System occurs in all planes of motion at varying speeds in response to multiple stimuli.  The ability to change speed and direction of movement and appropriately react to all given stimuli is often the difference between injury and safety, success or failure.  Each of these abilities is an independent quality, yet is related and dependent on the other to optimize human function.

The Way:  We’ll focus on the Agility portion.  Agility – The ability to change direction of the body based on rapid processing of internal or external information.  SAQ Stabilization (Phase-1) Chose 1-3 different exercises performing each exercise for 30 seconds.


7. Integrated, Multiplanar Resistance Training.

The Why:  Integrated (combining the above components), Multiplanar (in all 3 planes of motion) Resistance or Weight Training.   The outcome from our Weight Training Program should be Stabilization, Muscular Endurance, Hypertrophy (larger muscle mass), Strength and Power to ensure each individual will achieve their optimum performance and reduce risk of injury.

The Way:  There are two key concepts I’d like to introduce:  Resistance Training in Proprioceptively Enriched Environement and moving from Horizontal Loaded Sets to Vertical Load Sets…hang on, I’ll explain.

Proprioceptively Enriched Environment:  A proprioceptively enriched environment is an unstable (yet controllable) physical situation that challenges the internal balance and stabilization mechanisms of the body. Non-Proprioceptive is performing benchpress on a bench. A Proprioceptively Enriched environment would be performing a dumbbell bench press on a stability ball.

Horizontal Loaded Sets vs. Vertical Load Sets:  Our standard workout is set, rest, set.  For example, 1 set of benchpress, rest 30 seconds, go again.  This 30 second rest allows a 50% ATP recycle to allow us the next set.  What if we went from the bench directly to a set of pull-ups?  This would provide the ATP recovery in the chest, yet giving us aerobic benefit and saving time in the workout.  Then return to Chest, allowing ATP recovery in the back, yet maintaining a high aerobic output.

Horizontal Load: Chest, rest, Chest, rest, Chest rest.

Vertical Load: Chest, Back, Chest, Back, Chest, Back.

“Hey what do you do for cardio?”  Try a workout with a Vertical Load and let me know.

This is an example of a Chest Exercise using a Proprioceptively Enriched Environment

Putting it all together

That’s a lot of information and may seem overwhelming.  This is how I do my 5 day a week workout incorporating these Seven Components of Integrated Training.

My Workout

Let’s see the results:

1.  Flexibility:  Daily

2.  Cardiorespiratory: M-T-W-F.  I do a vertical load in my resistance training with minimal recovery times.  Typically working high aerobic, low anaerobic range.  Burning lots of calories!

3. Core – M-W-F

4.  Balance – Yoga

5.  Plyometrics – Tues. & Portion of Friday

6.  Agility – Tues. – incorporated into Plyometrics

7.  Resistance Training (Weights) M-W-F

All Seven Components have been completed in this 5 day/week exercise regimen.  You can modify the routine using acute variables (exercises, sets, reps, tempo, weight, etc.) but leaving in the components of the program.


Statistical Analyses Revealed the Following

Movement quality, speed/agility, upper extremity strength/endurance, abdominal strength/endurance were all improved following the integrated program, but not the traditional program.



Based on these findings, the integrated training program was able to successfully improve all aspects of functional performance that were assessed (movement quality, speed/agility, strength, endurance, flexibility and power). However, the traditional training program only improved power and flexibility.

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