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4 Different Types of Workouts to Improve Strength and Fitness

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types of workouts

Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. These are the four major types of workouts that you should include in your weekly training schedule to see well rounded and productive results.

These four significant types of exercise incorporate all the major elements of fitness that your body needs to see positive results, be it burning calories, losing fat, or gaining muscle. Each element complements the next because you can't train for an endurance marathon without having the flexibility to survive a brutal training regime!

In this article, we'll discuss each of these four major types of workouts and show how a diverse training regime involving cardio, weights, hip circle bands, stretching, and other types of exercise can lead to increased gains and balanced results!

The 4 different kinds of exercise and types of workouts

The vast majority (if not all) of exercises fall into four key categories. Whether it's running, cycling, swimming, bench-pressing, yoga, or trying to touch your toes while standing on one leg, every exercise or movement will have its place in this categorization.

  • Endurance (or aerobic)
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

Mastering all four of these fitness elements will produce both a well rounded and well-balanced physique and level of fitness. Concentrating on just one aspect, such as strength, will lead to weaker results in other areas, such as endurance (or aerobic fitness.)

While you might need to focus more heavily on one particular area, it's never beneficial to neglect the other areas totally. For instance, runners should primarily concentrate on endurance workouts, but they also need to build strength in their legs and work on flexibility and balance to avoid injuries. While endurance workouts should be a runner's focus, they need to intersperse their training schedule with the remaining three categories to prevent weakness in other areas.

A body-builder will likely spend most of their training time on muscular strength exercises to bulk up and tone new muscles. Still, again, they can't compete to their best ability without an adequate level of endurance, balance, and flexibility. Just like the runner, the body-builder needs to diversify their training regime for a more rounded schedule.

How much should I be exercising?

Of course, not everyone is training to run a marathon or dead-lift their body weight at the gym. For most people, a balanced exercise schedule involving elements of all four categories of workouts will produce excellent results in terms of fitness and health.

A balanced exercise regime can help combat diseases such as obesity or diabetes and keep you mobile and healthy for longer. The government even recommends that individuals combine a mixture of strength training and cardio exercises for a healthy lifestyle and longevity.

Adults should attempt at least 30 minutes of endurance exercises a day, be it walking or going for a run. They should also be incorporating two or three strength training sessions per week. On top of this, a healthy adult needs to think about stretching for flexibility and working on their balance. However, these can easily be incorporated into aerobic or strength training workouts.

These are minimal levels of exercise to maintain a relatively healthy body (and mind.) If you're training your body for a half or full marathon, you need to run much more than 30 minutes a day. For that reason, the amount of exercise you need to do will depend on your personal goals. The most important, universal aspect, is planning a schedule involving endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility!

Different types of workouts

1. Endurance workouts

Endurance workouts are designed to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping faster. Endurance workouts are essentially cardiovascular workouts, working your body out aerobically. The goal of an endurance workout is to increase the number of times your muscles can contract before they become too tired.

The simplest way to imagine this is by looking at a runner. Their goal is to increase the distance and the intensity with which they can run at one time. To do this, they must improve their cardiovascular fitness and enhance the amount of exercise their muscles can handle before collapsing!

Weightlifters also need to think about endurance. For endurance weight lifters, their goal is to increase the number of repetitions their muscles can take lifting a particular weight before they collapse.

Examples of endurance exercises include the following:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Resistance band squats
  • Star jumps
  • The Plank

Here are the significant benefits of endurance workouts:

  • Improve aerobic fitness
  • Lower blood pressure and resting heart rate
  • Increase metabolic rate
  • Burn fat
  • Decrease chances of cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes and heart disease
  • Improve mental well-being (release endorphins!)

2. Strength workouts

Strength workouts, alongside endurance workouts, are the most popular types of training, especially in the gym. Strength exercises are movements designed to build muscle mass. This happens by working the muscle until it 'rips.' The ripped muscle then repairs itself and grows back larger and stronger than it was before.

Strength training isn't only limited to weight machines and dumbbells because you can build strength through resistance bands and bodyweight exercises as well. Strength training isn't just for weightlifters either, because we need muscles for athletics and simple everyday movements such as lifting shopping bags or cutting wood if you live on a farm.

Examples of strength training exercises include the following:

  • Weightlifting
  • Resistance band workouts
  • Bicep curls
  • Banded push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Dips
  • Squat holds

Here are the major benefits of strength training workouts:

  • Improve strength
  • Build larger muscles
  • Sculpt and tone your body shape
  • Build stronger joints and bones
  • Reduce the risk of diseases like arthritis

3. Balance

Balance is essential for all able bodies, not just for athletes. Without adequate balance, we would struggle even to stand up straight, let alone walk to the shops or start lifting weights!

Balance rarely gets its own focused workouts, but balance-focused exercises can help to improve your overall health and fitness and contribute to broader fitness goals. A typical workout could target the lower body to improve balance or the core for stability.

Examples of balance focused exercises include the following:

  • Standing on one foot
  • Pilates
  • Martial Arts
  • Yoga

Here are the major benefits of balance workouts:

  • Increase stability
  • Improve posture
  • Improve agility
  • Improve speed and reactions
  • Less chance of falling and, therefore, less chance of injuries

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is incredibly important too. Without an adequate level of flexibility, it's much more difficult to lift weights or run for increased amounts of time. Flexibility is essential for avoiding injuries, particularly during endurance events and strength training.

The simplest way to work on improving flexibility is through stretching. Stretching loosens up our muscles by elongating them; this is why we stretch before and after workout sessions. During exercise, muscles contract, so increased flexibility helps to create more balanced muscle groupings.

Very easily incorporate more stretching into your exercise routines; you can even start to stretch every day when you wake up and before you go to bed. Unlike other forms of fitness, stretching is an exercise you can practice anywhere. Even rolling out of bed and yawning is a type of stretch!

Examples of flexibility exercises include the following:

  • Yoga
  • Resistance band stretches
  • Pilates

Here are the major benefits of flexibility workouts:

  • Avoid injuring joints and muscles
  • Avoid long term, chronic pains
  • Improve posture
  • Increase range of motion
  • Lower stress levels

Workout intensity

The four major types of workouts aren't the only factors you should consider when scheduling your training regime for the week ahead. As well as having a well-rounded selection of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility workouts, you also need to consider the intensity you'll be practicing those workouts.

The intensity of an exercise is determined by how much energy or power you put into the movement to complete it. You can have low intensity, moderate intensity, and high-intensity exercises. Within each of our four key workouts, you can practice exercises with different levels of intensity.

If you're looking to build muscle fast or lose weight quickly, then HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is often considered the most effective and time-conscious way to workout. If you're recovering from an injury and need to take it slow, then you will want to use low-intensity movements and exercises such as Pilates.

It's good to mix high-intensity workouts with lower intensity workouts throughout the week. An even combination of the two gives your body time to recover and to repair itself! Don't forget rest days are just as equally important.

That's a lot of different types of workouts!

Yup, there's a lot of different types of workouts, so there's no reason why you should ever get bored when you're trying to exercise. Within each different type, there are so many more different styles and various exercises that you can learn too.

A fit and healthy workout regime should never compose solely of one of these types of exercise training. A training schedule needs to be well balanced and involve all four significant types of workouts; endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility!

Start varying your training and what better way than including an even mix of these different types of exercises each week?

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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