6-Week Workout Plans
Six week work-out plans can provide a range of physiological benefits, such as increased strength and blood circulation. "Six weeks is a critical time to acclimate to any new exercise regimen so that you can set long-term fitness goals," says exercise physiologist Dr. Robert Lampman, Ph.D. Overall benefits depend on beginning fitness levels, and Lampman recommends paying attention to duration, frequency and intensity. "Beginners should focus on duration," says Lampman, while athletes can add intensity.
Aerobic training includes walking, running, cycling, swimming and other sustained activity that causes heart rates to increase for a long period of time. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous cardio three days a week. A six-week aerobic program can include training for a race or shifting among swimming, cycling or walking and adding frequency, duration and intensity each week.
Resistance training uses body weight, free weights, weight machines or elastic bands to create opposing force for musculature movement. The critical components of resistance training include: repetitions, sets of repetitions, intensity and progressive overload, where muscles are stressed beyond levels they are accustomed to in order to build strength, size and endurance. The ACSM recommends eight to 10 strength-training exercises with eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. Lampman advises exercise variation so different muscle groups are worked, and allowing rest days for muscle to regenerate.
Interval Training or Circuits
Interval or circuit training combines intense bursts of cardio with resistance training to maximize results. The Journal of Physiology reports that in active young men, interval sprints produce results comparable to endurance-based exercise and are thus a time-efficient way to induce rapid adaptations in skeletal muscles. Lampman recommends short fast runs opposed with a light jog or rest.
- "Understanding Fitness: How Exercise Fuels Health and Fights Disease"; edited by Julie K. Silver and Christopher Morin; 2008
- ACSM Recommended: Keys to Exercise Video Series
- Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images