Home > KET Training, Uncategorized > The FITT Principle, or the exercise prescription, and how it applies to Triathlon Training

The FITT Principle, or the exercise prescription, and how it applies to Triathlon Training

The FITT Principle is the foundation for our triathlon training. It has been studied for decades by exercise physiologists  and is also referred to as an exercise prescription(ExRx). In addition, it has been used in clinical settings as well as training centers throughout the country. FITT is an acronym for: Frequency of exercise, Intensity of exercise, Time(or duration) of exercise and Type of exercise.

Frequency: Studies have shown a frequency of 3-6 times a week elicits a training effect. To gain any benefit exercise should be practiced a minimum of 3 days per week.
Generally in triathlon training the frequency looks something like this: Swim 2 days, Bike 2 days, Run 2 days and resistance training 1-2 days a week. The cardiorespiratory exercise total frequency equals 6 days a week. At times the 6 tri training sessions are fit into 5 days a week with 2 days a week for stretching and core exercises. Of course professional triathletes can accomplish 3 sessions of each sport each week.

Intensity: This is  how hard the exercise feels and how high the athletes heart rate is during the session. Generally a higher intensity session will be of a short duration due to increased muscular demands, will increase strength and speed but practiced too frequently creates an increased risk for injury. The lower intensity will stimulate aerobic system benefits and can be practiced more frequently, for a longer duration with less chance for injury.

Time: This refers to the amount of time the session lasts or the duration of exercise. This is done  anywhere from 20-360 min. Obviously, it depends on the athletes goals. If a sprint triathlon is the goal the sessions can be of lower duration but if the goals are a half Ironman or full Ironman the duration can be as high as a 2 or 3 hr run or a 4-6 hr bike ride.

Type: The mode is generally swim, bike, run but can be an elliptical(run substitute) or a Versaclimber(swim substitute)  if there is an injury. Those modes work similar muscle groups until the athlete can return to running and swimming. These types of exercise are continuous and work large muscle groups.

Happy Training!

Mark

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