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General Principles of Exercise Prescription

In order to engage in safe and effective exercise program, one should follow the following steps:

  1. To assist in the development of safe and efficient exercise prescription and optimize safety during exercise testing, it is important to screen potential participants for risk factors and/or symptoms of various cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic diseases, as well as conditions that may aggravated by exercise.
  2. Follow recommendations set by the ACSM Pre-Participation Screening.
    • If medical clearance in not warranted, proceed to step three and/or four and/or five.
    • If medical clearance is warranted, complete the recommended guidance (receive medical clearance) and then proceed to step three and/or four and/or five.
  3. General cardiorespiratory exercise programming:
  4. General resistance exercise programming:
    • Frequency: 2 to 3 sessions per week
    • Repetitions and Sets: 2 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions per set. For older adults and deconditioned individuals, use 1 set of 10 to 15 repetition
    • Activity: 8 to 10 exercises including all major muscle groups
    • Rest Intervals: 2 to 3 minutes between sets
  5. General flexibility exercise programming:
    • Frequency: 2 to 3 session per week
    • Intensity: Stretch to tightness at the end of the range of motion but not pain
    • Duration: 15 to 60 seconds, repeat at least 4 times per stretch
    • Activity: Static stretch all major muscle groups.

* It is always a wise idea to consult an exercise professional before engaging in any type of exercise.

The information from the above pages was cited from:

American College of Sports Medicine., Thompson W. R., Gordon N. F., Pescatello L. S. (2010) ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.