If you have started including body weight exercises such as push-ups, planks, squats and lunges in your exercise routine, you are on the cutting edge of fitness. Every year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys thousands of health and fitness professionals to determine the top 20 fitness trends worldwide. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises and bootcamp, the top picks for 2014, are not going anywhere, but experts say 2015 will be the year we return to basic exercises and incorporate fitness technology into our exercise programs.
The top five out of 20 fitness trends for 2015 are:
1) Body Weight Training
While body weight training is the original form of strength training, it has only been formally implemented into exercise prescriptions over this past year. Body weight exercises have the benefit of using minimal to no equipment, making it a simple and inexpensive form of exercise. Another reason these exercises are a great pick for everybody is that they can be customized to easier or more difficult versions of the original exercise. For example, lunges can be performed using a wall or bar for support if balance is an issue, or a hip extension can be added for a more advanced version. Finally, these exercises can be adapted for individuals with disabilities. For example, an individual who uses a wheelchair may be able to perform push-ups by putting his or her legs or hips on a bench for added support.
2) High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT involves several bouts of a high-intensity exercise followed by a short rest period. The exercise and rest times vary depending on the program but can be as short as five seconds of as long as eight minutes. The workout continues with alternating exercise and recovery periods, accumulating 20 to 60 minutes of work. HIIT training ranks high on ACSM’s list because it can be modified for people of all fitness levels and special populations. Additionally, it can be performed on most exercise equipment and in most venues, such as a track, treadmill, elliptical, arm crank, cycle, pool, and rower, as well as many more. A treadmill or track can be used for sprinting or simply quick walking, whereas elliptical or arm crank might be good options for individuals with balance or coordination issues.
3) Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals
There are many general and specialty certifications offered by accredited organizations for health and fitness and clinical exercise professionals. As the fitness field expands, there is a growing desire for professionals with education or formal training in this area. For example, if a professional is focusing on clients with disabilities and chronic health conditions, ACSM/NCHPAD offers a course on becoming a Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT), where education and training on adapting exercises and creating effective programs is provided.
4) Strength Training
Strength training has always been a focus for men, but has recently risen in popularity among women and older adults. Adding resistance training to an exercise prescription has many benefits, such as decreasing body fat, combating the loss of muscle mass during aging, improving metabolism, increasing bone mineral density, and enhancing overall quality of life. There are various types of strength training equipment that can be used, including traditional free weights and dumbbells, weight or circuit machines, elastic or resistance bands, medicine balls, body weight (see trend one), or household items like food cans or milk jugs. Machine or circuit equipment is recommended for people who are new to exercising, have limited strength or function, or for whom safety is a concern. Free weights are a more advanced mode and can be used by individuals who have the control and strength necessary to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. The ACSM recommends performing eight to 10 strength training exercises, targeting the major muscle groups, a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week.
5) Personal Training
Due to the increasing demand of educated, certified fitness professionals (see trend three), certified personal trainers are becoming available in most health and fitness settings. Commercial fitness centers, community centers, medical fitness programs, and corporate wellness programs are examples of venues that employ personal trainers. Personal trainers are valuable in that they are able to develop individualized exercise prescriptions to help you achieve your specific goals. They should be able to provide modifications and adaptations to exercises to create the most effective workouts possible.