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ACSM Recommendations for Exercise Training, Progression, Weight Loss, and General Health

• There is a Positive Dose Response relationship from health and exercise that results from increasing exercise frequency, intensity, or time/duration of exercise. This is called the “overload principle” that states that there needs to be slow and steady progression in training types, as well as variations in the three modalities previously mentioned (Frequency, Intensity, Duration/Time). During your training, you should try to only increase one of these categories.

• For example, if you normally go out for a walk 3 times a week, try to get out 4 times per week, this would be affecting the frequency aspect.

• An example of increasing intensity would be, walking/running at an increase speed, or increasing the amount of weight to move in a given exercise.

• An example of increasing Duration/Time would be, instead of walking for 20 min, try to get out and walk for 22-25 min.

• When trying to increase one of these categories, you should not increase the other categories, as this can lead to over-training, which can then lead to injuries.

• If you are wishing to increase intensity or volume, do so by increasing by 5-10% per week.

o Example: If I walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes 4 times a week, at 3mph, and I want to increase my Intensity, then I would walk 30 minutes 4 times a week, at around 3.5-4mph.

o Normally, once you increase intensity, then you should lower your volume of training (Either frequency or Time/Duration) but if the task is already very attainable and within reason, then you may not have to lower your Frequency or Time/Duration. However, if it is noticeably much more difficult and you can barely get through it, then you should definitely decrease your volume of training.

Recommendations for Exercise for General Health:

• It is recommended for most adults to achieve 30-60 Minutes of Moderate exercise PER DAY (3-5 days per week), or 20-60 Minutes of Vigorous intensity PER DAY (3-5 days per week) to properly influence general health benefits o HOWEVER- Less than 20 min per day can be beneficial in previously sedentary individuals (those who have not been exercising regularly for the last 3 months)

What are a few examples of Moderate and Vigorous intensity exactly?


• Stationary Bicycling

• Walking @ 3mph

• Gardening/Yardwork

• Cleaning the house

• Dancing


• A Brisk Walk

• Light jogging/running

• Tennis and other competitive sports

• Circuit Weight Training

• Swimming laps

• Light Bicycling

Recommendation for Overweight and Obesity:

• Start with a weight loss goal of 5-10% of your current weight

• Aerobic Training should be more than or equal to 5 days per week at a moderate or vigorous intensity, for 30 min per day or at least 150 minutes per week. The training type should be Rhythmic and using large muscle groups Ex.) Walking, running, cycling, or swimming. You can split up the 30 min per day into 3 groups of 10 min of activity if you cannot do the 30 minutes straight. It is recommended to try to progress to the point of achieving around 250min/week of aerobic training throughout your training.

• If you are participating in Resistance training as well, the recommendation is 2-3 days per week, 60-70% your estimated 1 rep max, incorporating 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions of the major muscle groups and following the Overload Principle as previously mentioned. This helps in reducing muscle mass loss when on a restrictive diet and increased caloric expenditure. This type of resistance training can decrease muscle mass loss by up to 40%

• A review of weight loss interventions revealed that Regular exercise and a diet results in

20% more weight loss compared to a diet alone.

-All information has been researched and recited by ACSM in their Guidelines for Exercise

Testing and Prescription – Tenth Edition

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