The principles of exercise prescription (Ex Rx) are designed to enhance the individual health and fitness goals of the client.

Modified:5/18/2017 2:50 AM

The principles of exercise prescription (Ex Rx) are designed to enhance the individual health and fitness goals of the client. They are specifically designed, client-based training programs with the intention of improving physical fitness in healthy individuals, as well as those with chronic disease, disabilities, or other health conditions. The guidelines of Ex Rinclude the FITT and FITT-VP principles.

The FITT principles include Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. This employs the basic components necessary to set up an effective training program. The FITT-VP principles include these basic four with the addition of Volume and Progression. These principles are based on the scientific evidence regarding the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise. The addition of Volume and Progression were included to accommodate individuals whose fitness level and overall health will allow them to progressively make changes to their exercise program to continue improving their fitness level.

There are numerous factors to consider when designing an exercise program. The client’s current health status must be strongly considered. This includes weight, age, height, sex, family history, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and neuromotor functioning. All of these factors are important to take into account when developing a training program to avoid injury or other health concerns. Cardiorespiratory is an exceptionally important factor to take into account because there is a significant risk of injury if cardiorespiratory health is not first tested and monitored. Neuromotor functioning is essential to test to avoid injury and allow for proper use of the exercise equipment.

Once preliminary testing has been completed and all factors assessed, the exercise training session can begin. The components of the exercise training session are as followed: warm-up, conditioning, cool-down, and stretching. The warm-up phase consists of some form of light-to-moderately intense exercise, lasting no longer than 5-10 minutes. This is strictly to get the muscles and joints working and ready for more intense activity. It also allows the participant to focus on range of motion and practice proper technique before conditioning begins, which will help reduce the risk of injury and increase the effectiveness of the exercise. During the conditioning phase, intensity of exercises can be increased to accommodate the client’s fitness level. This phase involves a variety of aerobic, resistance, neuromotor, and/or sports activity, with a duration of 20-60 minutes. Participants can adjust their activities to improve their fitness level and overall health. Afterwards comes the cool-down phase. During the cool-down – and much like the warm-up – participants should perform a light-to-moderately intense exercise of no more than 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the muscles and cardiorespiratory system, including heart rate and blood pressure, to slowly recover and return to their normal state. The last phase, the stretching phase is essential in recovery. Stretching the muscles and joints acts like a miniature exercise in its own right. It warms the muscles even more which improves range of motion and reduces injury and soreness.


American College of Sports Medicine. (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (9th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins