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Fit 4 Life | The five Rs of training [Part 1]

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon
Anyone planning a training programme should carefully consider: range of motion, resistance, repetitions, rest, and recovery.

Fitness programmes are complex undertakings. There are many variables to consider. The five Rs principle aims to provide a simple way to keep track of the basic tenets of the training aspect of any fitness programme.

So what are the five Rs?

They are the five most important variables of an effective training plan. Anyone planning a training programme should carefully consider: range of motion, resistance, repetitions, rest, and recovery.

The five Rs go hand in hand with other principles such as the FITT principle, which calls for careful consideration of the frequency, intensity, time (duration), and type of training. 


Rage of motion is the complete movement capability of a joint. Joints should be targeted through their complete range of motion.

The considerations for range of motion are two-fold: 

One must target all muscles that act upon the joint and train them accordingly to improve strength while maintaining or improving range of motion. 

The cliché 'a chain is only as strong as its weakest link' applies. If we only strengthen some of the muscles that act on a joint, we will not be able to fully utilise that strength while other muscles involved in movements at that joint remain weak. That is the best case scenario.

The worst-case scenario – the more likely one – is that you will end up adjusting movements to compensate for the weakness(es), leading to further imbalance, loss of range of motion, and injuries.

The second consideration is full-range-of-motion movements. Training for a joint must be built upon movements which take the target muscle from a fully stretched to a fully contracted state. This guarantees improvements throughout the range of motion. 

Keep in mind, however, that not all movements need to be through the full range of motion – partial reps can be used to target problem areas in the range of motion. While there are many practical applications for partial reps, use this high-intensity training method sparingly.


The way most people consider resistance equates to more is better. This could not be further from the truth. Careful thought and testing must inform your decisions about how much weight to use. Though training demands progressive overload, the amount of weight you use, generally, 

should allow you to complete the recommended repetitions without cheating – using body swings or recruiting muscle groups that have no business in that exercise, to move the load.

And, please, leave ego out of training; use a weight that you can handle with proper form.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com