As athletes strive to improve their performance through effective training techniques, so too can workers or “occupational athlete” benefit from optimally planned exercise training programs designed to boost occupational physical performance.
Before initiating a rigorous physical training program, it is essential that employees obtain medical approval for exercise.
Types of Fitness Training for Improved Occupational Performance
Physical training programs for improving occupational physical performance typically assume one of two forms: 1) job- or task specific training and 2) generalized physical fitness training. Task-specific training is accomplished by performing the physically demanding tasks of the job.
This must be done in a progressive manner. For example, if the main physically demanding task of a given occupation is to lift 20 boxes weighing 40 kg each from a pallet onto a waist-high shelf, this may be beyond the physical capacity of a new employee. The new worker may need to perform fewer lifts or may take longer to complete the task.
Simply performing this task is a form of task-specific training. Once a worker is able to perform this task satisfactorily, the intensity of the exercise can be progressively increased to provide a continual training effect. This can be accomplished by manipulating the load lifted (resulting in strength gains), the lifting rate (resulting in aerobic gains), or the total number of repetitions (resulting in muscular endurance gains).
As the physical capacity of the worker increases (be it strength, cardiovascular endurance, or muscular endurance), the percentage of an individual’s maximum capacity utilized during the job task decreases. This, in turn, decreases the likelihood or risk of injury for that individual.
Task-specific training is valid, and may provide improvement in task performance.
Major Fitness Corporate
Emphasizes specific muscle groups and energy pathways needed for optimal job performance. For example, a job such as The Packer, that requires periods of rapid lifting, you transfer boxes from the pallet, to the conveyor, to the magazine.
This task is likely to have high strength and aerobic demands, and the individual may be required to work in confined postures. In this case, a general Major Fitness Corporate program would involve progressive resistance exercise to increase strength and muscular endurance, as well an aerobic training component to improve aerobic capacity.
The advantage of a Major Fitness Corporate training program is that it increases overall physical capacity and fitness of the individual.
The training program is not narrowly focused, thus avoiding muscular imbalance. Increased physical capacity also may be generalized to other tasks. In other words, the employee may improve performance of other tasks, not just the one they were trying to improve. Generalized physical fitness training using standard exercise equipment reduces risk of injury compared with job-specific training.
While jobs requiring a variety of body movements and utilizing the various components of muscle fitness will benefit mostly from general fitness programs.
The worker or “occupational athlete” can derive as much benefit in terms of improved performance as the Olympic athlete can by participating in optimal physical training programs.