In 2009, for the first time, more detailed guidelines for muscle-fitness training were included in the recommendations for health-enhancing physical activity. Exercise that improves muscle fitness had been recommended previously, but the instructions had been very general. Now, for every 18-64-year-old Finn who aims to carry out health-enhancing muscle-fitness training, the following guidelines are available:

Frequency: At least twice a week

Movements/exercises: 8–10 movements

Sets: 2–3 sets/movement

Repetitions: 8–12

In addition to muscle-fitness training, it is good to develop motion control.  In this regard, it is worth adding ‘basic movements’ to the exercises. Through basic movements, balance, coordination and control of the body are developed at the same time. With this in mind, it makes sense to stop carrying out supported seated movements as soon as possible.

How to apply the recommendations for health-enhancing physical activity  

As with any general recommendations, these guidelines should be followed in line with the individual’s starting situation. If muscle-fitness training is completely unfamiliar to an individual, the recommended exercise may be too strenuous to start with and, as a result of training, the individual may experience unnecessary muscle pain and strain injuries. In this case, the exercise is not health enhancing, but temporarily weakening.

It is safe to start with one weekly training session, choosing 4–6 movements, doing 1–2 sets of exercise and repeating each movement 15–20 times. The resistance should be such that the final repetitions are effortless for the first couple of weeks, and should then introduce some effort without compromising the performance technique. Follow-up instructions are shown in the above table.