Training Principles

Training Principles

There are several scientifically accepted training principles that should be used or taken into consideration when planning any training program to enhance physical performance. 

If you’re creating a sports strategy, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at these principal principles of training:

Principle of Adaptation

This refers to the ability of the body to adjust to the demands imposed.

As we practice the specific movements of a sport, we’ll eventually be able to dominate it, which will vary in time according to the condition of the subject.

Principle adaptation

For adequate performance, the applied stimulus must be between certain intensities in which the organic response produces the optimal effects.

Each individual has different capacities and limitations, so loads always needs to be adapted to each person after a previous evaluation.

The adaptation also explains why a newcomer to the world of weights will experience a lot of fatigue after completing their first routines, then after spending a few weeks at it becomes much stronger, and eventually is able to withstand more intense training. For a highly trained athlete, this principle refers to the weight becoming more efficient for a particular exercise, requiring a lower energy expenditure for the same effort..

Principles for Ensuring Adaptation

Continuity and Periodisation

The continuity of the training makes it possible to reach the genetic potential of athletes in their performance

The principle of repetition guarantees the fixation of habits and knowledge, the stability of technique, the acquisition of experience, and sports results.

Principles ensuring adaptation

The concept of periodisation is closely related to the processes of performance improvement through sports planning.

It consists of determining periods or cycles of training in which the training loads are distributed according to the components of the load itself.

Periodic regeneration

One procedure used by top-level athletes is to overcome the stagnation point through a long regeneration cycle of between 6 and 12 months. This regeneration cycle is based on doing loads of much lower intensity and volume.

Individual Differences Principle

This takes into account that, as each person is unique, we are likely to respond slightly differently to the same exercise or routine.

It is very important to bear this in mind when preparing our routine, and not to let ourselves be guided by what works for someone else…

Individual differences principle

Some of these differences between individuals are related to size, genetics, training experience, past injuries, gender

For example, a woman may need a little more time to recover than a man, or veteran athletes more than young ones.

You certainly can’t plan a routine overnight, and you need to know the body and its reaction to the stimulus very well. But with this information, you’ll likely not be following the typical routine you’re given the same day you sign up for the gym…

Principle of Overloading

This training principle states that the body needs a greater stimulus than the previous one to have an effect on it and to «force» it to adapt again.

If we want to improve our performance, both strength and endurance, we must progressively increase the workload.

Variety and Modification of the Load

Varying load increases are a prerequisite for improved performance.

The idea of load modification refers to providing stimuli of different nature (e.g. alternating heavy sets of bench presses with technical and light sets of dead lifts).

Principle overloading

The optimal relationship between load and recovery is directly related to the principle of super compensation, determining that after each load or stimulus an optimal recovery time is needed to obtain adequate performance results.

If it’s a muscle, whose strength we want to see increased, we will train with increasing loads. For improvements in resistance, the muscle should work for a longer period of time than it does when the intensity is higher.

Principle of Progression

This principle implies that there is a certain level or threshold of overload that must be exceeded, and a specific time frame for this overload to occur.

A systematic and gradual increase in load over a period of time will bring about positive results in our performance, with less risk of injury.

Principle progression

If the increase in overload is very slow, short-term improvement is unlikely, but if it occurs very quickly, it may result in injury or muscle damage.

This training principle requires respect for proper and correct recovery and rest. The continuous stress on the body, as well as the constant overloading, leads to exhaustion and injury.

A clear example is the «weekend athlete», who trains vigorously, only on these two days, violating the principle of progression and generally not experiencing any improvement in terms of fitness.

Principle of Use / Disuse

This training principle has quite a lot of influence from the bodybuilding world, especially from sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

It follows the premise of «use it or leave it» – the muscle gained needs to be worked, you need to give the body a «reason» to maintain it.

Principle use disuse

There’s no need to panic… just because we’re taking a break from training doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to lose all the muscle we’ve gained.

For this, there are several factors: the person’s physical condition, how long they’ve been training, how long they’ve stopped training for…

If we suffer an injury, illness, we’re overworked, we’re on holiday… whatever the reason, the important thing will be the time we spend not training, which motivates us to fall from the level reached. However, if we ‘re good enough athletes during the time we have been training, we’ll return to the same level in a short period of time, and, on top, we’ll beat it in a short period of time too.

Principle of Specificity

The principle, essentially, establishes that if we want to see a part of our musculature improved, or a specific skill, we have no other choice but to train it.

Principle specificity

A runner trains by running, a swimmer by swimming… if we want to improve, then we need to practice, practice and practice a little bit more…

While having a good sports base will help us a lot, and we can even resort to routines that indirectly lead to the improvement we’re after, the truth is that if we want to be the «best»  in a certain sport or action, we will need to train specifically for it

Related Entires

  • Do you know what’s involved in Neural Load Training? Find out here.
  • We recommend readingthis post to optimise your sports planning.
  • Training Volume. How many sets and repetitions are required? Continue Reading.
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David has been linked to the world of strength since he was very young, as he says, his first contacts were with a pull-up bar in a park.
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