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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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