Our bodies, as with all organisms, adapt specifically to the demands which we impose. Within all forms of training, we cannot expect to see results without proper stimulus. A training stimulus to the body is perceived as stress, and how we adapt to that stress will define our capacity to improve and become more physically fit. It is critical for all of us to understand the governing principles of training so that we can optimize our sessions and reach our fitness goals.  Here are the fundamental principles to be considered:

Individuality

Each and every one of us will respond differently to training. Some of us will adapt better to higher volumes of training, whereas others may respond better to higher intensities. This is based mostly on physiological characteristics, including genetic ability, predominance of muscle fiber types, and stress.

Specificity

Improving your capacity for strength or overall fitness can become very specific. For example, if an athlete wants to improve sprint speed, they must sprint about 98% of their maximum to eventually enhance speed. Furthermore, if your fitness goal is to improve strength, at least 85% of your maximum capacity must be lifted to recruit the muscle fibers responsible for strength gains.

Progression / Overload

In order to facilitate progression, an athlete must continuously overload the body to impose greater demands than before. To increase strength or endurance, an increase in intensity or volume is necessary to maintain muscular adaptations.

Reversibility

The worst principle of them all…if you don’t use it, you lose it. When we take vacations or breaks from training, we are unfortunately subjected to this principle.  On a good note, strength can be maintained for 7-9 days with 1 intense training session.

The principles of specificity, overload, adaptation, and reversibility are why training frequently and consistently are critical to reach your fitness goals - missed sessions are lost opportunities for improvement. Based on these principles and the human body’s ability to adapt to exercise (general adaptation syndrome), reaching your goals is product of consistency. Understanding the principles of training will allow you to optimize your training, along with giving a better understanding of how to achieve success. Life is all about progress, and progress is made through consistency. Day by day, let’s all strive to get better, until the day comes that our goals have been achieved.

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