Four Principles of Training

I’ve always been fascinated by health and wellness, but never really became passionate until I came to college as a Kinesiology major. When you’re interested in something, the more you learn about it, the more passionate about it you’re likely to get. Unless maybe if you’re obsessed with something like a TV show and you find out that in real life one of the actors was a total jerk. Then it may be a bit tainted for you. But back to Kinesiology…

Almost every class related to exercise starts out mentioning concepts that are central to a majority of the theories in place. Which makes sense, because you have to make sure you can grasp the main concepts before becoming an expert in the more detailed ones. This applies to starting (or maintaining) an exercise program to! Your workouts will be more efficient, effective, and safe if you have a better idea of what an exercise program should look like in the first place. That being said, I want to address some major principles of training that should be applied to your program.

The Principle of Specificity: The training that you do should be specific to what your goals are. For example, if you want to run a marathon in a few months, doesn’t it make sense that you would want to train for it predominantly by running? You wouldn’t be able to improve your aerobic endurance very well if the only form of exercise you did was a bench press.

The Principle of Overload and Progression: In order to improve, whether in performance, muscle tone, etc., you have to challenge yourself. I’ve fallen prey to this myself in the past by running the same distance and speed everyday for months. Our bodies were created to be adaptive, so if you don’t challenge them, they won’t have a reason to spend energy in order to adapt. You can apply this principle by increasing weight, repetitions, sets, speed, distance, etc. It depends what form of training you’re doing for how you can ramp up intensity, but it’s necessary for you to keep improving.

The Principle of Diminishing Returns: If you could make a graph of someone’s progress in a training program, realistically it wouldn’t be linear. When the person first starts a new program, they will make rapid improvements in performance at first as compared to later on when they’ve been training for a few months and can only improve so much from there. This doesn’t mean you should stop a program halfway through because you aren’t improving as rapidly. It just means that you shouldn’t be discouraged when your improvements aren’t as rapid as they were at first.

The Principle of Reversibility: If you don’t use it, you lose it. No matter how fit you are, if you stop exercising, your body will revert back to how it was before you started training. It takes energy to maintain muscles, and when your body no longer senses the stress produced by exercise, it strives to conserve energy by no longer building them up and so therefore causes decline in fitness. However, it is possible to exercise less intensely and frequently and still maintain things like muscle tone. You just aren’t likely to improve much, if any.

So there you have it! These are principles that make sense, but are easy to forget about. Make sure to keep these in mind in your own training. If you want more information on these concepts, Google them and I promise you’ll find loads!

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