Having awareness around the training principles can help you be more efficient with your time in the gym. These are basic definitions. IF you want to learn more, we highly recommend Scientific Principles of Strength Training by Mike Iraetel, PHD, James Hoffman, PHD, CSCS and Chad Wesley Smith.
Top 5 Training Principles
In order of importance:
- Over load
- Fatigue management
- Stimulus- Recovery- Adaptation
Specificity is the most important training principle. If you aren’t training specially for an outcome, you are wasting your time in the gym. If your goal is to get a big chest and bench a large amount of weight, then dropping into a calorie deficit and going for a run everyday isn’t going to help you get there. You must be doing things specific to that goal. If benching a large amount of weight is your goal, you need to be following a specific program that involves growing and strengthening the muscles involved in the movement whilst learning the Correct techniques for a safe and efficient bench.
- Train specific to your goals
- Train using movements that are proven to support that specific outcome
#2 Progressive Overload
Progressive Overload is the second most important training principle and is essential for improvement. In order for out bodies to change, we need to have introduced enough of a stimulus that a response for adaptation occurs. You cannot keep doing the same thing week in, week out and expect your body to change.
We need to progressively increase the intensity and total volume of our training so that our body is forced to adapt to cope with these new demands. There are a number of way we can progressively overload with resistance training. You can do this by weekly increasing your total amount performed which includes, weights, reps or tempo. Alternatively increasing the load of a portion of a movement where weakness occurs. This is why it is essential to track your progress to ensure that you are overloading in some form.
- Use a big enough stimulus that response for adaptation occurs.
- Forcing your body to increase in bone density, muscle mass and strength
- Be safe and smart
#3 Fatigue Management
Fatigue management is regulating your fatigue levels to a point where it is no negatively impacting performance and improvement. When you are continuously overloading, fatigue is unavoidable. Although we can mitigate the effect through regular rest intervals, breaking up your training through the use lighter days and deload periods. Consistently Presenting the biggest overload possible whilst being able to rest and recover properly while make gains.
- Listen to your body
- Rest when needed
#4 Stimulus- Recovery- Adaptation
Stimulus Recovery ADAPTATION (SRA ) refers to the balance between getting enough of a stimulus through training and making sure you are resting and recovering properly enough for the desired adaptation
n to occur. While also not waiting too long between training sessions so that gains aren’t diminishing. Train Hard, Rest Properly then train hard again.
- Train hard and regularly but rest when needed so gains aren’t diminished.
Variation is an important principle; you can add it to your training by changing the intensity, Volume and exercise selection. Doing the same thing over longer periods will cause the adaptive response to slow down and eventually become unproductive. The body will get used to the same thing repeated for too long of a period and the gains will begin to diminish. By periodically adding variation we are introducing an overload stimulus using novelty.
- Don’t vary every session
- Stick to a plan for at least 4 weeks