Scientific Principles for Fitness
In the study of exercise science, there are universally accepted scientific training principles that must be followed to get the most from exercise programmes and improve both physical fitness as well as sport specific performance. In Part 1 I looked at 3 of the 6 principles â€“ that of Individual Differences, Progression, and Overload.
Here, in Part 2, I look at the next 3. All of which are important when designing an optimal exercise programme, and training schedule whether you are a complete beginner, a seasoned fitness campaigner, or an elite athlete.
The Principle of Adaptation
Adaptation refers to the body’s ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands. And it’s how we learn to coordinate muscle movement and develop sport specific skills. Repeatedly practicing a skill or activity makes it second nature and easier to perform. Adaptation explains why we can feel sore when we start a new exercise routine, but after doing the same exercise for weeks or months we have little, if any, muscle soreness.
The Principle of Use/Disuse
The Principle of Use/Disuse implies that when it comes to fitness, you really do “use it or lose it. This explains why we decondition and lose fitness when we stop exercise, or reduce the intensity of the exercise we do.
The Principle of Specificity
We’ve all heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect”, and this is the principle of specificity in action. This principle simply states that exercising a certain body part or component of the body primarily develops that part. The Principle of Specificity implies that, to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. So, a runner should train by running, a swimmer by swimming and a cyclist by cycling. I would add that it’s also important to have a good base of overall strength by including conditioning routines into your programme.
As a Trainer and Coach, I add additional guidelines and principles to this list. But the 6 basic principles I’ve covered in Part 1 and Part 2 are the cornerstones of all other effective training methods, and form the solid foundation for fitness training.
Designing effective exercise programmes that adhere to the 6 Principles is challenging, which is why elite athletes turn to a professional coach or trainer for help. We, as ‘mere mortals’, can do the same, and in my practice, I do all the thinking so that my clients don’t have to and can focus entirely on the workouts.