I’m not sure where I heard this saying before but it has always stuck with me. “Methods are many, principles are few, methods often change, but principles never do.” If we apply this to fitness training there are many different methods in order for us to achieve our goals. For instance if we are doing Cross Fit, powerlifting, taking a group fitness class, or just doing our own workout in the gym, these are all methods of training. The saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” holds true in the fitness world as there are many methods of training.
However, what doesn’t change are the principles to training. Unlike methods these do not change and hold true for no matter what type of training you are currently using.
- Progression – You must be progressing yourself towards your fitness goal. For instance if your goal is to get lean tone muscular arms, then using 5 lb. dumbbells for 3 sets for your entire program will not get you the results you want. Why? Because you violated the principle of progression. You did not progress. For instance you could start with 5 lb. dumbbells for 3 sets but then progress to 4 sets, 5 sets, and then heavier weights such as 8lbs. or 10 lbs. A good way to ensure progression is to start with the end in mind and then work backwards from there.
- Specificity – Is just a fancy word for being specific about your training. If your goal is to become a better swimmer then your training is not going to be running on a treadmill. Cross training is okay, but your main focus must be placed on the discipline or targeted on the area you are trying to improve.
- Overload – You must challenge yourself to more than you are accustomed to. If you are weight training you need to overload the muscles in order for them to grow and come back stronger. If we go back to the example of obtaining lean tone muscular arms and we have decided to use 5 lb. dumbbells for 3 sets of 50 repetitions we are violating the principle of overload. In this instance if you can complete the exercise for 50 repetitions the weight you are using is too light and will not create an overload in the muscle. As a general rule if you can complete more than 15 repetitions with any given weight, the weight you are using is too light and needs to be adjusted.
So there you have it! Make sure no matter what training you are doing does not violate these 3 principles. Also, if your goal is to have lean tone muscular arms like mentioned in the example above check out our Strong Arms workout right here at The Body Holiday and subscribe to BodyHolidayTV for more great fitness and nutritional videos.