In yesterdays Posting on the importance of Base training I spent a small amount of time explaining the 3 "most important" Principles of Training.

These are the 3 Principles we have already looked at:
Principle 1: Specificity
Principle 2: Progression
Principle 3: Adapatation

So in todays Post, I am going to look at the other 7 Principles of Training, that will help you to get the best results from your training, and guide you safely past dangerous and unsafe training programs and practices.

Principle 4: Individual response -
Contrary to popular belief, all men (and women), are not created equal, and they do not all respond to the training stimulus in the same way.

Some of us train better in the morning, some of do not need to spend as much time working on our running , while others of us need to work a little harder on our running.

Our bodies also respond differently to exercise, so applying a "cookie cut" program or training session to a group of very different athletes, will not always deliver the the best results for each participant.

Principle 5: Overload:
In order for you to see improvement in your fitness or performance, there must be some sort of demand or Overload placed on the bodies physiological systems.

The training load (Overload), is controlled by manipulating:
  • Training Frequency (How many times per week or day you train)
  • Training Intensity (What % of your maximum heart rate you are working at).
  • Training Time (The duration you spent training).
This is better known as the F.I.T principle

Manipulating these variables will result in the body adapting to the Overload, and you will see and feel the improvement. improvement.

The key to seeing continued improvement, is to ensure there is a continual and progressive Overload of the bodies systems.

Principle 6: Variation:
Training is meant to be enjoyable. If you do the same indoor session on the bike, not only will there no longer be sufficient Overload on the body, and improvement will cease, but you will very quickly lose interest in the training, and boredom will set in.

In its simplest form, your training program should alternate between easy and hard days, and activities of intense work, should be followed by some form of recovery.

Try mixing up:
  • the time of day you train at
  • where you train
  • the route that you run along
  • the lane that you swim in
  • the people you train with
Principle 7: Warm up & Cool down:
The fact that something as simple as a warm up and cool down had to be included as a Training Principle says a lot in itself.

Every training session should be started with a 5 - 10 minute active warm up, including:
  • a short cardio-vascular segement (3 minutes)
  • a combination of dynamic stretches (leg swings, Arm rotations) and dynamic movements (lunges, lateral hops).
  • a period of time building into the workout
Every training session should be ended with a cool down (a full body stretch forms part of the cool down):
  • Slowly reduce training intensity and velocity, allowing the heart rate to come back to lower levels.
  • Come to a gradual stop, and commence stretching.
Principle 8: Long Term Training:
Remember, Rome was not built in a single day.

This applies to all sports and exercise pursuits. The long term, continual application of a Specific Overload to the body, will lead to improvement.

If you try to do to much to soon, there is a good chance the body will breakdown (because of injury or illness) and you will have to cease exercise, and the next principle will become a reality very quickly.

Principle 9: Reversibility:
Use it, or lose it.

After developing a god level of fitness and conditioning, if you cease exercising, or drastically reduce the training stimulus, the body begins Detrain.

This basically means that the body starts to slowly return to unconditioned levels of fitness, and after a few months of doing nothing, you will be "unfit" and feel "out of shape".

Principle 10: Moderation:
Exercising in moderation is the best means to achieve athletic success.

Balancing your training, your social, emotional, mental and spiritual spheres, will ensure you will avoid burnout, injury, and more severe issues such as Overtraining and Excessive Fatigue Syndrome.

Make sure you have at minimum 1 recovery day per week, your training sessions are performed at a variety of training intensities and your nutritional and hydration status is optimal.

By keeping a few of these principles in mind while you are training or developing a training program, you will be sure that you are not only following a more scientific approach to your training, but are giving yourself the best opportunity for success.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
blog comments powered by Disqus