Principles of Training

Principles of Training

  • Progressive overload
  • Specificity
  • Reversibility
  • Variety
  • Training thresholds
  • Warm up and cool down

Progressive Overload

  • Level by level increase in the training load when an athlete adapts to the workload in the previous level.
  • Goal is to make the athlete adaptive to variating stress levels.
  • Loads are increased at intervals and should never be excessively high or excessively low.
  • Marginal loads can cause declination of fitness. Loads beyond an athlete’s capacity can cause muscle stress and strain and lead to injury.
  • Progressive increase in training loads and time are subject to Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type – FITT principle.


  • Involves development of muscle memory and neuromuscular pathways relevant to specific sports as required.
  • Stress is placed upon a specific part of the body and adaptations occur in regards to the stress.
  • Muscle groups generally involved include: quadriceps, hamstrings, slow twitch fibres (running) and biceps, triceps and fast twitch fibres (weightlifting).


  • Effects on an individual’s body due to training breaks or reduced intensity of training.
  • Physiological adaptations to intense training or previous training routines are detrained (muscular atrophy occurs, resisting heart rate is hindered).
  • Almost 14 days worth training is required to regain loss of adaptability and fitness.


  • Inclusion of nuances of training techniques, to relieve boredom as well as prevent loss of productivity due to repetitive tasks.
  • The training type can be the same but some variations in the methods can be brought. For example, creating a set of aerobic activities including marathons, swimming and cycling.
  • Changes avoid muscle overuse and injury owing to consistently stressing on the same activity.

Training Threshold

  • The minimum amount and time for workouts and exercises to show results.
  • Aerobic threshold – the minimum point of exercise routines at which an aerobic training effect is visible. Fitness gains can be made at 70% maximum heart rate (MHR) for aerobic threshold.
  • Anaerobic threshold is reached at 80% MHR.
  • Training over the anaerobic threshold is common for professional athletes since it improves their lactic acid tolerance.

Warm Up and Cool Down

  • Warm-up sessions are conducted to give athletes a minor head start for major training reps that follow throughout the routine.
  • Includes activities that involve light body movements (burpees, jogging) but can raise and increase body temperature and stimulate the cardiorespiratory system.
  • A cool down session follows a warm up session as a window for recovery.
  • Cool down sessions last for 10-15 minutes.
  • The goal on complementary warm up and cool down sessions is to minimize stiffness, soreness and disperse lactic acid.