The Ultimate Guide To Training Principles

A Different Approach To Training Principles

There is a different approach to training principles as most people tell you. Principles of training aren’t a random selection of principles, neither are they the end goal, they are a means to an end and have a specific purpose. They are meant to elicit an adaptation.

When Prometheus stole the fire from Zeus, Zeus shackled him to the mountain and every evening, an eagle came and picked out the liver of Prometheus. Overnight, this wound healed, and Prometheus was healthy again on the next day, until the eagle returned in the evening to pick out the liver again.

This continued every day and night and was Zeus’ punishment for Prometheus.

Training Adaptations Prometheus

What does this story tell us?

It shows that the human body has the ability to adapt. The eagle picked out the liver, overnight the wound healed, the liver got picked out again the next day, and so on.

Why does this matter?

I will get into that right here, right now.

In this article, you will learn

What is adaptation

Adaptation is a biological principle, where the body has the ability to adapt by adjusting to an environment and undergoing physiological changes.

In short, adaptation is the body’s ability to adjust and undergo physiological changes.

This ability and how to influence adaptation is why it is important to understand training principles.

What is the importance of adaptation for training

According to Zatsiorsky and Kraemer ‘Adaptation is one of the main laws of training. If training is planned and executed correctly, the result of systematic exercise is an improvement of the athlete’s physical fitness, as the body adapts to the physical load.’

How does the body adapt and what’s the adaptive process

As a recap, adaptation is the biological process, where the body has the ability to adapt by adjusting to an environment and undergoing physiological changes.

The adaptive process looks as follows, normally the body is under a condition of ‘homeostasis’ which refers to the inner milieu being in balance.

Due to training, the body is put out of ‘homeostasis’ into ‘heterostasis’ where the inner milieu is out of balance. During the heterostasis, performance levels decrease, and in the process of recovery and regaining ‘homeostasis’ the body adapts to a higher performance level than previously.

Training Adaptation Supercompensation How Does The Body Adapt To Training

The Adaptive Process Simplified: Training Stimulus followed by a recovery from a training stimulus followed by an adaptation to this stimulus

In very simple words, the adaptive process goes through a stimulus – recovery – adaptation, therefore it’s also often referred to SRA (stimulus, recovery, adaptation).

But now the questions are

  • How do you elicit adaptations in the first place?
  • Then, once adaptations are elicited, how do you maintain and secure these adaptations?
  • And then how do you direct these adaptations? How do you get these adaptations into the direction you want them to go?

A different approach to training principles and its’ practical application

Answer these 3 questions, how to elicit adaptation, how to secure adaptation, and how to direct adaptation, brings us to the practical application and the different approach of training principles.

Consequently, there are training principles that trigger adaptation, then there are training principles that secure or maintain adaptations, and then there are principles of training that direct adaptations.

What are these training principles?

Principles of training that elicit an adaptation

  • the training principle of an optimal stimulus
  • the training principle of progressive overload
  • and the training principle of a varied stimulus

Principles of training to secure and maintain these adaptations

  • the training principle of stimulus and response
  • the training principle of continuity and reversibility
  • and the training principle of periodization and cyclization

Principles of training to direct the adaptation

  • the training principle of individuality and age-appropriateness
  • the training principle of increasing specificity
  • and lastly, the training principle of interdependency

What is different about the principles of training?

Number 1, it’s not a random selection of training principles and each principle of training serves a specific purpose, which is adaptation. Remember, adaptation is the main law of training.

Number 2, every principle of training has a biological basis. As we discussed previously, adaptation is a biological process.

Check out this table showing, the implication of the principle, the training principle, and its’ biological basis.

Training Principles table What Are The Different Training Principles

This table shows the different training principles, the implication of each training principle, and the biological basis for each training principle.

Number 3, it provides a ‘What’, a ‘How’, and a ‘Why’.

If you are hooked on understanding the importance of training principles, just go ahead and join.

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What I like about this model is, that it provides, the ‘What’, the ‘How’, and the ‘Why’. This ‘What – How – Why’ structure has been popularized in one of the most successful TED Talks from Simon Sinek called ‘How great leaders inspire action.’ and he dissects what it means to have a what, what it is you are doing, a how, how you do it, and the importance of the why behind it, to really understand what are the motives or what is the why of doing it.

Check out Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk

In closing, it’s very important to understand that it remains a selection of training principles, there’s no right or wrong. It’s a set of principles and if you take these principles to heart, you understand them, and you can apply them to your situations, you will be successful.

Remember, what Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

‘As to method, there are may be a million and one, but principles are few, the man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble, the man who understands principles can successfully create his own methods.’

Rounding-up the different approach to training principles

For the following lectures, it is important to understand, that nothing is written in stone. These principles of training serve as a guideline, they should not be viewed in isolation, they overlap, they complement each other and actually, and some of them exclude each other.

However, at the core of training and principles of training is the body’s ability to adapt.

Now, you’ve been through two posts introducing training principles, now it’s time to check out the first principle of training The Training Principle Of An Optimal Stimulus