JERRY Diaz, a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer, said there are seven principles of exercise: individuality, specificity, progression, overload, adaptation, recovery, and reversibility.
First on the list is individuality. According to North Carolina triathlon and swim coach Marty Gaal, everyone responds differently to training. Some are able to handle higher capacity training while others may respond better to higher intensity.
Next on the list is specificity. Gaal said to improve one's ability with any fitness goal, one must be very specific. To become a great pitcher, for example, running laps will help the person’s overall conditioning, but they will not develop the throwing skills or the power and muscular endurance required to execute a fastball 50 times in a game, Gaal added.
As for progression, it means that one must start from the bottom. For example, before you can swim the 500 freestyle, you must first build muscular endurance and learn to repeat the necessary motions, Gaal said.
Overload is another principle of exercise. In order to increase strength and endurance, Gaal said you must add new resistance or time/intensity to your training session.
He added that this principle works with progression. To run a 10-kilometer run, for example, athletes need to build up distance over repeated sessions in a reasonable manner in order to improve muscle adaptation as well as acquire strength/resiliency.
But it is also important to keep in mind that any demanding exercise attempted too soon could lead to injuries, Gaal said.
Fifth on the list is adaptation. Over time, the body will become familiar to an exercise at a given level. This will result in less effort and less muscle breakdown.
Gaal said this is why a person who runs two miles for the first time will feel sore, but with adaptation, running the same distance will feel like a warm-up before the main workout.
He said in order for the body to adapt, one needs to change the stimulus through higher intensity or longer durations.
Then there’s recovery. “The body cannot repair itself without rest and time to recover,” Gaal said. “Both short periods like hours between multiple sessions in a day and longer periods like days or weeks to recover from a long season are necessary to ensure your body does not suffer from exhaustion or overuse injuries.”
As for reversibility, Gaal said when a person discontinues or stops performing a particular exercise such as running five miles or bench pressing 150 pounds 10 times, he or she will lose the ability to successfully complete that exercise again. The muscles will atrophy and the cellular adaptations will reverse.
According to Gaal, you can slow this rate of loss substantially by conducting a maintenance/reduced program of training during periods when life gets in the way.
Diaz said one must learn how to apply these principles to get a better understanding of one’s body and how to achieve success.
For professional fitness nutrition inquiries, contact Jerry Diaz through Instagram at @BBJ_Athletics or Facebook.