The Seven Principles of Resistance Training

When we focus on resistance training and overall athletic performance, there are seven overriding principles that govern improvement. When you train, try to keep these principles in mind when looking to improve. Often, people find that they hit “plateaus” of performance; however, if you review your program, you will find that you are most likely neglecting one or more of the following principles:

1. overload principle

2. Principle of Progress

3. Principle of specificity

4. principle of variation

5. principle of individuality

6. Principle of diminishing returns

7. Principle of Reversibility

overload principle

This is one of the basic fundamentals of resistance training. It basically means that if you want to get stronger or grow muscle, you need to work or ‘overload’ the muscle. When you overload the muscle, you are actually tearing the muscle tissue at a microscopic level. When this occurs, the body tries to overcompensate, anticipating that it will have to do it again. By doing so, more muscle tissue is laid down, which causes muscle growth.

Principle of Progress

Again, this is one of the basic principles of weight training. This means that as you get stronger, it doesn’t make sense to keep lifting the same weight; you need to ‘progress’ by lifting heavier or pumping out more reps. If the progression is too great, the weight will be too heavy to lift, however, if there is little or no progression, there will be no performance improvement.

Principle of specificity

The concept of specificity is that if you want to improve your performance in a certain area, train in that area. In other words, train how you play! If you want to improve athletic performance in basketball, for example, there’s no use running laps around an oval: do basketball-based athletics, like suicide runs, ball drills, etc. Resistance training is the same: if you want to improve your pushups, do pushups and exercises that mimic that movement.

principle of variation

Some people get confused that variation and specificity conflict with each other. In fact, they absolutely don’t! The idea of ​​variation is that you mix up your training routine so your body doesn’t adapt too efficiently to what you’re trying to achieve. Again, using the push-up as an example, you can vary your push-up workout by changing it to incline or decline pushups, placing a clap in the middle, or bringing your hand closer to make it a triceps pushup. Alternatively, you can try a bench press – biomechanically it’s almost identical.

principle of individuality

The principle of individuality covers the differences of people with the ‘X’ factor, and those athletic fanatics who seem to get stronger just by looking at the weights! More seriously, individuality recognizes that everyone trains at different rates. This individuality can be influenced by age, gender, race, nutrition, genetic predisposition, and sleep factors. That’s why it’s important that people follow their individual training routine instead of copying what others seem to be doing.

Principle of diminishing returns

The principle of diminishing returns means that as someone gets fitter or stronger, it takes more effort to keep getting fitter or stronger. A beginner who is morbidly obese will lose a significant amount of weight when he starts out, but as he loses more and more weight, it becomes more and more difficult to continue losing weight. The strength gains are the same. This is why world class athletes train for hours on end every day to try and get a 1-2% improvement!

Reversibility principle

This is the ‘move it or lose it’ rule. It means that exercise must be continued to maintain athletic and strength foundations, or the results will be reversed. In general, the elderly are not as strong as when they were young, partly because they are not as active as when they were young. It has been estimated that an athlete on bed rest will lose approximately 10% of cardiovascular performance. per week! This is why many athletes will maintain their strength and fitness in the off-season: it is much easier to maintain fitness and strength than it is to lose it and try to regain it.

These are the seven principles of resistance training. Try to remember them and keep them in mind when writing your next training program!

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