Fitness Fundamentals

There are several principals that belong in this category.  We’ll keep things simple by starting with the key fundamentals that, when applied correctly, will yield tremendous results.  They also represent the most common failures in achieving a fitness objective.

Overload – Consistency – Progressive   Resistance – Specificity

Overload –  The principle of overload states that the body becomes stronger and more efficient, only when forced to work at or near maximum capacity.  The body must be given a stimuli that justifies an adaptation in the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems for the purpose of handling an increase in energy expenditure and workload intensity.

The physical manifestation of this principal is failure.  Failure suggests that by the end of a training set you have expended the maximum amount of energy possible and must recover before repeating another set.  In strength training the amount of resistance you are using should be such that the last repetition in a set is very difficult to perform without compromising proper technique.  In cardiovascular training the heart rate and breathing pace is elevated but oxygen uptake is still possible without “losing you breath” though recovery is necessary.

Consistency –  Adaptation does not occur after one training session or sporadic, infrequent training sessions.  Stress to the body must occur on a regular and frequent basis.  You must train with consistent regularity.   Every second and fourth Monday of the month for one year is consistent but clearly not enough to experience any physiological adaptation.  Consistent regularity is the key.  The ASCM, American College of Sports Medicine, exercise recommendations are specific and easy to fulfill as long as you prioritize your fitness pursuits.

Progressive Resistance – As the body adapts the initial training load no longer provides adequate resistance or stress.  It no longer satisfies the overload principle.  Therefore the amount of stress or training intensity needs to increase in order to experience further growth.  You must progressively increase the amount of stress or resistance.

The principals are the same for all training objectives.  A body system needs to incur frequent and consistent stress in order to experience any adaptation.  The variables are the system being trained, the method of measure, the method of training and the specific training objective for the individual.

Specificity – A specific desired outcome must be accomplished by a specific type of training.  Increased cardiovascular fitness will be accomplished with regular cardiovascular exercise.  Increased strength and muscle size must be accomplished with regular weight training.  If you want to increase your ability in an exercise or movement you must perform that exercise or movement using the above principles.  Specific training objectives will be achieved through specific training programs.

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