Principles of Training

Chapter 2.2 - Applying The Principles of Training

The Four Principles of Training

For training to be effective and to ensure that the person training gets the most out of demanding exercise sessions there needs to be a set of guidelines or rules to follow. These are stated below:


Matching training to the activity AND to the person.

When designing a training programme, we need to make sure we are targetting the muscles and actions we want to improve.

We also need to take into account the individuals needs.


Gradually increasing the level of training.

The training we undertake needs to be a gradual process to allow our body time to adapt.

If we try and do too much too quickly, we are at a higher risk of getting injured.


Making our body work harder than normal.

Adaptation and progress will follow overload because the body will respond by adapting to the stress.

To overload, you can increase the following:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Time Spent Training


Any fitness improvements or body adaptation caused by training will gradually reverse and be lost when we stop training.

Performance can deteriorate if training stops or decreases in intensity for any length of time.

It takes longer to gain fitness than to lose fitness.

The FITT Principle

The FITT method ensures that athletes adhere to the principles of training. Frequency, Intensity and Time are all part of making sure you overload while you're training.


How OFTEN you should exercise

You can overload by increasing how often you exercise and this will depend on the performer's level of ability and fitness.

You need to make sure that enough recovery is given between each session to reduce the risk of injury.


How HARD you should exercise

You can overload by gradually increasing the intensity of your exercise, e.g. lifting heavier weights.

How intensely you train depends on the type of fitness you want to improve and your fitness levels.


How LONG you should exercise for.

You can overload by gradually increasing the time you spend on a certain exercise or by increasing the overall time spent exercising.



You need to match the type of exercise and method of training to what it is the athlete is want to improve.

For example: If you are wanting to improve cardiovascular endurance, you need to do exercise that uses lots of muscles, like running and cycling, and select the appropriate method of training.

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Principles of Training

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