What are the General Principles of Sport Training?


General principles of sport training include adaptation, overload, progression, specificity, use and disuse. Adaptation is a process of enforcing muscles to remember particular activities, movements or skills. By repeating that skill or activity, the body adapts to the stress and the skill becomes easier to perform.

Adaptation explains why a beginning exercisers are often sore after starting a new routine, but after doing the same exercise for weeks and months the athlete has little, if any, muscle soreness. This also explains the need to vary the routine and continue to apply the Overload Principle if continued improvement is desired.

Overload Principle states that a greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to take place. The body will adapt to this stimulus. Once the body has adapted then a different stimulus is required to continue the change. In order for a muscle (including the heart) to increase strength, it must be gradually stressed by working against a load greater than it is used to.


To increase endurance, muscles must work for a longer period of time than they are used to. If this stress is removed or decreased there will be a decrease in that particular component of fitness. A normal amount of exercise will maintain the current fitness level. According to the principle of progression there is an optimal level of overload that should be achieved, and optimal time frame for this overload to occur. Overload should not be increased too slowly or improvement

is unlikely. Overload that is increased too rapidly will result in injury or muscle damage. Exercising I above the target zone is counterproductive and can be dangerous. For example, the weekend athlete who exercises vigorously only on weekends does not exercise often enough, and so violates the principle of progression. It makes us realize the need for proper rest and recovery. Continual stress on the body and constant overload with result in exhaustion and injury.

One should not (and cannot) train hard all the time. Doing so will lead to overtraining and a great deal of physical and psychological damage will result. Specificity means training must go from highly general training to highly specific training. The Principle of Specificity also implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. To be a good cyclist, you must cycle. The point to take away is that a runner should train by running and a swimmer should train by swimming.

Use/Disuse means that your muscles hypertrophy with use and atrophy with disuse. It is important to find a balance between stress and rest. There must be periods of low intensity between periods of high intensity to allow for recovery. The period of lower intensity training, or the rest phase, is a prime time for a bit of cross training.


Individualistic Principles

Individualistic principles are based on individual differences which may be physical or practical. Some of these differences are as follows:

1. Older athletes generally need more recovery time than younger athletes.

2. The heavier the load lifted, the longer it will take the muscles to recover.


3. Fast twitch muscle fibers recover quicker than slow twitch muscle fibers.

4. Women generally need more recovery time than men.

5. Large muscles heal slower than smaller muscles.

6. Fast or explosive movements require more recovery time than slow movements.

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