If you are trying to make a change and start an exercise routine the first thing many of us do is go to our friend, the google machine to look up how to get started. You find a number of different gyms all with different training programs and before you know it, you run face first into information overload! The next question usually goes something like this, “there are so many options out there, which program is right for me?”
The key to understanding the value of any training program is to have sound knowledge surrounding the principles of strength and conditioning which is what we are going to cover today. From a training perspective, a program that incorporates principles of strength and conditioning will consist of specificity, overload, fatigue management, and periodization. Let’s take a closer look at each of these below.
Specificity is a program that is specific to your goals. If you are trying to be the fittest on earth, you need to train in a way that will make you the fittest on earth. If you are trying to be an overall healthy person who’s trying to lose weight or gain muscle, you need to train that way. If you are an athlete that is trying to push your athletic career in the NBA, you need to train that way. Training needs to be specific to your goals.
Progressive overload means that over time we provide incremental overload to drive our body’s adaptation. For example, if you are trying to elicit a strength related goal, you can progressively overload by adding more reps, by adding more weight or by increasing your frequency. When you are training aerobically, you might increase your intensity or volume. What you want to be wary of is a training program that sacrifices progression in the name of “variety.” Doing so does not allow your body to reap the full benefits of adaptation and ultimately prevents you from hitting your larger goals.
Fatigue management is a huge training principle that is missed in a lot of programs. It’s important to incorporate overload as described above but your training should avoid excessive overload and inadequate recovery. These two in combination can wreak havoc not only on your performance but your long term health as well. Remember that your body feels stress in different ways such as training volume, lack of sleep, a boss coming down on you at work. When it comes to working out, the right training program will be one that manages training stress by striking a healthy balance between volume and frequency of volume. Programs that are too intense too often will create a stimulus that exceeds the athlete’s ability to recover from stress and may result in excessive soreness and residual fatigue. Over time this leads to overtraining which creates long-term decreases in performance and overall health. Signs of overtraining include underperformance, persistent fatigue, working harder without improving results and disordered sleep patterns to name a few.
Periodization is essentially a progresive training plan that involves larger and smaller cycles (micro, meso, macrocycles) that builds someone up from one cycle to the next. This progression is imperative for long term success in achieving your goals.
Now that we covered some of the basics, let’s talk about our approach here at Thrive Fitness. We write our class program for the everyday Joe and Jane that is looking to be healthy, get strong and feel better. Our training program relies heavily on the core principles of strength and conditioning so that we can help our members continually progress and achieve their goals but do so in a manner that allows you to feel good and stay injury free not just along the way but well into the future.
If you are interested in hearing more about our training program, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.