The 6 Necessary Training Principles behind Any Successful Program

In order to progress and improve our fitness we have to put our bodies under additional stress. Doing this will cause long-term adaptations, enabling our bodies to work more efficiently to cope with this higher level of performance. Training to improve an athlete's performance obeys the principles of training: consistensy, recovery, regularity, variety, progression and overload.



Truly the gatekeeper to long-term success. We need to be consistent with a good training program, diet, and adequate rest. Not consistent for two months, but consistent for years, even decades. If you fall off the horse, get back on. Sound training principles must be a way of life.


Is there adequate rest built into the program, or will it cause you to overtrain?


The body thrives on regularity. A program shouldn’t consist of random exercises performed at random intervals, with random intensity and random repetitions.  “We need a system and then a plan—that’s when we’re dangerous.” The body won’t adapt to random activity. Without regularity, there is nothing to adapt to. It is best to set goals and regularly and methodically do those exercises that get us there fastest.


Variety doesn’t mean different exercises every time we workout. We can do the same few exercises for each body part for years. What needs to vary is the intensity, volume, and rest between sets. In order to adjust intensity using bodyweight exercises, different variations of the same movements and different types of workouts need to be performed.


It’s amazing how much this principle is overlooked in gyms across the nation. People going to the gym year after year, lifting the exact same weight. Why? Considering the other principles are in place, probably because they don’t have a program that progresses from easier to more difficult movements, whether it’s more weight, a harder variation, more reps, less rest between sets, faster tempo (more reps/less time), or any combination of these. At the same time, it is also possible that a program progresses too rapidly, causing over-training.


In order to change body composition and gain strength you need to put muscles under stress that they are unaccustomed to. The body requires new stimulus to force it to adapt. Then, when the adaptation has occurred, once again new stimulus beyond what was previously done is required. Progression and overload go hand-in-hand, and the right amount of each is essential.

Last modified on 05/08/2015

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