Rules out principles in…

Rules are a great way to get people into a good/bad mindset or feeling of guilt more often than not. If you break the rules you’re bad, if you use the principles as a guide then you’ll remain on track. Let’s use the aeroplane analogy to talk training principles, now I’m no pilot but a plane is said to be off course between 80 & 90% of its flight, being steered and realigned back on course constantly to end up in the place we intended. With your training, let’s hope your not off track 80% of the time but if we think about the context of your life in 168-hour blocks also known as a week, there may be certain weeks that don’t go as planned. Rather than the guilt that comes along with the breaking of rules, let’s use your training principles to ensure we remain on track. The first is specificity, starting with your goal in mind, let’s use strengthening the hips and thighs as an example, your program needs to be designed to use those muscles, the back squat would be a great exercise specific to that goal. The plane may be slightly off-course but as long as there are some squats being done in the week then we are back on track. The second principle is overload, overload refers to the amount of stress placed on the muscle group we are trying to develop, this is usually done via increased weight, a back squat going from 50kg to 55kg for example. Let’s calculate this load for a second though if you have a squat at 50kg for 10 repetitions that = 500kg when we do 3 sets we lift 1.5 tonne through those muscle groups. Let’s say you have a home gym and you can’t actually increase the weight the second way we can do that is to increase repetitions, this would be an increase of 2 reps per set or 100kg, taking our load per set to 600kg and our total load through the muscle groups to 1.8 tonnes.

The other slight variation on the overload principle can be the manipulation of time under tension, let’s say for example you wanted to stick exclusively to body weight exercise without any load, a way you could increase total load is to increase the time the muscle is under tension, maintaining the same form and time it takes to perform the exercise in this case a squat, however, increasing the time from 30 seconds to 45 seconds, this is often done in a group setting or interval style training by certain trainers. You may also find it a useful principle for your isotonic holds, wall sits, planks and hollow holds. In short the overload principle applies via you providing an appropriate level of stress to the muscle group to ensure it is continually challenged and continually having to adapt to be ready for that same load or more next time, in short, if you can get comfortable being uncomfortable then your overloading and challenging appropriately, the plan is back on course. The 3rd principle eluded to in the last sentence is progression, if we aren’t continually adapting to the overload then we are not progressing, this is where the art and science comes in, we need to know your body and progress the overload specific to the goals in a calculated manner while also responding the body’s feedback, soreness, flexibility, range of motion, rate of perceived exertion and energy levels to ensure the plan continues on course without having to pull into a nearby airport for some refuelling or downtime for appropriate fatigue management.

So the 3 principles

  • Specificity- make sure your training the muscle groups you want to in order to achieve your goals
  • Overload – we need to manipulate load through resistance/ weight, repetition or time under tension
  • Progression – stretch the comfort zone, get comfortable being uncomfortable to ensure we keep heading toward that goal!

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“I have been training with Amy for about 4yrs & I can honestly say she is the BEST trainer I have ever had. She knows exactly how to train a woman's body & she gets results! She always sets new challenges & is quick to fix my technique, while explaining why & how my body should feel & react, which allows me to get the best out of each session. In addition to that, Amy is a wonderful, caring & positive person that gets along with all personalities suiting each individuals needs & strengths.

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