Training Principles

Principles of Training

The basic principles of training are SPECIFIC, OVERLOAD, RECOVERY & DETRAINING. The principles remain the same, whether you train outdoors or indoors.


In addition to developing general levels of all round fitness in an athlete, coaches need to consider the specific fitness requirements, demands and techniques of a given event, and identify which area’s are involved, determining which need to be improved and find training programmes that meet this specifically.


A muscle will only strengthen when forced to operate beyond its customary intensity. The load must be progressively increased in order to further adaptive responses as training develops. Much will of course depend on the starting level (untrained, trained or well trained) of the athletes fitness. The training stimulus will vary per athlete and period covered and should be gradually raised. Today's stimulus will no longer apply tomorrow so it is therefore necessary to use different/new stimuli.

Overload can be progressed by:

Increasing the resistanceIncreasing the number of repetitions

Increasing the number of sets of the exercise

Increasing the intensity - more work in the same time, i.e. reducing the recovery periods


Rest is required in order for the body to recover from the training loads and to allow adaptation to take place during the recovery period.


When training ceases the training effect will also stop. It gradually reduces at approximately one third of the rate of acquisition.  Athletes must ensure that they continue strength training throughout the competitive period, although at a much reduced volume, or newly acquired strength will be lost.