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Applying the Principles of Sport Science

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The Principles of Training

In the following Task I will be explaining the principles of training, and I will be including various aspects of the design of a training programme. I will also be providing examples to give a better insight into the training program.

The principles of training can be thought of as the ‘focal points’ in ensuring the trainee gains paramount amounts of training. Following these ‘focal points’ will ensure utmost achievement and will also carry trainees towards their performance and training objectives. These principles of training are expected to create long term physical changes towards their bodies. These changes are also known as adaptions. The principles of training are as follows:




Overload (FITTA)










Progression is the way in which a trainee will continuously but gradually increase the amount of exercise and work they are doing. This ensures that the trainee’s body has enough time to adapt to the changes, and also ensures that the trainee’s body will not get injured. For example, tearing tendons are an extremely common result of non-gradual exercises, and can result in the entire training program to be halted until the injury is repaired.

The principle of progression is very simple: slowly increasing the overload will give results that have a lasting impact on the athlete. Instantly over-burdening the body can bring undesirable effects. However, those who do not slowly increase their workload will also not see any desirable results.


A common objective to achieve in training is increasing the amount of muscle/strength a person has. Without overloading, a trainee will not be able to achieve a target that is considerably higher than what they started off with. However, an excessive amount of intense energy will cause muscle burnouts, and will render a trainee unable to continue with their training program. The overload principle may be applied by gradually increasing the total workload. However, to prevent muscle burnouts a cooldown stretch should be done. This will gradually help the muscles to relax and will lower oxygen debt. The most common mode of overload is FITTA:

Frequency – how often training must be done to have an impact

Intensity – how intense the exercises must be

Time – how long must be spent on the exercises

Type – the various methods of exercise (static, active, dynamic, passive etc.)

Adherence – being motivated to stick to the program, no matter how hard

An example of the FITTA principle being applied would be to create a training plan that fully complies with FITTA. A good frequency would be approximately three to four times a week, and the intensity should be increased to achieve a heart rate of 220 minus the trainee’s age. The time should begin with about 20 mins a session, and slowly increased to an hour. The type of exercise should also be specific and should vary, in reference to the adherence


Training must be applicable and relevant to an induvial and their objectives. This can be accomplished by adapting various different training programs, and using the exercises that directly make an impact in helping a person achieve a specific goal or objective. For example, if a person is training for a boxing venue, or in this case a football match, their biggest objective would be stamina. For this, exercise like long distance running will be excellent as the training’s internal capillary system will begin to increase. This will then increase the amount of red blood cells that can receive oxygen, which will increase the efficiency of the lungs, and will also decrease that amount of breaths a trainee will need to take for the same amount of oxygen.

Reversibility / Regression

When a person begins a training program, their body begins to adapt to the new changes. However, these adaptations are not permanent. This means that if the training program is stopped, the body begins to ‘reverse’ the effects of training. Even if the training program is reduced or paused, or even continued only at the same level the body still begins to regress into its original state. This is why motivation and encouragement from others is paramount to retaining the current state of a person. An example of this would be an athlete who trains for 45 mins a day, and with a static workload. If the athlete increases the time to 1 hour, the effects will be seen on the body. But if the athlete was to pause this training, or even continue statically, the body will begin to regress, and will render the training futile.


Extreme amounts of certain exercises will cause unwanted effects, such as muscle burnouts, torn ligaments, muscle aches, pulled hamstring and others. Moreover, the parts of the body that are not exercised or focused on will begin to regress back to their original states. This will effectively render the trainees original improvements futile. Furthermore, the trainee’s body will begin to have an imbalance. That is why the principle of moderation is important. Moderation may be applied by taking into consideration various factors such as age, gender, experience, environment and objectives, amongst others.


Variation is useful because it helps a trainee acquire various different objectives and goals. The objective of variance is to help increase the total efficacy of the training program. For example, if a person continually does push-ups, they will train their upper body. However, if a person was to do an entire ‘rep’ which was composed of a push-up, then a jump then going back to the original push-up position, they will train their upper body as well as their quads and hamstring. This gives the added advantage of increasing the efficacy of the training program and getting what is known as ‘more bang for your buck’.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises are any exercises that stimulate the heartrate and breathing rate to increase. The reason for this is because the heart begins to increase the amount of oxygen that it provides to the muscles, which leads to an increase in breathing rate. These exercise are more commonly known as ‘cardio’. Aerobic exercises include simple exercises such as running, waling, swimming, hiking and kickboxing. However, intense amounts of aerobic exercises causes the exercise to become anaerobic. Aerobic exercises have many benefits, including reducing the chance of, or sometimes completely preventing, diseases like diabetes, cancer, depression and others. An excellent way to implement this to a training exercise is to walk to the gym and other destinations, preferably with a backpack or rucksack. One hour of this will burn approximately 250-300 calories.

Anaerobic Exercises

Anaerobic exercises are the opposite of aerobic exercise; they do not cause your heart to increase the amount of oxygen that it provides to the muscles. Instead, the glucose in the muscles is converted directly into energy, and lactic acid. This lactic acid builds up, and can cause oxygen debt, which requires great amounts of heavy breathing to finish. However, constantly undergoing anaerobic exercise will cause a trainee’s body to become more accustomed to completing the oxygen debt.

Resistance Training

Resistance training increases the amount of workload a trainee undertakes to improve strength and power. Famous athletes such as Muhammed Ali used resistance training, in his case he would train underwater. The pressure and high density of water means that it more work is needed in order to complete the same amount of training. Modern day resistance training uses elastic bands to increase the total workload, which in turn increases the total amount of work done.

Power Training

Power training empowers a trainee to apply their optimal amount of workload in a limited timeframe. This is critical for those trainees who have a limited amount of time, but also carries the threat of overload i.e. muscle burnouts, torn ligaments etc. there are various different types of power training, such as heavy strength training, explosive strength training, ballistics and plyometrics.

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