To hear that episode of The KFit Show, click the image below
Here is an overview of the training principles I believe are the most important:
The principle of progression is the most important of the training principles when it comes to gradual improvements. The principle states that there should be progressively increasing demands on the body in order to see improvements. This means that each week, the intensity of exercising is increasing in order to make sure your muscular and energy systems are not remaining stagnant, but instead are PROGRESSIVELY getting stronger. This is one of the main benefits of having a proper perioidization plan for performance.
In order to get stronger, or to improve your performance, you have to consistently overload the body past the point of which is has already adapted to. What this means in training is that you have to keep adding more intensity, duration, frequency, or change the type of training in order for your body to continually adapt. If you don't overload the body, then it will not make the necessary adaptation (i.e. become stronger), because there is no stimulus to do so.
The principle of specificity is one of the most important to sport training. What it states is that you will only see improvements in the ways that you have specifically trained. If you're only do bench press, you can't expect to get stronger legs (never skip leg day, bro). Likewise, if you are an athlete in a specific sport, you need to train that sport more than anything else. In the gym or in your fitness training, you need to train as specifically as possible (same muscles, same energy systems, same movement patterns) to your sport in order to see the specific improvements.
Your body is very good at adapting. That is why it is so important to follow the previous principles that I have outlined. When you progressively overload the system and ensure it is specific to what you are trying to achieve, your body WILL adapt and make the necessary adjustments/improvements in order to improve your performance on the next training session. That is...only if you follow the next principles
In my opinion, the most important training principle to follow is the principle of recovery. Unfortunately, it is also the most underutilized of the ones I have listed. The principle of recovery says that unless your body is properly recovered, than it won't make those necessary adaptations to improve and thus your performance will suffer. If you don't fully recover, your body can't perform in a way that effectively overloads it to a point where it feels it needs to adapt (see how all these principles work together?). You absolutely MUST not undervalue your recovery and the importance it has on performance. Check out the episode to hear how you can monitor your recovery!
Finally, the principle of reversibility states something we've all heard before - if you don't use it, ya LOSE IT. In exercise training, this means that if you don't work your muscles, or stress your energy systems, then not only will it not improve, but it will actually reverse to a point where it was before (a WEAKER point). As optimized performers, we don't want this. So in order to not reverse, be sure to follow the previous training principles to effectively improve and optimally perform!
Thanks for reading!
Kalan is a Human Performance Expert & PhD. Candidate who aims to optimize YOUR performance for both sport and every day life. He is recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), and has obtained his MSc. Kinesiology degree at the University of Victoria. Through his masters thesis research, Kalan has established and implemented the KFit Test Battery for Combat Sport Athletes which is used by both Karate BC & Karate Canada as their standard fitness test for athletes across the country. Additionally, Kalan is an exercise physiology lab instructor at the University of Victoria, and trains individuals (including athletes) every day to help meet their fitness needs and goals. He has many years of experience both as an elite athlete and high performance coach and is knowledgeable in the many fields surrounding fitness and training for sports performance.