Training is undertaken by some individuals to improve performance through skill development, and/or physical fitness. Other individuals take part in training as an activity in itself, often within a health-related fitness programme. Training must be seen as a long-term commitment. The changes that are associated with training, whether physiological or psychological, take time to develop. The human body responds to training through adapting to the stresses placed upon it, but the adaptation response is not immediate, it takes place over periods of months rather than days or weeks.
The main principles of training are specificity, progressive overload, adequate recovery, Periodisation, reversibility and overtraining. The effects of training are very specific to the system being used for that training. As a simplistic example, in order to improve swimming ability you need to swim, jogging will have little benefit. Similarly, in order to improve sprinting ability you need to sprint, long distance running will have little benefit because the energy system, skill involved and muscle fibre type used, are not being stressed in an appropriate way.
In order to make sure that training is specific to the activity concerned, the relevance and the choice of training exercise needs to be considered. The following questions should be considered: ï¿½ Does the training exercise stress the appropriate energy system – the same one as is used in the activity being trained for? In many games for example, all three energy systems are involved to differing extents, and each needs to be stressed to some degree during training.
Is the type of muscle fibre being stressed during training the same type as is used during the chosen activity? Similarly to the above, some activities involve using different types of muscle fibre types. Are the skills being practised relevant to the chosen activity? Because learning theory tells us that the development of a stronger bond between the stimulus and the response (muscles) will occur through practice, and similarly there will be the development of a more efficient use of the muscles in a sequence (motor programme) required by the stimulus.
In many activities, training involves a conflict between skill and fitness, since fatigue caused by training is known to affect skilled performance. Hence the tendency to separate skills training from fitness training, but taking the idea of specificity to its extreme, then if an activity involves performing skills when fatigued, they should be practised when fatigued! In order for a training programme to be successful, it must develop the specific physiological capabilities required to perform a given sports skill or activity. One of the more important physiological capabilities related to sports skills and to exercise in general, is the supplying of energy to the working muscles.
Energy provision broadly falls into two main groups – aerobic and anaerobic. Training should thus emphasise the appropriate energy system being used; anaerobic for sprinting and aerobic for long distance/duration activities. Similarly, swimming training programmes have been found to have effects that are specific to swimming. For maximal training benefits therefore, the mode of exercise used during the training sessions should be consistent with that used during the performance of the skill in question.
Another type of specificity relates to the muscle groups used during the training programme. In simple terms, if the performance demands leg power, then the training should be designed to increase leg power, and not arm power The effects of training are specific not just to the muscle groups, but to the movement patterns of these muscle groups as well. In other words, neuromuscular training appears to be motor-skill specific.
Accordingly, training programmes should contain, whenever feasible, exercise activities related as closely as possible to those actually performed during the execution of the sports skill in question. Motor-skill specificity may be best seen in athletes who participate in back-to-back seasonal sports. The footballer, who is in excellent condition for playing football, finds the change in fitness requirements for cricket very demanding at the start of that season.
Specificity of my training How is your training programme going to fit into the ideas described above how are you going to train the appropriate muscles and movements, while at the same time making sure you train the same energy systems as your activity requires? You should explain here how your training programming is specific to your activity. Add your comments here about how you have made your training programme specific to your chosen activity
Overload is the name given to the idea that training activities are harder, more intense or lengthier than the normal activity that the individual is used to. Overload is achieved by increasing the frequency, intensity or duration of training. Overload produces stress within the body, and the body responds by adapting to become more capable of coping with the stress. Overload must be interspersed with suitable recovery so that the body may have time to adapt to the overload.