Used for GCSE PE Module Revision

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Principles of Training

There are 4 main principles of training:-

  • 1 - Specificity
  • 2 - Overload
  • 3 - Progression
  • 4 - Reversibility
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1. Specificity

Specificity refers to the the appropriateness of training to the type of fitness required. There are 3 main areas to foucus on. The training should be specific to:-

  • 1 - The type of sport or activity you are doing.
  • 2 - The muscles / groups of muscles required for the sport/activity.
  • 3 - The type of fitness you require.


1- Type of sport. If you take part in kayaking, upper body strength is essential as little use is made of the legs. Cycling on the other hand is all about leg strength & stamina.

2 - Muscle groups. A boxer requires strong arms and sholders so much of the training focusses on these muscles. The stomach muscles are also toughened to help absorb punches. Leg muscles whilst kept generally fit are not a priority.

3 - Type of fitness. You will agree that sprinters like Dwain Chambers and Marathon runners like Paula Radcliffe are both extremely fit. However neither would be very successful at the others sport. Sprinting is about explosive power over a short period of time whilst long distance running is all about stamina.

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Overload refers to the requirement to do more fitness training than normal. This forces the body to work harder. Over a period of time the body will adapt to this higher level of activity making it fitter. This process is repeated therefore continually increasing fitness.

There are 4 things which can increase the level of training. USe the acronym FITT to remember them.

  • F - Frequency - Increase how often you train from say 2 days to 4 days a week.
  • I - Intensity - Increase the amount of weights lifted or the speed of running etc.
  • T - Time - Increase the time spent trainning e.g. from 30min sessions to an hour.
  • T - Type - Vary the type of training to use different muscle groups.
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Progression refers to the amount of progress made due to the training regime. There are 3 stages.

Stage 1 - during early training progress tends to be quick.

Stage 2 - as fitness improves more trainnig is required to maintain progress otherwise progress tends to slow.

Stage 3 - if training remains the same progress slows almost completely and a plateau (levelling off) occurs. Even with increased training (overload) eventually this state will occur for everyone as there full potential is reached.

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Reversibility refers to the process whereby if training is decreased or stopped altogether the level of progress/fitness is reversed. Muscle tone, definition and fitness decrease; a state know as ATROPHY.

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