In setting up a program for a client looking for health-related fitness, how would you utilize the Principles of Training? Explain for each principle: overload, progression, specificity, variation, and reversibility.

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The listed principles of training can be applied to just about any fitness regiment. Whether we are talking about walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, or other forms of exercise, those principles apply. The question doesn't state what the fitness regiment is, nor does the question state what the target goal...

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The listed principles of training can be applied to just about any fitness regiment. Whether we are talking about walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, or other forms of exercise, those principles apply. The question doesn't state what the fitness regiment is, nor does the question state what the target goal is for. However, I don't think it matters as the question seems to be asking for more explanation regarding what those principles are. In order to explain those 5 principles, I will use long distance cross country running as I am a cross country coach.

Let's start with overload. An overload occurs when a person asks their body to do more than their current fitness level. An extra demand that the body isn't used to is placed upon the body. An overload can be created in a variety of ways, and the acronym FITT can help you remember that overloads can be created with frequency, intensity, time, and type. Frequency is the number of times a person would do the activity. During the summer, my runners run 3 days per week. Once the season starts, they go to 5 days per week and eventually 6 days per week. The intensity of running workouts changes as well. Sometimes runs are "talking pace." Sometimes they are tempo pace, best effort, or hill work. Those workouts change the type of running being done. When a distance runner is asked to do a sprint workout, this is a change in type that overloads their body. As for time, one run per week is always the "long run." It is a greater distance of a run. Consequently, it is a longer time on the run as well.

The increasing of time and distance on a run is also an example of progression. Distance runners want to progressively be able to run farther and for longer. The workout distances have to progress in order to avoid hitting a plateau of fitness. Using my own runners as an example, many come in "2 mile" fit and they finish the season "9 mile fit."

Variation means changing what the body is being asked to do. This helps target all around fitness. It could be something as simple as asking my runners to do a hill workout every other week. The hill forces runners to change stride lengths and body positioning, and this alteration helps develop overall leg strength. I also sometimes completely vary the motion of my runners. I will have them play ultimate Frisbee for 45 minutes. This is very different training for them, because it is 45 minutes of stopping, starting, quick turns, and sprints.

Reversibility refers to having the person retain all of their fitness work. Having your client run 5 days per week and then take a week off doesn't help them. Their growing fitness levels will be undone by the lack of training.

Specificity could refer to targeting specific muscle groups. It doesn't make sense to have my cross country runners bench pressing every day. Their goal is a 5 kilometer race, and bench pressing isn't specific to their intended goal. It can help all around fitness, but big gains in the bench don't translate to increased mile paces. Similarly, it doesn't make sense to make my distance runners to repeat sprint workouts every other day. Cross country is a long distance sport, so the training needs to specifically prepare them for long distances.

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