In the serious sports world, FITT is meant for the general population of societies who are basically striving for a more active life-style as their peak performance in sports. For those who are more serious, training principles ought to be more advance so that training becomes more scientific and predictable for peak performance in sports. Here are the six advanced sports training principles for more serious athletes.
In many ways, specificity is similar to what we have discussed under the type or training activities under FITT. The reference here is to the kind of sports activities been used to boast peak performance in sports. When it comes to more serious sports training, it is only prudent to select and engage in sports specific activities to induce the kind of training benefits for peak performance in sports. A sprinter should be doing more sprint drills compared to long distance running. Although it is not wrong to do some endurance work in season to increase the overall cardiovascular output. The body of a sprinter will respond more specifically to fast twitch training by performing more sprint related drills and practice.
Adaptation refers to the body’s ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands and training. When we put our bodies through strenuous training activities, they will response to the increase stimuli by becoming stronger, more efficient and responsive with time in order to meet the new demands been set upon. Adaptation to exercise and training do not happen overnight, but the effects of increase activity can be felt within 24 hours. Soreness of muscles, lack of mobility and a general feel of fatigue are common responses to increase physical demands. Conversely, when training or physical activity levels are lower, the body will also adapt by becoming less efficient strong and responsive. This explains why athletes lose endurance levels if they stop training for even a short period of time. Hence, in the quest for peak performance in sports, it is important to raise activity levels to levels that will induce adaptations from the body.
The principle of overload goes hand in hand with adaptation. In order for the body to respond in a positive manner toward peak performance in sports, the activity load must be increased to a level that will signal the body to change. If we keep the same training intensity level, the body will respond by adapting to a level that will comfortably achieve all the required efforts. When this stage is reached, no further progress will be made unless the intensity level is raise. This is where the principle of overload comes in. Training intensity can be raised to induce the body system to continuously adapt.
When we overload in terms of training intensity, this must be done in a progressive way. If this is not done, serious injury can occur, and the body will not respond and adapt as well. For example, say a weight lifter can bench press 100kg comfortably now. In his quest for heavier lifts, if he raises his next training lifts to 150kg, the body will not be able to carry out the lifts as physiologically, the muscle capacities, energy generation and structural gain is just not strong even to sustain such drastic sudden overload. However, if the weight lifter raise his next lift by 5kg to 105kg, and practice that for a few days and weeks, the body will have the physiological capacities to sustain this training intensity. Once 105kg becomes comfortable, the athlete can than raise the resistance level by a small amount again. Progressive overload allows for the body to respond and adapt smoothly, leading to peak performance in sports with time.
The principle of reversibility is more a warning to athletes in serious training for peak performance in sports than anything else. “If you do not use it, you will lose it!” That is how fitness and sports skills are. An athlete who has gained immense endurance capacity to many months of training will lose this level of fitness gains in double quick time if he does not sustain his training intensity. Studies have shown that it takes 6 to 8 weeks to make significant aerobic gains through sound training, but that gain can disappear in 10 days without sustained training activities. In order to prevent this form of reversibility of training gains, athletes must seek to avoid lowering training intensity and also inactivity.
And finally the variation principle of sports training refers to having a wide range of activities to stimulate and sustain training motivation. It might appear to contradict the principle of specificity here, which is why it is important for coaches and athletes to really strike a balance between the two principles. When doing so, it is paramount to take into consideration the motivational levels of the athletes. Some athletes are very self-motivated to train for peak performance in sports. For these athletes, planning varied activities might not be necessary. For athletes with lower motivation levels, especially younger athletes, there is a need to constantly change activities to induce the necessary training improvements for peak performance in sports.