Laws of training
IntroThere are lots of training programs around, each claiming to be the best. However, there are 7 hard and fast laws of training, which, according to Dr. Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat), must be a part of any effective training program.
Seven laws of training
The Law of Individual DifferencesWe all have different abilities, bodies, strengths, and weaknesses, and we all respond differently o any given system of training. Some examples of these differences are as follows:
- Bigger muscles heal slower than smaller muscles.
- Fast movements require more recovery time than slow movements.
- Women recover more slowly than men.
- Younger people recover quicker than older people.
- Heavier loads require more recovery than lower loads.
The Overcompensation PrincipleYour body overcompensates for training stress by giving you bigger and stronger muscles. The body always tends to overcompensate as it adapts to the stress it receives. For example, if break boards with punches a lot, your knuckles will form calluses to protect them. If you continue to this endeavor, the calluses will grow larger and larger until they look abnormal. The same holds for muscles.
The Overload PrincipleYou can make your body overcompensate by stressing them beyond that which they are accustomed to. To force overcompensation, there must be an overload, stress greater normal, placed on the body. For example, if you keep squatting using the same weight with the same reps and sets, you will experience little improvement in your squats.
The SAID PrincipleSAID is the acronym for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. It means each part of the body responds to a different form of stress in a highly specific way. To become better at squats, you must do squats. To gain powerful kicks, you must train explosively. Training must be specific, so it makes no sense to train for anything other than your sport-specific skills.
The Use/Disuse PrincipleThis “Use it or lose it” principle means that your muscles hypertrophy with use and atrophy with disuse. When you train, you get better at what you are training for; but when you stop training, you lose your “edge” and then you get worse. The body will never adapt unless it is taxed often enough.
The GAS PrincipleGAS is the acronym for General Adaptation Syndrome, which states that there must be a period of low-intensity training or complete rest following periods of high-intensity training. This principle originally applied to psychological stress but has also been applied to physical stress. The body responds to physical stress in three phases:
- The Alarm Phase. The body will not like the overloaded stress place upon it and begins to take drastic measures to combat it.
- The Resistance Phase. The body will try to resist overload stress.
- The Exhaustion Phase. The body will inevitably become exhausted if it doesn’t receive rest from the stress.
The Specificity PrincipleThe body will adapt in a highly specific way to the training it receives. You’ll get stronger at squats by doing squats as opposed to leg presses, and you’ll get greater endurance for the marathon by running long distances than you will by cycling long distances.
However, a strong athletic foundation is needed, because the body may not be ready for such specific training. For example, in training for a ballistic sport, the body may not be ready to act or train this way. Thus, you must move from highly general training to highly specific training.