One of the most important exercise principles is periodization. Basically, periodization is a process of constantly changing a training program in order to ensure the most advantageous benefits in physical performance (Fitrex, 2003). It involves progressive varying of the different aspects of a training program during a specific time frame (Frankel and Kravitz, 2003). In other words, periodization is basically the manipulation of various variables in order to optimize the exercise program.
Generally, the main variables that can be changed include the types of exercise performed, the number of exercises per session, the number of sets per exercise, the number of repetitions per set, the rest intervals between exercises and sets, resistance used for a set, tempo of muscle action, type of muscle action, and the number of sessions per day or per week (Fitrex, 2003).
Although there a lot of variables that can be manipulated, only two of those variables are considered the most important.
These two are: the volume, which is the amount of exercise performed, and the intensity, which is the difficulty of exercise performed as compared to a person’s maximum or limits (One 2 One Nutrition, 2007).
In addition, periodization can be divided into three cycles: the microcycle, which usually lasts up to 7 days, the mesocycle, which can last from 2 weeks to several months, and the macrocycle, which is basically the over-all period training and can last up to a year (Frankel and Kravitz, 2003).
Basically, periodization is important, especially to athletes, as it helps prevent over-training. While exercise alone helps a person to stay fit, periodization, on the other hand, maximizes the training session of a person as it helps him or her improve his physical performance in a short span of time.
Moreover, exercise periodization also improves muscle endurance, strength, motor performance, and power, among others (Fitrex, 2008). Specificity Another important principle of exercise is specificity.
Basically, specificity means that the exercises performed are specific to what he or she is training for (Incledon, 2008). It also means that in order for one to become better at a particular exercise or training skill, one has to constantly perform that exercise or skill (Quinn, 2008). In other words, if one’s objective is to increase flexibility, then he or she should engage in flexibility exercises or if one’s goal is develop body strength, then he or she should perform strength or resistance exercises and so on.
Moreover, the principle of specificity also states that training sessions should go from general training to highly specific training exercises in order to build the skill that one is training for (Quinn, 2008). Simply put, to be a good swimmer, one must constantly swim. Likewise, to be a good cyclist, one must focus training on a bicycle, to be a good batter in baseball and to be a good runner must continuously run and so on and so forth. Generally, applying the principle of specificity in training not only helps one to be physically fit and healthy, but also improves one’s craft or skill.
Furthermore, specificity in training is also highly beneficial to people whose objective is to boost their endurance and strength, in particular, athletes. For example, in strength training, the type of exercise that the person performs must be specific to the type of required strength (Sports Coach, 2008). However, the downside of specificity in training is that a person may tend to focus too much on a particular skill and he overlooks the other areas that need training as well.
Nevertheless, specificity is essential for everyone, especially athletes, as it effectively boosts one’s particular skill and thereby enabling him or her to reach his or her full potential for that skill (Sports Coach, 2008) Training for Muscle Groups Muscle training, in general, is a series of exercises that aims to improve the endurance, form, and tone of the different muscles of the body and have various categories depending on the muscle being developed. These include maximal strength training and power training among others.
However, the routines in training these muscles largely differ depending on the frequency and intensity of each of the training sessions. For example, if one is training a muscle using heavy loads, then he or she should at least rest that muscle for at least a week before it is trained again. On the other hand, if one trains a muscle using light loads and with fewer repetitions, then he or she may train that muscle again after a shorter period of rest (Poliquin, 2007).
In other words, the more intense the muscle training is, the more recovery time a muscle needs before it is trained again. On the other hand, the less intense the muscle training, the less recovery time a muscle needs before it is trained again. Generally, body builders around the world agree on this principle although the studies of several American schools suggest that the training frequency is determined not only by the intensity of the workout or exercise, but also the gender, the training method used, and the genetic make-up of a person (Poliquin, 2007).
Nevertheless, it has always been a practice by most body-builders to train their muscles with great consideration to the intensity of the workout. Furthermore, several articles and studies also suggest that the length of a particular muscle exercise also determines the intensity. For example, if one trains for a longer period of time, then he or she should train with less intensity (Stettler, 2007). On the other hand, if one trains for too long with the same intensity, then he or she hampers the body’s ability to recover from training (King and Schuller, 2003).