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Weight Training Specificity

How You Train is What You Get
    The Principle of Specificity is based on the body responding to specific exercises of the training program. The body's adaptations will occur to the same muscles and systems targeted in the exercises. Whatever exercise you do, your body will adapt accordingly. This applies even when the exercises are performed under different environmental conditions

     For example, performing heavy biceps curls causes the biceps to get stronger and larger, without affecting any other parts of the body. However, after exercising at high altitude for a few weeks causes your entire body make physical changes to adjust to the the thinner atmosphere.

     The Principle of Specificity is that when you train with weights your body's natural mechanisms automatically respond to make your muscles stronger.

     Muscles increase in size (called hypertrophy), but the lack of testosterone in women limits their  increase in muscle.  Refer to Gender Differences.

     The Specificity Principle is most evident in the body types of elite track and field athletes who are at the extremes of the strength/endurance events. Throwers have much larger and stronger bodies than distance runners, who tend to be much smaller and more slender.

     While the Principle of Specificity explains the effect that strength training exercises produce inside the muscles, specificity of learning is a different concept. It concerns coordination between muscles, or skill learning.

Examples of How to Apply the Principle of Specificity to Weight Training

1. If your training goal is general fitness with a focus on improving posture, emphasize strengthening the extensor muscles in the upper back and shoulders while increasing flexibility in the front of the shoulders and chest. Be sure to get specific direction from a physical therapist or qualified health professional.

2. If your training goal is to improve rebounding in basketball, emphasize explosive exercises, such as power cleans and speed squats to increase your vertical jump.

3. If your training goal is improving stability for downhill running in cross country, add strengthening exercises for joint stability in the lower body, such as squats, lunges, or other weight bearing exercises.

    Remember, these principles complement each other. They do not operate independently.

    Check out Training Principles Applied to understand more about the training principles used a former Soviet coach.

    There are many high quality programs based upon sound training principles that are generally effective in achieving their stated goals, but each program must be adjusted for individual and gender differences.

An Ineffective Weight Training Program

    When an athlete begins to lift weights they will experience results due to overloading and feel good about the early increase in strength; however, without a weight training guide or mentor to direct you, you could experience one of these possible scenarios:

1. The expenditure  of large sums of money only to end up with poor results.

2. The use improper technique and/or not following recommended safety rules, can result in injury.

3. Following the more is better philosophy, the result is overtraining which can result in depression, illness, or injury.

4. Undertraining will result in little or no improvement.

5. The development of muscle imbalances will cause soreness, pain, and injury.

6. Hit a plateau sooner than you expected, followed by very slow improvement after that.

     Difficulty in adhering to a weight training or exercise program can become a source of frustration. This is usually followed by discontinuing the program, preventing the steady progress necessary to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes.

References:

Fitness Training Plans

Developing A Training Plan

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

 
Physical and Mental Training Considerations
Learning & Training Evaluation Theory
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Training Approaches
Training Strategies
Daily Training Tasks
Principle Of Variation
Training Transfer
Off-Season Conditioning
Peak Performance Training
Endurance Training
Building Endurance
PDF  Weight training Exercises
PDF  Strength Training Exercises
PDF  Power Skating Classes
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan
   

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