Training Principles and Improving Athletic Performance.

How to get the most out of your training and improve sporting performance.

Are you looking to improve your sporting performance? Or are you training daily and not seeing results? If so, then keep reading, we may be able to help! 

We all wish we were full of natural talent.. the kind of person who takes to the sporting field or training track and does it with ease, no effort required! We all know the person, a few names have probably popped into your head. We’d all love to be that person!

For some of us though, this just isn't the case. This means we have to train, eat correctly, and do our recovery… AND even then we still don’t see ourselves improving. We aren't getting faster? We aren't getting stronger and we are losing our motivation! Why is this the case? What am I doing wrong you ask yourself?

Well one thing could be your ‘Training Principles’. 

There are many training principles and if we were to go through them all this would be a novel. For times sake we are going to go through just three:

  • Overload
  • Progression 
  • Specificity 

Training without these principles is okay and any training program if done safely is going to get you results. BUT, if you want to really improve and get the best results you NEED to start applying training principles. If not, you are going to reach a plateau and eventually you’ll get bored and throw the towel in.

If you incorporate a few more training principles you can reap the rewards of improved athletic performance, reduced risk of injury and a training program you’ll want to complete! Combine some hard work and effort and you will be able to match it with those ‘natural talents’. 

For those of you who are training daily, with the same routine and no plan or goal you need to  stop! Why might you ask?

Well, for starters I bet you haven't made any great improvements in quite some time. Secondly, I can also imagine you are getting pretty bored  of it.  Finally, I bet your sessions are getting pretty easy…. or perhaps even harder!

To turn this around I’m going to delve a little deeper into the training principles I mentioned earlier and give you some to consider for your training. 


I thought I would start with this one as this is probably the easiest to apply. The definition of overload is the exposure of tissues (muscles) to greater than accustomed-to training intensities. This can be done through increasing and/or reducing certain aspects (frequency, intensity, volume, rest etc.) of an exercise. Without getting into the physiology behind it, what this does is challenges your current fitness/performance levels and forces them to adapt to the new workload. Correct overload is going to lead to an improvement in whatever fitness component you are looking to improve (strength, power, speed, endurance etc.)

If not done correctly and over the correct time period, overload can be dangerous. Excessive overload and/or inadequate rest can result in overtraining, injury, and reduced performance.


I chose to talk about progression as it ties in well with ‘overload’. The definition of progression is the gradual and systematic increases in training intensities to maintain tissue overload and, therefore, a continued training adaptation. To summarise this simply is that through overload we can make some great gains, but in order to keep improving we need to progress our training (Progression). Eventually you will adapt to your training load so you will need to adjust your training through overload!

Similar to overload, rate of progression is important. If you progress too quickly this can result in injury and if you progress too slowly you won't get to where you want to be


Lastly I chose specificity as it is one that is quite often overlooked, especially for amateurs. The definition is that the fitness/performance component (strength, power, endurance, or flexibility) improves through training movement patterns and intensities of a specific task. What this means is that you need to train for the specific fitness and sporting components you want to improve. For example, if you are a basketballer looking to improve your jump height, swimming slowly for 1km isn't going to be the best use of your time. You are going to get much more benefit if your training program and principles are focused around improving power! In short your training should be directed at improving the fitness/performance of a sport’s key components.

So I have very BRIEFLY discussed with you three very important training principles. Hopefully this has already sparked some ideas in your head on how you can improve your own personal training program to get better results.

We could spend all day going through training principles and how to best use them and that's the best part! You can always keep learning and progressing to help improve your own personal results!!

If you are someone who has more questions and wants to keep improving you’ll be glad to know that we have an awesome team of Exercise Physiologists here at EP Physio Plus who want to help you! 

Call the clinic on 8682 6665 and or book online by clicking the link below.

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