Principles of Fitness Training

Note: This page still needs editing and enhancement with examples and other references.


1. Specificity—Adapting to Type of Training

<The body adapts to the particular type and amount of stress placed on it
<To develop a particular fitness component, perform exercises specifically designed for that component



2. Progressive Overload—Adapting to Amount of Training

<Placing increasing amounts of stress on the body causes adaptations that improve fitness
<FITT principle for overload:
4Frequency—How often
4Intensity—How hard (This is the most important FITT principle)
4Time—How long (duration)
4Type—Mode of activity

3. Reversibility—Adapting to a Reduction in Training

<Fitness improvements are lost when demands on the body are lowered
<If you stop exercising, up to 50% of fitness improvements are lost within 2 months

4. Individual Differences— Limits on Adaptability

<Everyone is NOT created equal from a physical standpoint
<There are large individual differences in ability to improve fitness, body composition, and sports skills


1. Know each of the training principles!

2. What is FITT?

Fitt is part of progressive overload. It contains four different principles. They are frequency, intensity, time, and type. Frequency is how often do you workout? 3- 5 times a week? By using Frequency, you reduce your likelihood of injury because your giving your body more time to repair and heal. When using intensity and time, says: "Dedicate some of your workouts to long, easy sessions like long walks or light, repetitive weights."Intensity is how much overload are you applying? On a scale of 1 to 10 are your workouts a 5 or a 9? The next principle, time deals with the length of the workouts your doing. Are you working out for 30 minutes or are you working out for an hour each time? The last of the principles is type. What method of exercise do you choose? Walking, Running, Cardio, Muscular? Type is best used when one does a variety of exercises verses one or two. By using a variety of different exercises, this lowers your risk for injury.

3. How can we make best use of the FITT principle to improve our level of fitness?

FITT can be viewed as a set of rules to benefit from fitness training.  FITT stands for frequency, intensity, type and time, and these rules can be used for individuals that are exercising at low to moderate exercise levels for cardiorespiratory and strength training.  The FITT principle can be used as a guide to help develop a fitness plan for a specific individual.


After exercise, the body needs time to rebuild and repair damanged tissue.  Finding the right balance between exercise and rest is crucial. 

Using these four principles will allow you to have physical gains and to improve in overall fitness.


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