How to Evaluate Any Training Program – Introducing The 7 Granddaddy Laws
The Laws of Training:
With literally hundrends of training programs available, it’s obvious there needs to be some sort of quick method to determine which program is right for you. Using these fitness laws, you can take a particular training program and see just how well it stands up to the proven and tested laws of fitness.
Principles of Individual Differences:
Simply put, we all respond differently to various stimulation. While lifting heavy with low reps might work beautifully for one, it might not induce a response at all for somebody else. Many good training programs will incorporate a variety of exercises and repetition ranges to get the most out of your workout.
If everybody performs the same exercises and same programs, everybody will have different results.
This is important to know because it helps you set realistic goals and avoid frustration when you don’t see miracle changes from one particular program.
Just keep this in mind when picking a program. It might be a great training program that simply doesn’t work for you but the guy/gal next to you is benefiting greatly. If you understand that we all respond differently, you will avoid some frustration early on and be able to set realistic goals as well.
Your body reacts to stress placed on it by adapting. Any good program will have some method of progression built-in.
This is directly related to the overcompensation principle. If you use the same weight and reps workout to workout, then there’s no need for your body to adapt to the same stress that’s being place on it.
As you improve and get stronger, your body will adapt quicker but your recovery abilities may not. This is the idea of split training. Training different muscle groups on different days allows you to fully target one area but allow your overall body to recover in order to be stimulated again.
Most programs get progressively harder towards the end of the cycles. You want a program that starts you off correctly but challenges you and increases the overload on your body.
This can be progressive resistence or progressive overload.
“Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands” Your body adapts to the specific demands placed upon it. In other words, if you are trying to become more explosive in your training, then you must train explosively. If you want to increase your cardio capacity, then look for a program that targets that.
If you do body weight only exercises, then your limit strength can only be increased so much without the use of weights.
Once you know what your goals are (bigger muscles, less fat, faster sprint times) then make sure the program you are on, address that specific training demand.
There’s no reason to do heavy lifting program if your goal is to increase your cardio capacity (while it will it’s not the most effective way to obtain that goal).
Nothing more than a ‘use it or lose’ philosophy. Your body will adapt to demands place on it. Your muscles will increase in size and strength if you impose demands on them. If you stop, they will eventually atrophy because of the lesser stress placed on them.
You should look for training programs that encompass all the major muscle groups. In other words, if a program neglects your lower body, then don’t expect any gains in that area as the muscles aren’t going to be stressed.
You must move from general training to specific training as your goal nears. You will get stronger in squats by doing squats as opposed to leg presses. Your endurance for a marathon will be increased by running long distances vs. cycling long distances.
There is a GREAT program called Critical Bench that is all about increasing your bench press. It’s a prime example of this principle.
As your goal nears, it’s all about the bench press.
In the beginning it has you training shoulders and triceps and such but towards the end, it’s very specific towards that single 12 week goal. To increase your bench press.
Referred to as the General Adaptation Syndrome, it’s simply a call for a training program that includes periodization. Meaning times of low intensity, to overload, to overcompensation boarding on overtraining and back to low intensity.
Your body adapts to stress placed upon it.
If you keep doing a routine that worked great Day 1, by Day 365 you probably notice no changes whatsoever. You get confused and frustration.
Your body has adapted.
Look for a training program that has built-in periodization cycles.
Low intensity, progressive overload, almost overtraining to low intensity. Doing this type of shifting around does wonders for your overall progress.
The BEST example of a planned routine that incorporates all these principles is Jeff Anderson’s Optimum Anabolics.
There are periods of low intensity, followed by planned high intensity with short rest periods, to massive volumes in a short amount of time. It is a great way to get around this GAS principle and stop your body from adapting to your workouts.