7 Essential Training Principles

There is a saying at the top of the fitness game. Methods are many, principles are few.

If you were to look at what the best trainers and coaches in the world are doing, you would see a great variety of exercises, tools, environments, etc. You would also see a common set of training principles amongst all these professionals.

Great training is built on these principles. Understanding them is the key to reaching any fitness related goal. NO matter if is fat loss, athleticism, strength, muscle gain, etc.

You may see different terminology used, but the underlying message will almost always remain the same.

Mobility Before Stability

Mobility is the ability to produce movement.

Stability is the ability to resist or control movement.

It would make sense then, that before you can learn to resist or control movement, you must have access to that range of motion in the first place.

Let’s take your hips for example. Ideally, you want to be able to control hip flexion up to 90 degrees. However, if you can’t passively get to 90 degrees, how could you even begin to control it? This makes mobility a precursor to stability.

Mobility before Stability
Stability Must Accompany Mobility

If you have the ability to produce a movement, but can’t control that movement, you are in trouble.

Taking the hips again, let’s say you can passively get to 120 degrees, but you have a difficult time control or resisting movement past 90 degrees. This means, anytime your hip gets past 90 you are at risk of injury.

This is why stability must accompany mobility. Any movement you have access too, you want to have control throughout the entire range.

Stability Must Accompany Mobility

Movement Before Strength

Movement is use of mobility and stability to perform basic patterns you use in your day to day life. Stuff like squatting, hinging, pushing(push up), pulling(rowing), etc.

Strength is the ability produce force in basic patterns such as squatting, hinging, pushing, and pulling.

To produce force in a given pattern you must first be able to perform it with efficiency. Quality movement must come before strength.

Let’s take the squat as an example. If you are unable to perform a proper bodyweight squat to a reasonable depth while maintaining neutral spine, then loading that squat up is not ideal.

Movement Before Strength

Movement Before Endurance

Movement is again, the ability to perform basic patterns.

Endurance is the ability to repetitively perform these patterns.

If you are not able to move efficiently, then moving repetitively is not ideal. Quality movement must come before endurance.

Let’s take running. If you are unable to efficiently stand on one leg or lunge (which are the foundation of running), then why would you want to repetitively perform them.  Again, you’re setting yourself up for injury or at best reinforcing poor movement.

Movement Before Endurance

Strength Before Power

Strength is the ability to produce force.

Power is the ability to produce force fast.

To produce force quickly, you must first be able to produce force. Strength is then a precursor to power.

This does not mean the two can’t be trained simultaneously. It means your power will be capped at some point by strength. You’ll need to increase strength to continue getting powerful.

Strength Before Power

Power and Strength Have An Inverse Relationship with Endurance

There is a give and take between strength/power and endurance.

As you increase power and strength, your capacity for endurance will go down.

As you increase endurance, your capacity for strength and power will go down.

All this means is, you can’t have maximum strength/power and maximum endurance.  Eventually, as you progress in your training, you’ll have to pick between the two.

This is the reason an elite marathon runner can’t be an elite sprinter.

Strength/Power and Endurance Trade Off

These Qualities Are All the Foundation of Skill

Mobility, stability, movement, strength, power, and endurance all lay the foundation for skill.

Skill can be any athletic or day to day task you want to perform. Kicking, throwing, punching, jumping, swinging, etc. They can be far more specific as well.

This foundation, natural ability and proficiency with the skill will determine how well you can perform it.

Since you can’t train natural ability, improving a skill requires time spent building out your foundation and training the skill itself.

Skill On Top Of Other Qualities

Conclusion

To wrap up, here are some takeaways:

  • You need to be mobile before you can get stable
  • Your stability needs to accompany your gains in mobility
  • Movement is the use of mobility and stability to perform basic patterns
  • You need to move well if you want to get strong
  • You need to move well if you want to gain endurance
  • You need to be strong if you want to be powerful
  • There is a tradeoff between strength/power and endurance
  • These qualities all build the foundation for skill

If you ignore or don’t train in accordance with any of these principles, then you may run into the following

  • You will not make progress as quickly or at all. You’ll leave results and performance on the table.
  • You will open yourself up to injury or general discomfort and pain