The Principal of SPECIFICITY

Last night during a training session, my client Eddie asked, “Why do so many gym members have different training programs?”

Eddie was alluding to the fact that although members may have training programs, there seemed to be little-to-no structure or direction in them.

This prompted me to write on the topic of SPECIFICITY and what is lacking in so many people’s training plans. SPECIFICITY is sadly lacking in many people’s programs, including personal trainers who train clients.

What Is Specificity?

Specificity is the principle of training that states what you do in the gym should be relevant and appropriate to your desired outcome.

The training must go from “general”, which is at the beginning phase, to “specific” – as the program progresses.

For example, a typical newbie in the gym with a goal of getting stronger would start off performing body weight exercises and would be correcting form and improving posture along with any muscle imbalances.  This is known as the general preparation phase.  By the end of this phase, the newbie can then move onto more advanced exercises – working primarily on strength improvements that are very specific to their strength goal.

Specificity also implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, YOU MUST PERFORM that exercise or skill.  The same applies to your goal, the training plan must be specific to your goal.

For example, to improve strength and increase lean muscle, heavy weights must be in the training plan. To increase endurance, aerobic training for sustained periods is required. To increase power, plyometric training and/or Olympic training is required.

You can see that it is absolutely critical to incorporate SPECIFICITY into any training plans.  THE PLAN MUST MEET THE DESIRED OUTCOME – Otherwise, what’s it all for?