Specific principles of exercise


The first principle to understand when engaging in training is that of adaptation. Various forms of adaptation are what we are looking for when we train. Be it to become better technically, physically or mentally. There are many methods to facilitate adaptation, but the basic premise is:

By repeating that skill or activity, the body adapts to the stress and the skill becomes easier to perform. Adaptation explains why a beginning exercisers are often sore after starting a new routine, but after doing the same exercise for weeks and months the athlete has little, if any, muscle soreness.[1]

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The next thing that needs to be addressed is the most effective ways to effect adaptation for the individual.


Overloading is perhaps the fundamental principle of fitness.[5]

There are many ways to overload the body and cause adaptation. So many in fact you could be forgiven for being confused about the best way to approach progressive overload from a Parkour perspective. The best method is to Intially keep things simple and avoid confusion. If you should choose to research further than what you find here:

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Because every athlete is different, each person’s response to exercise will vary. A proper training program should be modified to take individual differences into account.[3]

We are all the same in many ways, but there is still allowance for a vast range of ways in which to differ from each other. When it comes to how our bodies react to training there are no exceptions. Two people could do exactly the same training, eat the same foods and do the same things and have differing results. This is part of why it’s important to avoid comparing yourself to others and to keep in mind that most training concepts are principles and not hard and fast RULES.

An integral part of Parkour is learning to understand yourself. This means understanding your mind and also understanding what happens to your body when you train.

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The Specificity Principle simply states that training must go from highly general training to highly specific training. The principle of Specificity also implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. To be a good cyclist, you must cycle. The point to take away is that a runner should train by running and a swimmer should train by swimming.[3]

And to improve at Parkour you should train Parkour. That’s not to say you should train it to the exclusion of everything else. If your goal is to be good at Parkour, then the majority of the training should be integrating Parkour. Weights, swimming, cycling etc can definitely help improve your Parkour, but they should be balanced against your Parkour specific training.

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Rest is required in order for the body to recover from the training and to allow adaptation to take place.[4]

Recovery is vitally important to whatever training you undertake, it will take some experimentation to work out what the optimal amount of recovery time is for you but it should not be something that you ignore as overtraining can result and you can suffer such things as chronic fatigue syndrome or repetitive strain injuries.

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“use it or lose it.”[3]

It is important to maintain your traiining, finding the balance between recovery and training. If you take extended periods of rest you run the risk of losing the gains you have achieved through your training.

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  1. Biology Online
  2. Helium.com
  3. Sports Medicine
  4. Brainmac
  5. Special Olympics
  6. Science of Sport
  7. Fitness Trends
  8. Answers.com