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Physical Education



Preparation of the body

Principles of training

Two men underwater swimming for a water polo ball.

Getting the best out of your training requires planning. The best training programmes are built on principles of Specificity, Progression, Overload, Reversibility, Rest and Tedium (acronym SPORRT).

You can also use the FITT acronym to help remember the key things to consider when tailoring programmes for individual sporting goals. It stands for: Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

Training should be matched to an individual's needs. By using the principles of training as a framework we can plan a personal training programme that uses scientific principles to improve performance, skill, game ability and physical fitness. A successful training programme will meet individual needs which are personal fitness needs based on age, gender, fitness level and the sport for which we are training.

They key principles when planning a programme are:

A woman recieving personal training advice for weight training.
  • Specificity - training must be matched to the needs and demands of the activity. It must also be specific to the individual in terms of initial fitness levels and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Progression - start slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise and keep overloading. It is important not to progress to quickly as you may risk injury or over train.
  • Overload - fitness can only be improved by training more than you normally do (overloading). You must work harder to allow your body to adapt and improve. Overload is possible by varying the frequency, intensity or time of training.
  • Reversibility - any adaptation that takes place as a result of training will be reversed when you stop training. If you take a break or don't train often enough you will lose fitness.
  • Rest (recovery) – It is important to have rest in your programme to allow your body to recover. This could include rest between sets or complete rest days.
  • Tedium - Using a variety of training methods (or exercises) relieves tedium and avoids boredom in training.

In planning a programme, apply the FITT principles:

  • Frequency - decide how often to train per week. (Beginners 2-3, elite 4-5)
  • Intensity - choose how hard to train.
  • Time - decide for how long to train per session. (Also the time for the whole programme such as how many weeks)
  • Type - decide which methods of training to use.


man swimming

Sports techniques

Give your eyes some exercise with these PE videos.

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