Fitness Training Principles

These principles are meant to be universally useful for nearly any kind of training for any sport or fitness goal. Each sport implements these principles in its own way. Use these to help design your training.

Specificity — Your goal is to improve or maintain specific performances for your sport. For muscle movements this may include strength, quickness, stamina, or accuracy. For mental performance, this may include situational awareness, mental toughness, quick thinking, and relevant knowledge. Identify the important performances and practice them.
Stress — To improve, your mind and muscles need to be sufficiently stressed in relevant ways. Too little or too much stress, and you won't improve after recovery. Identify the optimal stress zone for your individual body, at that time, for each amount and kind of training. Stress is usually governed by adjusting the frequency, intensity, duration, and type of stress. Consistent cycles of proper stress and recovery is the optimal path to peak performance.
Recovery — If stressed properly, your body will recover in a better state than it was before. Rest too little, and you're not adapting fully to the stress. Rest too much, and you begin to loose the adaptations you've made. The amount of rest you need is specific to your individual body, at that time, given the amount and kind of training. Recovery entails sleep, relaxation, low stress, proper diet and hydration, and minimizing use of the just-trained muscles.
Progression — As you adapt to a performance stress and it becomes easier, increase the challenge to continue progressing.
Measurement — Record your training and measure your progress so you know what training works, how fast you're progressing, how much stress and rest you need, and when you plateau. The helps you design and adapt your training for maximal performance.
Warming — Warming up helps prevent injuries and usually improves your performance. Warming down can hasten your muscle recovery by shuttling metabolic waste out of your muscles and shuttling nutrients in.
Stretching — Stretching before training usually diminishes strength and coordination, although light stretching might reduce the chance of injury. Stretching is typically advised only for after training, for key movements that benefit from that range of motion. It better prepares muscles, ligaments, and joints for that effort next time.
General Health — Your general physical and mental health significantly affects your athletic performance. Maintain quality diet, sleep, low stress, and a healthy social life.
Time-Efficiency — Make the best use of the training time you have.