Tag Archives: plateau

2 Important Principles of Training You Should Know

women lift heavy

If you’re working hard in the gym & continue to see results week after week, month after month, I congratulate you.  You obviously are doing things right.  On the other hand, if you feel like you’re working hard in the gym but continue to look the same, this could be why (diet aside)…

Let’s take a look at these 2 very important principles of training: 

  • Principle of Accommodation: this principle states that the body reaches homeostasis in response to a repeated response 

homeostasis: a stable, constant condition

We want to avoid our bodies reaching this stable constant condition, also known as a plateau.  Here, no changes will be occurring within the body as it is simply just meeting the demands that are being put forth.  However, make some changes within your program and that plateau can take a hike!  

  • Overload Principle: this principle states that a greater stress or load on the body (than it is normally accustomed to handling) needs to occur in order to continue to see results 

When we learn a new skill for the first time, most likely it will be challenging.  Repeat it over & over & over again… it eventually becomes effortless.  The exact same weights & the exact same exercises are not going to do you any good long term.  Changes will occur at the start, but in order to keep those changes happening long term, (as this principle states) you will need to provide the body with a greater stress or load.  

Don’t be afraid to increase the weight (yes, ladies…do it!).  

If you’re not ready to increase the weight yet, at least do something to stimulate your neuromuscular system in a way it’s not used to.  For example, change your base of support or challenge your stability using an Airex pad.  However, please don’t turn your workouts into a circus act by doing a reverse lunge on the bosu with a medicine ball rotation and overhead press.  That’s just silly. : )

Gray Cook has this concept known as the “edge of ability concept” which meshes perfectly with this principle.  When performing an exercise or movement, you should be at your edge of ability.   If you’re talking or not having to think about the movement while doing it, you’re probably under that ability.  If you aren’t able to perform the task, you’re past that edge & need to resort back.  Simply put, if an exercise is too easy, you won’t learn (or change).  If it’s too hard you won’t learn (or change… & possibly increase your risk of injury).

Remember, something is always better than nothing.  However, if you want to take your training to the next level, these principles should be applied in your program so that you can reach your fitness goals & them some. : )



A successful training program depends on periodization.  Whether you’re training for weight loss, strength gain, or something more sport specific, your workouts and training regimen should be planned out in a way so that you are cycling though different phases of training over a select period of time.

Organization can be made through a macrocycle, mesocycles, & microcycles.

  • Macrocycle: this refers to the annual plan that is used  towards reaching your specific goal/goals of the year (in otherwords, this is the big picture)
  • Mesocycle: this refers to phases of training split up into 4-6 week time periods (the goal here is to be sure that your body continues to peak by improving/challenging yourself)
  • Microcycle: this typically consists of your workouts in a weeks time frame (each microcycle should be planned so that it lines up accordingly with each mesocycle so that progression continues)

In order to do this, variations in your training regimen must be made. This can occur by switching up exercise order, exercise choice, number of sets, number of reps per set, rest periods, and/or intensity. 

By manipulating variables throughout cycles, you are able to

  1. Reduce the potential of overtraining
  2. Bring strength/conditioning/weight loss to peak levels

If a load is always the same, adaptation occurs early on in training & one will reach a plateau, failing to achieve their expected goals.  With this being said, the goal of training then is to progressively & systematically increase & change the training stimulus.If a load/stimulus does not produce a certain amount of physiological challenge, then no increase in adaptation can be expected.

On the other hand, if the training load is too high, intolerable & taken on over a long period of time, overtraining as well as possible injury may occur.

So if you’re at a plateau, or having a hard time reaching your goals, try to plan out your workouts a little bit more, taking yourself through different phases/variations of training to get more/better results!


Periodization: Theory & Methodlogy of Training by Tudor O. Bompa & Greg Haff