Adherence to certain basic exercise principles is important for developing an effective training program. The principles of exercise apply to everyone at all levels of physical training, from the Olympic-caliber athlete to the weekend jogger, and also for the martial artist.

These basis principles of exercise must be followed:

  • Regularity. To achieve a training effect, you must exercise often. You should try to exercise each of the four fitness components at least three times a week. Infrequent exercise can do more harm than good. Regularity is important in resting, sleeping, and following a good diet.
  • Progression. The intensity and/or duration of the exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness.
  • Balance. To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others.
  • Variety. Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress.
  • Specificity. Training must be geared toward specific goals, as becoming a better fighter.
  • Recovery. A hard day of training for a given component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest for that component and/or muscle group to help permit recovery. Alternating muscle groups will also assist in recovery.
  • Overload. The workload of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training effect.
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