The principle of specificity
This principle refers to the effect that exercise training is specific to the muscles involved in that activity, the fiber types recruited, the principal energy system involved (Aerobic versus Anaerobic), the velocity of contraction, and the type of muscle. In other words, if I want to get stronger legs then I should train my legs and not my arms. Or, if I want to run faster then I should train sprints and not go out for long slow runs. This may seem an obvious thing to most people but when you see people train you realize that many don’t understand this concept. Let me explain.
There are three basic energy systems in the body:
- The ATP-PCr system (anaerobic-without oxygen)
- The glycolytic system (anaerobic-without oxygen)
- The oxidative system (aerobic- with oxygen)
- Ultra Short-term Performance (10 seconds or less) – 60 meter race: most of the energy comes from the ATP-PCr and the glycolytic systems. Meaning, if you wanted to get better you would have to train those two systems.
- Short-term Performance (10-180 seconds) – 200-800 meter race: 70% of the energy comes from the Anaerobic systems but, as you get close to the 180 seconds, 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would have to train both systems but still put more emphasis on the Anaerobic.
- Moderate Length Performance (3-20 minutes) – 800 meter to 10km race: 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system in a 3 minute maximal effort but, as we get close to the 20 minute mark, 90% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would train in a way that improves both system but put more emphasis on the Aerobic system.
So, imagine I’m a golfer and I want to improve my tee shot. That movement lasts a second or less, meaning I am working Anaerobic, so when I go to the gym I would do explosive exercises that don’t last too long. Let’s say now I’m a boxer, rounds last 3 minutes, I know that the first minutes I will work Anaerobically but as I get closer to the 3 minute mark 60% of the energy comes Aerobically, so here I would make sure to work both systems almost equally but still putting more emphasis on the Anaerobic part
What you have to do now is figure out what system your sport uses and try to improve it.
Hope you enjoyed