While specificity is only one training principle, it is a critical component of any comprehensive athletic program or fitness routine. Here, we take a closer look at the principle of specificity, how it’s applied, its pros and cons, and how it compares to cross-training.
Simply put, the principle of specificity states that how you train should mimic the skills, movements, and actions required to perform and excel in the game, activity, or event you’re participating in.
Our bodies adapt and respond to the type of exercise or training that we do (also known as mode), how often we do that exercise (also known as frequency), the amount of time that we do the exercise (also known as duration), and the intensity of the exercise,”
says Kasia Gondek, PT, DPT, CSCS, of Fusion Wellness and Physical Therapy.
The muscles you train during a specific exercise are the ones that begin to adapt and respond. This also means that other muscle groups that are not recruited during that training do not see the same adaptation and training response,”
Training adaptations will occur specifically within the movements and activities you train, for the metabolic demands you experience, with the exercise intensity and muscle groups used (1).
The body makes gains from exercise according to how the body exercises. Applying specificity correctly allows you to have a program designed around gains and goals that is efficient, focused, and effective.
If you don’t use the principle of specificity, you risk wasting time and energy, and you may not reach your goals in a timely manner. Applying the principle of specificity to a training program helps you reach your goals and avoid injuries that could happen from incorrect or poor preparation.