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Table 1 Exercise training principles

From: Application of principles of exercise training in sub-acute and chronic stroke survivors: a systematic review

Principle Description
Specificity Exercising a certain body part or component of the body primarily develops that part: To become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill.
Overload A greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to take place. The body will adapt to this stimulus.
Progression A gradual and systematic increase of the workload over a period of time will result in improvements in fitness without risk of injury.
Initial values Improvement in the outcome of interest will be greatest in those with lower initial values. In other words, those with lowest level of fitness have greatest room for improvement.
Reversibility Once a training stimulus is removed, fitness levels will eventually return to baseline (‘use it or lose it!’).
Diminishing returns Refers to the decreasing expected degree of improvement in fitness as individuals become fit, thereby increasing the effort required for further improvements.