Practicing the basic exercise principles is crucial for you to develop an effective fitness training program. The principles of exercise apply to everyone at all levels of physical
training, from the Olympic champion to the weekend golfer. They apply especially to fitness
training for military personnel because having standard fitness principles across the
organization saves time, energy, resources—and prevents injury.
You can easily remember the basic principles of exercise if you recall the P-R-O-V-R-B-S acronym.
Progression — The intensity and duration of exercise must gradually increase to improve your fitness level. A good guideline for improvement is a 10 percent gain at specified intervals.
Regularity — To achieve effective training you should schedule workouts in each of the first four fitness components at least three times a week. Regularity is also key in resting, sleeping, and following a good diet.
Overload — The workload of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on your body to bring about a training effect. You’ve often heard this expressed as “No pain, no gain.” A fitness trainer, such as your ROTC instructor, can help you learn to tell the difference between pain that results from an optimum level of overload and pain that indicates potential injury.
Variety — Changing activities reduces the boredom and increases your motivation to progress.
Recovery — You should follow a hard day of training for a given component of fitness by an easier training or rest day for that component. This helps your body recover. Another way to promote recovery is to alternate the muscle groups you exercise every other day, especially when training for strength and muscle endurance.
Balance — To be effective, a fitness program should address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may detract from the others.
Specificity — You must gear training toward specific goals. For example, Soldiers become better runners if their training emphasizes running drills and techniques. Although swimming is great exercise, it will not improve a two-mile-run time as much as a coordinated running program does.