Specificity: Your Guide to Peak Performance

Specificity is king, and it should be at the front and center of any legitimate training discussion.

When it comes to training, we all want to be efficient in order to maximize our time. The most important concept in training is specificity. While it can be a tongue twister of a word, it will help enhance performance in your desired discipline.

Specificity is the act of training your body in a way that is specific to your demands. For athletes just starting out, it’s important to know that running makes you a better runner, cycling makes you a better cyclist, and climbing makes you a better climber. While there is a time and place for cross-training, performing your discipline is what will make you the best version of yourself.

It is critical that every athlete look at their sport in a way that identifies the demands that will be placed on their body. As you dive deeper into your sport, it then becomes necessary to understand the demands needed to excel in your field. For example, while running will make both a sprinter and marathoner better, they will have different training plans due to their specific needs. Once this understanding takes place, each athlete can begin to fine tune their training.

One of the best questions you can ask yourself is, how long is my event? Determining the length of your event will identify what energy system you will be targeting. Train the right system and you will be building performance. Train the wrong system and you may be wasting your time. 

Once you have determined the primary energy system of your event, you have a great starting point on what you need to maximize. It is also important to know that while sprinters need to be great at sprinting, they can’t only sprint all year. There are other foundational blocks to their training that will ultimately help their ability to sprint when the time is right. This is where the concept of periodization comes into play. While we want sprinters to be at their best for key events, it is best to utilize other training principles along the way to build their sprint even higher.

Here are a few examples of athletes and the demands they must train for.

The last piece to the puzzle is the competition environment. Is the competition at sea level or altitude? Is the average temperature for the competition hot, mild, or cold? Does the finish of the cycling race finish with a climb or sprint? Is the rock wall limestone or sandstone? All of these factors are specific and can be focused on during training to help maximize your results. The more time you take as an athlete to understand what is needed from your body, the more informed you can be when designing your training plan.

Ultimately, you need to be performing your sport to get better at it. While it would be great if you could become the best runner in the world by rowing, this isn’t how the body operates. The body needs to learn how to produce energy and power within specific movements. By understanding the demands your sport places on you and training to maximize you abilities, you will become a better athlete faster. Here at COROS we want to help you explore perfection. Train appropriately and go crush your next event!

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