Training terms

terms&defnitionsThere are many high performance training terms coaches & athletes should become familiar with in order to better understand training and to optimally train. Below is an oversimplification of training terms that I use to assist coaches & athletes reach their collective full potential during training.

Accumulation of training

Training – much like education, learning, or age – builds on itself overtime and may drastically affect an athletes strengths & weaknesses.  Athletes or students in a long term athlete development system that are highly motivated and are being taught via a high performance training plan may increase athletic: skills, strength, power, knowledge of sport, etc. much more effectively than those in other systems or programs – this increase in athletic characteristics is also known as accumulation of training.

Annual plan

Seasonal or year round plan with optimal performance as goal and 5-6 peak performances per year also known as a macrocycle.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Amount of energy/calories expended while at rest; up to 75 percent of the calories many people take in every day go towards BMR. Most women need 1,200 calories a day while most men need 1,800 caories per day to support their BMRs, plus 200 – 400 extra calories for daily activities (elite athletes need more calories due to high energy expenditure during training). Increasing muscle mass increases BMR.

Cool down

Exercises to progressively decrease heart rate and also to optimally restore, stimulate, ready the body/mind for next exercise bout. Blood pools in body which can create a sluggish, lethargic feeling if exercise is stopped abruptly then restarted later i.e. second round, afternoon practice.

Demands of sport

Characteristics, requirements, or necessities of athletics that must be developed to the highest level in order for athletes to have continued success during performances.  Some demands of sport are endurance, strength, power, sport specific skills, sport psychology, sport nutrition, & a high performance training system coupled with a long term athlete development plan.

Long term athlete development

This term, also known as LTAD, is derived from high performance training and entails many of the standards of the USA educational system i.e. a systematic teaching & learning progression from youth till young adult.  LTAD helps develop students in many areas that include and are not limited to psycho-social development, leadership development, life skills development, & sport specific development.


The process by which your body converts food into fuel. The eaten food or fuel is used for basic functions such as circulating blood, breathing, and growing and repairing cells.


Training year term of a periodization plan that generally lasts from 10-12 months.


Training month term of a periodization plan that generally lasts from 3-8 weeks.


Training week term of a periodization plan that generally lasts from 4-8 days.

Muscle balance

Strengthening and stretching both sides of muscle or agonist/antagonist groups i.e. triceps/biceps, quads/hamstrings, chest/upper back, abs/lower back, upper body/lower body muscle groups. Muscle balance creates increased strength, range of motion, and good posture while muscle imbalance increases risk of injury.


Time during the day when athletes should relax, rest body, lay down, clothes eyes from 15 – 30 minutes. This time will help body restore, re-charge, and recover from stress. Longer naps (31 minutes – 4 hours) during the day may require more sleep in the evening and will limit the amount of sleep during the evening.


The bodies ability to perform at high standards during performances due to being well trained via a periodization plan & supercompensation.


An annual plan or macrocycle that is broken down into specific training blocks of time consisting of mesocycles, microcycles, & training sessions that are designed to peak athletes for major competitions.

Progressive overload

Gradual increase in training volume or intensity.


High volume of intensity training that pushes athletes beyond their normal threshold.


The body’s inability to adapt successfully to overreaching due to minimal or no recovery from consistent, ongoing high intensity training.

Strength & conditioning

Working to assist, build, or maximize output of muscle power, endurance by use of sport specific movements, free weights, body weight, and other objects.


Time that the body restores, replenishes itself in between bouts of exercise. Optimal  diet, sleep, rest is major factor in recovery as are sufficient breaks during training sessions.


Time in the evening when most get from 7 – 9.5 hours of sleep. Elite athletes training twice per day are recommended to get 10 hours of sleep. Human growth hormone is stimulated during this time too.


Properly lengthening and increasing range of motion of muscles during warm up and cool down for optimal results during exercise or sport. Stretching when coupled with warm ups and cool downs decreases the likelihood for injuries and will assist in muscle strength.


The bodies ability to execute higher standards during performances via peaking derived from undulating training that emphasizes high intensity training, overreaching training, & recovery.

Training  age

This is different than biological age or calendar age because it reflects the amount of experience, knowledge, sport specific skill application, & other characteristics or demands of sport that affect performance.  Two athletes can be the same age with vastly different training ages largely in part due to accumulation of training, motivation, & exposure.

Training block

Time period lasting weeks or months designed to gradually build fitness, technique, & strategy while at the same time inducing fatigue then reducing fatigue to peak athletes for major competitions.

Training intensity

Effort of work performed. How hard one is working e.g. sprint vs. jog, drilling vs. live wrestling.

Training session

Individual practice that generally happens once or twice per day.

Training volume

Amount of work performed similar to duration of work performed.


Inadequate diet, stress, sleep, and or rest in between bouts of exercise that sometimes leads to overtraining.

Undulating training

Training volumes that resemble a wavy pattern with a variety of high to low volumes of training to optimize athletes recovery and peak athletes for performances.


Exercises to progressively increase: muscle/tissue temperature, range of motion, heart rate and to also stimulate, ready the body/mind for action or sport. Injuries are increased when body is cold, unready, or immediately performs powerful muscle movements consistently over a year or career disregarding warm-ups.

Well trained

Proper amount of sleep, rest, diet, and body’s ability to successfully, optimally adapt to training and stress.

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