Specificity Training – What and Why


Without this key element, training just isn’t quite as personal. Specificity is one of the most important elements in a persons training program. It’s a big part of helping clients to reach their goals, whether that may be training for a sport, losing weight, or working on improving activities of daily living.


What is Specificity Training?


Specificity in training is essentially training in a manner that produces a desired outcome. This means that the movements that your clients perform in the gym should result in their desired outcome by being applicable, appropriate and of course- specific. For example, if a client is working with you to improve their running abilities, you need to prescribe movements that will help to directly improve their form, gate, cadence, and speed.


Just like anything else in life, practice is the key to improving performance. More importantly, specific practice improves performance. This means that if your clients want to improve on a specific exercise or skill, they need to perform that exercise or skill. Your running clients can perform squats and lunges all day, but if they don’t also run, then they won’t see improvements. Although specificity training should be a ‘no brainer,’ for your clients, it may not be as simple as it sounds.


Your client may have the mindset that any exercise is good exercise. Although that mentality isn’t a bad one to have, if they have specific goals for their bodies, they need to be specific in how they execute the steps to reaching that goal.


Why Specificity Training?


1. Being specific in your training will help you and your clients to keep your goals in mind during every aspect of training. Remember, these goals need to be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For more on goal setting, check out https://www.nfpt.com/blog/10-exercises-get-fit-traveling.


2. Being specific in your training will help you to better accommodate your client’s interests. Not all clients needing to increase their muscular strength and endurance will enjoy Olympic lifting, maybe they really love circuit training instead. Being specific means being individualized. Keep your client’s interests in mind.


3. Being specific in your training will help to prevent injuries. Specifically tailoring your exercise prescriptions to your client’s initial fitness level will help to prevent injuries in the early training periods, but as time goes on, your client’s specific training program will guide them to preventing injuries in their exercises in the long run.


4. Being specific in your training will help your clients to reach their goals in a more timely and high-quality manner. Specificity will make for less time wasted on exercises that won’t improve their goals or skills, and it will help their training to be of the highest quality for their goals or skills.


5. Being specific in your training will help to build confidence in your client’s individual abilities. Not all bodies are created alike, and now more than ever it is as easy as hopping on to Instagram or Facebook to find someone with the “ideal” figure to compare to.

Your client may struggle with comparing themselves with celebrities, their friends or even you, but being specific with their programming will help them to realize exactly how remarkable they are as an individual. Use the specificity of their program to point out their unique goals, strengths, abilities, and interests.


About the Author:

Hanna Danielson B.S. in Kinesiology, NFPT CPT is a passionate trainer, writer, and graphic designer. Hanna's greatest passion is working with people who want to better themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. She believes that we are all stronger than we think and she aspires to extend patience, kindness, education, self-motivation, confidence to her clients to help them unleash their strength. For more from Hanna, connect on social media at @hdfaithfitness