Principals to train by, expanded by Scott Edwards

principals to live by, Scott Edards, ISSA

Freestyle |Feb|2014|   61

Principles to Help You Perform Exercise… followed by extended comments, in simple terms, by Scott Edwards 

From the “Complete Training Guide” –expanded explanations of training principals. The corresponding numbers from each point are described below for easy reference:

  1. Isolation Principle (All muscles act as stabilizers, synergists, antagonist or agonists. By making one particular muscle the prime mover in any given exercise you have isolated it as much as possible, and therefore the stress applied to it.)
  2. Quality Training Principle (Gradually reduce the rest between sets while maintaining or increasing the number of repetitions performed.)
  3. Cheating Training Principle (Swing the weight past the sticking point at the end of a set in order to add stress.)
  4. Continuous Tension Principle (Maintain slow, continuous tension on muscles to maximize red fiber involvement.)
  5. Forced Repetitions Training Principle (Partner assisted repetitions at the end of a set.)
  6. Flushing Training Principle (Do 3 to 4 exercises for a body part before moving to another.)
  7. Burns Training Principle (2 to 3-inch, quick movements at the end of a set.)
  8. Partial Repetitions Training Principle (Because of leverage changes throughout any given exercise, it is sometimes helpful to do partial movements with varying weight in order to derive maximum overload stress for that bodypart.)
  9. Retro-Gravity Principle (Negatives, or eccentrics as they are called, make it possible to get more muscle cells to respond, because you can lower about 30 to 40 percent more weight than you can successfully lift concentrically.)
  10. Peak Contraction Principle (Holding the weight through maximum contraction at the completion of a movement.)
  11. Superspeed Principle (Compensatory acceleration of movements used to stimulate hard-to-reach fast-twitch fibers.)
  12. Iso-Tension Principle (This is a method of practicing posing, tensing each muscle maximally for 6 to10 seconds up to a total of 30 to 44 flexes in a variety of posing positions.)
  13. Instinctive Training Principle (Bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, repetitions and sets that work best for them.)



1) Isolation principal. One good example of this in biceps curl. There could be 5 decent ways to train the two heads of each biceps and the reason for the moves are to isolate different regions of the muscle fibers in order to stimulate them. The grip ( in layman terms, I will use overhand, underhand, and neutral grip examples) employed properly will train by essence (isolate) the different places in the biceps. These are commonly known as “hammer curls” “preacher curls” standing barbell curls” sissy bar curls” and such are direct pressure upon the bicep muscle.

The antagonists in this arrangement, ( triceps) are engaged, however, in order to maximize the isolation effect, triceps exercises are not employed to keep the blood or “pump” in the bicep muscle, therefore allowing more resistance on the one muscle and overloading it for stimulation.


2) “quality training principal would be where you outline your number of sets and increase the difficulty by taking a shorter rest period in between sets. What happens when you rest is your supply of glycogen to the muscle is replenished. In a shorter rest, there is less time to recharge. This is one way to vary your resistance. Other ways to increase resistance include added  weight resistance; eccentric repetitions, pre exhaustion by performing exercise on the larger encompassing muscle group before the isolation moves ( Weider principal) – one reason bicep exercises are better performed after general back training) and environmental difficulties such as temperature, humidity and oxygen during workouts.


3) cheating training principal – Don’t let the term “cheat” be misleading … form over everything! always! …again, I will say, form over everything. However, after some period of steady development, plateaus are encountered. The cheat principal can be achieved in one or two ways if done mindfully to gain some advantage in your training development. Notice how in this description says at the end of your set” This is important that it is not a substitute for your regular reps. It is also important that you have mindfulness not to go swinging carelessly and incur an injury because of the exhaustion of the target muscles and stress tendons and ligaments, the delicate connective tissues, or from sloppy form. These last reps are to thoroughly train the last remaining muscle fibers in an extended range. A reduction of weight can be effectively used if picked up immediately, if needed. This is written in the spirit to furiously go after the weight without holding back but not at the expense of good form or thorough sets and ROMs.

Also, a proper spotter can assist in “failure reps”  if performed properly. This gives you a tremendous boost in stimulation to the muscles being trained. Failure reps simply means the spotter will assist on the contraction of the biceps curl because the full extent of the set has been completed and the muscle is too weak to complete one more rep, so a light, guided push is given to assist (note that the athlete still applies full pressure even though failing, stabilizing and pushing thru the repetition)  -and then the negative part of the repetition ( letting it down, -is done slowly and carefully. This is a bit beyond the cheating principal spoken of in #3, and is in itself a negative rep, also performed at the end of a set. Also, see “holds”


   4) Continuous tension principal… is just that, hanging on to that last rep is a good example. but for whatever reason, every rep should be performed in this way, and can be exaggerated, say, when you pick up a weight that is lighter than your training weight. “holds” is the same thing in a static form.  Holding at the end of the set is an eccentric rep in that you are engaging tension and calling on the stabilizers to engage to assist the failing muscle. the point is to apply massive amounts of pressure on the muscle fibers to stimulate them to cause trauma.


5) Forced repetitions principal… I think I covered this above. Forced reps, or reaping beyond failure, is best done with a spotter who understands exactly the right amount of assistance needed to complete the rep… which starts with the minimal assistance. It takes a little practice, but is super effective. Often I find this moment in training quite psychological. When the partner does not realize their own strength and does not realize they are lifting ok, because your spot makes it seem like more help than it is to them. Forget about the appearances of weakness, men, this is where you are training past failure and growing into new territory.


6) Flushing training principal… This is evident in daily body part training. Largest to smallest muscle groups, pre exhaustion, and as in the principals listed in the paragraphs above. In a four day or three day split, when modifying, it becomes more evident and I advise to train largest to smallest and understand where the layover regions may be, such as how shoulders can be generally added after chest or after a back routine, or say after a leg routine. However, The entire area should be trained say, before moving on. you wouldn’t train quadriceps movements and then train deltas in the shoulder area and then return to hamstrings in the leg area. Rather you would train all of legs together, then a series of shoulder movements- like two smaller workouts, back to back. Blood gathers in the engorged muscles groups and can be effective at increasing your lifts and the focus should stay there.


7) Burns Training principal. Im not going to lie. I do not know much about this principal in namesake. I have used the “partial rep method”, say, for example, with biceps again as an example, on a strait bar or sissy bar [actually this [½-¼-¾ rep principal can be used in a variety of adduction motions in this case and it is exampled as, 5 half up reps, 5 half to top reps, then 5 fulln repetitions, and that’s as close as it gets to the short range movements. In theory, it’s another way to fully exhaust muscle fibers and get an incredible pump. In the “15” sets (51/4 repsx3); or “9” (3×3, respectively) are heavier weight and assisted. Another variation is where people go lighter and do “21’s”- (7repsx3 ¼ partials) it gives a heady pump to the muscle and feeds it plenty of blood … leading to…


8)Partial Repetitions Training Principle (Because of leverage changes throughout any given exercise, it is sometimes helpful to do partial movements with varying weight in order to derive maximum overload stress for that bodypart.) I think I covered this one as above. I get ahead of myself!


9) Retro-Gravity Principle (Negatives,  one version of an eccentric repetition, as they are called, make it possible to get more muscle cells to respond, because you can lower about 30 to 40 percent more weight than you can successfully lift concentrically.) see above^ The negative contraction is one of my points of interest in my training techniques. Often people will surrender and relieve tension on the last rep on the way down. This is a loss of ½ of a rep. Always hold your negative rep all the way to completion and get the most out of your set!


10) Peak Contraction Principle (Holding the weight through maximum contraction at the completion of a movement.) – This also works at 50% of the range, and 25% of the range also, with a slow, controlled descent as described in the retro gravity principal above.


11) Superspeed Principle (Compensatory acceleration of movements used to stimulate hard-to-reach fast-twitch fibers.) Not to be a substitute for concentration reps. This should be performed mindfully and in good form, usually lighter, and with careful consideration to joint motion also. anytime added weight resistance is added, care needs to be taken with form especially where an instance of speed is applied. by default, a lighter resistance should be used for speed/power reps to assist in good form. the lighter weight will allow a deeper range of motion to assert trauma to these hard to reach muscle fibers.


12) Iso-Tension Principle (This is a method of practicing posing, tensing each muscle maximally for 6 to10 seconds up to a total of 30 to 44 flexes in a variety of posing positions.) ISOMETRIC contractions… this is effective after a few sets to examine the pump and development of a particular region.


Weider Training Principal (not listed)  Here is one principal that I have been applying in various forms over the years that is quite important and involves all of the other principals, the Weider principal. This is simply pre exhaustion, and can be applied to enhance resistance in various ways. Pre exhaustion works in making the difficulty of the following move increase by working the main muscle groups extensively so that the supporting groups (stabilizers and agonists) are called upon and over all more muscle is recruited and stimulated. Just like adding resistance, shortening breaks, eccentric reps, changing order and stimulating environment ( heat & humidity or elevation) Weider principal is a form of increasing difficulty with pre exhaustion. For an example of this, several sets of weighted pull ups can be performed as a warm up to a back routine where isolated dumbbell rows will follow. the rows will be harder to perform and therefore more benefit can be attained on this day in this way. As with any mesocycle, this ought to be alternated so adaptation does not occur and so that other times you may lead with the dumbbell row in order to go heavier and proceed normally. I wanted to touch upon this concept briefly because I think it belongs in the group of principals here.

13) Instinctive Training Principle (Bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, repetitions and sets that work best for them.) THIS MEANS PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. It’s easy to develop a bad habit instinctually. The human body, thru evolution tries to stay efficient and not move into trauma or pain or exertion. It finds the easiest way, instinctively to avoid effort to move mass. In this way we must be on guard about instinct. It is important that in the process we become highly aware of our bodies and what we are doing to them. So, in general I think this principal is reserved for finely tuned, well trained individuals, and that as an individual to never stops growing, learning and adapting! Its good to get instruction and direction on your journey and yet stay disciplined and consistiant in your program. Always learn and grow, and be the best version of yourself that you can be!




Zumba Fitness:

BOUT: ZUMBA     Sweet beats improve your cardio (:

pictured: Jamie Lynn, Left, & Erika Rivere, a Zumba instructor in Apollo Beach, Florida, enjoy the effects of Zumba fitness. I recently spent a day last week shooting some photos while they practiced some moves. Photo courtesy of ©ScottEdwards 2012

Zumba! A fun, sexy latino inspired trend is gaining momentum in popularity. What is it & where is it from?

What it is: “Zumba” (pronounced Zoom-ba) -is a latin dance fitness program that was created by Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia the 90’s. It combines dance and aerobic elements which choreography includes soca, saba & mambo as well as moves that include squats & lunges; and even Bollywood style belly dancing. It is a challenging, continual movement that requires control, stamina and some grace. It has an interesting backstory, too.

Perez applied the backbeat of salsa & merengue latin styles to the aerobics classes he led, improvising with this approach -a rather untraditional musical style to apply to aerobic maneuvers, serendipitiously when he was short on good music for his Classes. Legend has it that he used tracks on cassette tape he had in his backpack in his car- It was a success & caught hold of Perez & many others attention around the globe. “The results are an electric combination that adds a sweet layer of all that this music has to offer.”  Its a marriage of rhythm & dance and it takes work to do it- but doesn’t seem like it because its fun”, says Jamie Lynn, an educator from Apollo Beach florida, who attends zumba classes at least 3 times a week.

Perez moved to the US in 2001 & Teamed up with a friend and co founder, Alberto Perlman. They produced a demo reel, and the concept was discovered & licensed by Fitness Quest. The company created marketing campaign that produced rumba home videos in 2002. After some considerable time, It has organically gained popularity and brand, with seven different types of of classes including aqua zumba, that is based in a pool. Newer technologies have allowed for developments of rumba video games, The new bio-feedback style body/video games like the Xbox Kinnect and the Wii fit  allow for an interactive rumba experience that provides an interesting feedback on your workouts performance because of the interface. Further, there are now more than ever thousands of  instructors teaching zumba in countries around the world thanks to the reach of the internet.

The motion is in the lotion…

The Zumba exercises lend themselves to the musics various slow and fast rhythms as well as resistance training exercises to the lilting latin beats. It has been noted that persons who participate in a session experience a fun, informal, even party like atmosphere as thegang moves loosely in dance. It is also noteworthy that there is a drummer often present, something I thought myself is rather sweet. Others claim to experience a responsive wave of  endorphin like and adrenal effects. I would like to note the overtones of studies that show how frequency vibration is an element that only happens on subtler human frequency perceptions, and affect rhythmic heartpatterns and certain brainwaves.

The motion is based on aerobic cardiovascular activity but the variations and modifications make you move your entire body, and there are up to seven “levels” of zumba training that vary wildly. The one thing that anchors everything is the music. 

Aside from the boost of self confidence the movements include lower body (legs – quadriceps, hamstring from squat and lunge positions to calves and hip adduction from other transitional poses, similar to moving yoga , tai chi and even belly dancing. Core strength is emphasized with the full body movement, and even shoulder region is affected by hyperflexion and abductor contractions. Centrifugal force and counterbalance agility also is emphasized.

Cardio is the main emphasis as far as this activity would be mainly classified. It is a light cardio at that, say different from HIT training, Tablata, or other intense programs. It’s emphasis on fun is what makes it attractive. I believe that is incredibly important for all levels of workout programs.

A standard class is an hour in length and uses four basic rhythms based on simplified salsa, merengue, cumber & reggeaton, I think is ½ ? 4/4 4/8 /16 etc. There are elements mashed from mambo Flamenco, Rumba Calypso beats to round out a facemelting latinthumping sound experience to dance to get your cardio on. From there you can advance to make these fluid motions more difficult and more beneficial in the way your body adapts to the cardiovascular conditioning.

The group element adds to a sense of community and accomplishment as an individual since you are really only required to push your own levels of exertion which increase as you practice.

There is definitely a factor in making a workout varied and fun for your clients as a personal trainer. You deserve to look into what Zumba has to offer in spirit and attitude as well as a few fresh moves to challenge you in your and your clients workouts. Certainly the music adds a real ambiance. Studies have reflected that listening to music with an elevated beat pattern of around 110 to 120+BPM that can help endurance athletes who move with the music because of the brains subtle ways of syncronizing within a beat pattern- hence the phenomenon of music altogether.
I say give it a try . I have been recently intruduced to these new forms, and would like to hear your comments about your experience!
thanks for reading.

~Scott Edwards

exercise can improve your mood, prevent chronic disease, aid in weight management, strengthen your cardiovascular system, promote better sleep, and can even enhance your sex life. Most importantly and often forgotten, exercise can be enjoyable! why wait? add some to your week and feel good about it. Too often we get sedentary and pay a steep price in the decrease in quality of life for it. I suggest all sorts of athletic activities and healthy alternatives to keep fit. got any suggestions or feedback? would love to hear from you! 

Join the party: instructor Berto Perez leads a Zumba class


About: local Zumba… meet instructor Erika Rivere:


LOCAL ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR Erica Rivera hosts wild for rumba sessions in Apollo Beach, Riverview and you can find out the class availability times from this link: {URL}             @Youtube:                                                        

You can contact her thru the links provided,  (& tell her you heard about it here:)



Support for local trainers, ISSA certified CPT Tampa Bay ©ScottEdwards2012




  1. ^ Sweat Equity, Miami Herald, p. G1, 13 February 2012
  2. ^ Zumba brings the dance party into the health club, USA Today, 10 October 2011
  3. ^ Fitness Guinea Pig: Zumba, Brides Magazine
  4. ^ Zumba Shakes the Monotony Out of Ordinary Aerobics Classes, The Washington Post, 31 July 2008
  5. ^ Zumba Turns Dancers Into Entrepreneurs, Inc., 26 May 2011
  6. ^ Get fit dancing: Dance to a different beat with Zumba, Daily Telegraph, 30 March 2009
  7. ^ About Zumba Fitness on official website
  8. ^ The secret to fitness craze Zumba’s success?, The Independent, 7 September 2011
  9. ^ Zumba Movement Catches On, Now Comes the Hard Part, Fox Business, 11 April 2011