Applying the Specificity Principle in Health-Related Fitness Training

  • Carina Shortliffe York University
  • Veronica Jamnik York University
Keywords: non athletes, physical activity, aerobic training, dose-response, functional resistance training, quality of life, independence


The specificity of training principle is commonly overlooked when designing a physical activity (PA) program for non-athletic clients whose goal is to enhance select health indicators, health-related fitness and/or improve quality of life. This is likely because the task of identifying the specific health indicators and/or health-related fitness outcomes upon which to focus is not straight forward. Health is multi-faceted and different clients have different goals. Prior to designing a PA program, fitness professionals should identify the client's specific goals and then determine the best possible approach to achieving those objectives. This paper examines the principle of specificity of training as it applies to select health indicators, health-related aerobic and musculoskeletal fitness training for the non-athletic population. When designing PA programs, the dose-response relationship between health benefit indicators and the volume plus intensity of PA in the Canadian Physical Activity Fitness and Lifestyle Approach (CPAFLA) is a valuable resource for establishing training specificity. For clients who wish to enhance their health indicators, health-related fitness and maintain quality of life or independence as they age, functional or task-related resistance training that involves multiple joints and loads the hips and spine provide the necessary specificity of training.

Author Biography

Veronica Jamnik, York University
Assistant Professor Kinesiology and Health Science
How to Cite
Shortliffe, C., & Jamnik, V. (2010). Applying the Specificity Principle in Health-Related Fitness Training. The Health & Fitness Journal of Canada, 3(1), 25-30.

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