SAID Principle - What is the SAID Principle

SAID Principle (Principle of Specificity) – Maximize Your Training Output!

Hey there, I’m back again. If you’re mainly interested in bodybuilding/training, you might have read my earlier article which was regarding the FITT Principle and 20 Gym Mistakes which you must avoid.

Till now you must have understood the importance of workout variables like Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type of your training.

Let me talk about another important scientific concept of sports science which is known as the “SAID Principle”.


SAID Principle – What is the SAID Principle?

SAID Principle - Fitness HN - What is the SAID Principle

SAID PrincipleSpecific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.

It states that, “The body reacts in a very specific way when specific demands are imposed upon it. Also, It specifically adapts to the type of demand (workload) which you feed it with.

For Instance

  • If you only train your left arm, then you won’t expect your right arm to grow. Make sense right?
  • Suppose you keep doing some specific movements viz bench-press, squats, dead-lifts, etc. the body will start making adaptations that will allow it to get better over time with that specific form of exercise. This tells us that adaptation is specific to the type of training.

Whatever training and activities you do, many neurological and physical changes/adaptations occur in response to that workload.

A memory of whatever you do is stored in some part of the brain which can be recalled. This is called ‘Muscle Memory’. Also, metabolic adaptations take place.

Sounds interesting right? Let’s have a look at another picture, which is specificity

Said Principle – Principle of Specificity

Specificity Principle - Fitness HN

Principle of Specificity tells us that,

“Your training must always be specific to your sport & goal / aspect of fitness which you’re wanting to improve”.

Wanna get better at running? RUN. Wanna get better at sprinting, SPRINT. Trying to get better in badminton? PLAY BADMINTON. AS SIMPLE as that!!

You won’t focus on playing/improvising cricket if you wanna get better in badminton. Sensible enough?

But two-sport having a similar mechanism can definitely help each other. Like running/sprinting can also contribute to any other sport having a similar mechanism – just like cycling and running. So you should focus on doing specific tasks, or tasks similar to it.

So if you want to be a sprinter, you will work on sprinting / short explosive movements and if you wanna be a power-lifter, your focus would be on heavy strength training.

Strength & Power is the goal attribute for the power-lifters whereas, Endurance for the marathoners (Different goals/demands of the sport you see?).

A marathoner won’t be able to lift as heavy as the power-lifter and similarly, you can’t expect long hours of running like a marathoner from a power-lifter. They both have trained their bodies as per ‘different goals’.

Every sport has different demands specific to the game whether it’s improving muscular endurance, strength, speed & explosiveness, flexibility, etc.

Said Principle - Fitness HN - Have a specific goal

That’s why having a definite goal is very important!!

Is it having a stronger core? Having huge 3d delts?
Is it improving your muscular endurance or muscular strength?
Is it losing fat or gaining muscle? or it may be just improving your squatting ability?

Obviously even your nutrition protocol would also be specific to your goal. You won’t be consuming calories in a surplus like a pig when your goal is specifically to “CUT”.

*Takeaway Point: Identify what your ‘specific goal’ is and train specifically as per that.


How to break those adaptations of the body to Maximize Your training results?

Said Principle - Fitness HN - Progressive Overload

Key Point: SAID Principle directs us to “progressively overload” the muscles over-time to break the general adaptations of the body.

As the body adapts in response to the STRESS placed on it, it also compensates it by getting stronger and better over-time.

But in order to break the general adaptations of the body and maximizing results, you need to keep progressing ahead imposing more and more demands (overloading it). That’s where the role of PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE kicks in!!

Whether you’re increasing your reps, your sets, your load (weights), TUT (Time under tension), your overall workout volume, changing rest-time between the sets YOU’RE IMPOSING FURTHER DEMANDS on your body !!!!

All the variables can be adjusted according to your goal.

*Takeaway Point: So in order to apply SAID Principle in practice; firstly you need to figure out what your definite GOAL is, and make your workouts challenging overtime with P.O.


How knowing about SAID Principle can help you to maximize your training results??

  • When you understand SAID Principle, you know that you need to have clearly defined goals and train specifically Said Principle - Fitness HN - Get Absolute Resultsas per that instead of wasting time on the ‘non-specific exercises’ which won’t contribute to your goal or sport.
  • It helps you exploring your true potential, figuring out your goals/body, and how it works and reacts to any specific form of stimulus.
  • It makes you realize the importance of the progressive overload principle leading towards MAXIMUM RESULTS!!
  • Also, you get to know about the correct amount of workload to put so that you do not over-train and injure yourself.

Training types and what should you train like:

Said Principle - Fitness HN - What should you train like

  • If your goal is Endurance and Stabilization: Overall high-volume workouts would be ideal. You can do light-moderate weights with higher repetitions (More volume: Low-to-moderate intensity).
  • For the Sprinters whose goal is Power: Quick explosive and high-intensity workouts would be perfect along with short intervals (Less volume: Higher intensity).
  • If it’s STRENGTH (Power-lifters): Training HEAVY and focussing on compound-movements would be the best bet (Low volume: High intensity).
  • For Fat Loss & Hypertrophy: You can periodize your training splits/program into endurance-strength focussed workouts i.e combination of heavy and light-weights so that you can get the best of both worlds. Also, this way you are targeting all of your energy systems and muscle fibers. Read about types of muscle fibers in this article.

*Do you know how “PERIODIZATION” can be a blessing and a smart move for your training results??* I would surely like to write a separate article on this for you guys.


**BONUS GYAN: Said Principle outside the Gym

  • Try feeding your mind/body with laziness and procrastination, it will eventually become LAZY with no drive to achieve something.
  • The Mind always fails first, not the body. The secret is to make your mind work for you, not against you -Arnold SchwarzeneggerAny end result is the outcome of small things that you keep imposing on your mind/body over-time. Feed it with laziness, it will keep getting lazier. Put it in the struggles and hurdles of life, it will keep getting stronger and better over time.
  • Your mind and your body are capable of doing many phenomenal things, it’s just that you need to understand it and tune them up smartly so that they both work in your favor.

Fitness HN - Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it

It’s rightly said, “Life doesn’t get easier, you get stronger”.


SAID Principle stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.

It tells that the body reacts by giving results whenever specific demands are imposed on it. It gets better over time at whatever you practice.

Also, the principle of specificity states that our training should always be specific to our sport/goal/attribute of fitness which we’re wanting to improve.

Training non-specific exercises without a SPECIFIC GOAL would delay your results wasting time

One should have clearly defined goals and work specifically as per that to get topmost results!!

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