We place a premium on complexity in the world of training, but the truth is: simple wins. There are really only two rules you need to keep in mind when designing and following a program:
- Law of Specificity
- Law of Progressive Overload
These two rules determine strength, mobility, capacity, endurance, energy systems development...you name it, it follows these rules.
Law Of Specificity
Your body gets good at the things you do most often. On a cellular level it is always paying attention to the positions you put it in most often and the loads it has to handle within those positions. That's why pushups won't prep your body for handstands. There may be some transfer, but bearing load with arms perpendicular to the body is very different from bearing your bodyweight overhead. If you want to be better at certain movements, you need to approximate those positions and loads.
Law Of Progressive Overload
Your body is about 80% connective tissue, all of which responds similarly to stress. The body wants to conserve energy, so it will create adaptations that allow for more energetic efficiency. Given appropriate demands (those that it can recover from), it will super-compensate and lay down cellular building blocks to make denser bones, stronger muscles, etc. If we want to be more capable, we need to challenge it more.
I wish it was more complicated, but that's the extent of it. When in doubt about your practice, defer to these two rules. Ask yourself:
Does this movement I'm training specifically apply to the things I want to be capable of?
Is this demand on my system more than it was last time, but within my ability to recover from?