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Health & Fitness Is Not Magic, But Science!

Workouts Principles – 7 Best Laws to Build Muscle

What are the seven principles of all workouts that you must know if you are serious about building muscle, burning fat, or getting strong? Frederick C. Hatfield, Ph.D., is known as “Dr. Squat” to those involved in strength training, weightlifting, and bodybuilding.

Hatfield was an American world champion powerlifter with a world record squat of 1,014 pounds and has written over 60 books covering every aspect of sports science. Over his 50-year career, he trained hundreds of professional athletes, including Mr. Olympia Lee Haney. His strength training and successful coaching led Hatfield to identify seven common laws that came to be known as the Granddaddy Laws of Training.

Individual Differences –

Fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all. We each have a different genetic make-up, different body types, age, and sex, which all affect how we achieve our fitness goals. No training program will work for everyone, so find the one that works for you.

Overcompensation –

Your body adapts to changes and the demands you put on it. Think you can run a marathon? If you run a little further each day for a year, you can. Also, this is your body adapting to your changing demands. The same principle holds in the gym: add a small amount of weight each session, and your body will work to push that weight.

Overload  –

If you continue to overload a muscle by adding more weight, that muscle will adapt and grow larger and more robust. However, lifting the same weight for the same number of reps will maintain its size and strength, but it will not grow.


The Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID) principle states that you must challenge your body in a specific way that you want to improve. For example, if you want to be stronger, you must strength train. If you want a stronger heart and lungs (cardiorespiratory system), you need cardiovascular training.

Use/Disuse –

Use it or lose it. If you train hard, your body will adapt and improve. However, once you stop training, your body will quickly return to its original “untrained” state. The good news is that once your training has stopped, that skill will be much easier to recover than it was to train and gain initially. Also, this is because you have laid a neurological foundation that makes it easier to recover the lost function.

Specificity –

While general training benefits overall health and fitness, you must advance to specialized training to improve specific areas or skills. Want the most significant bench press in the gym? It would be best if you bench press. Want to improve your speed? It would be best if you had speed drills. While “ancillary” or supporting exercises and movement are beneficial, specific movement skills improve with specific training.


The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) explains how your body reacts to exercise, lifting weights, or running laps on the track. It helps understand how someone new to exercise has different training needs than someone who has been training for years. The GAS principle also explains the need for rest periods so that your muscles have time to repair and recover.

The Last Word on How to Use the Granddaddy Principles to Build Muscle and Strength 

How the Granddaddy Laws affect your training. You must tailor your approach to fitness and the training programs you follow to your fitness goals. When choosing or designing your program, ensure that it targets your goal, is specific, and challenges you to push beyond your current strength and fitness levels. Follow these seven principles of all workouts, and you will reach your fitness goals!

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