General Adaptation Syndrome
Have you ever wondered why working hard is sometimes not enough when it comes to performance training? It makes sense that if you train hard you’ll get, faster, stronger and ultimately better. If just training hard was the key there would be many more accomplished athletes at the elite level. Elite level athletes are motivated, focused and have no aversion with extremely demanding training. I have seen some really nasty workouts in my day. Even with brutal training some of these individuals do not reach their full potential and are not successful in their sport or performance. Why? Training at 100% effort on a daily basis does not allow for optimal recovery, adaptation and super compensation. Training intensely every three to five days will not provide optimum super compensation along with bio motor adaptations. There is a correct recipe. Program design variables, intensity, frequency, volume and duration must be implemented and adjusted accurately. Take a look at these two program examples.
What differences do you find? Prescribing only exercises is just the beginning. With that mindset then performing every exercise you can think of should do the trick.
Just because you have chosen the correct exercise doesn’t mean you will improve.
Let’s look at a prescription for medicine that is written by your medical doctor. Actually you most likely can’t read it. The prescription is written in Latin. What do you see first? The type of medicine. Next we see dosage and duration. Even physicians use this principle. Just taking the medicine alone will most likely not be enough to improve your condition. How long and how much you take is vital.
It’s written that way for a reason. Tell your doctor you have cut short your antibiotic medicine and see what they say!
“Progressive Overload” is a term used as a way to describe how the human body is forced to adapt. Many believe this to mean always pushing past the point where we left off. Training harder and harder each time we train. Hans Selye, an Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist proved that theory is inaccurate. Based on his research and the “General Adaptation Syndrome” stress has to be precisely applied and regulated to allow adaptation to occur and prevent exhaustion.
So as strength and conditioning coaches we have to train our athletes using these design variables. We should be able to tell them how much weight to lift right down to the pound and how far and fast we want them to run right down to the meter and second. This term is called “the appropriate physical progression”. So how do you do that?
Unfortunately there are only recommendations in text books. There are programs that follow the principles and athletes do well to follow them. There are some really good blueprints and scripts but they are always up for adaptation. The best way to learn how to do this is study under someone who is considered accomplished in these areas. Even studying as an apprentice it takes decades to develop an eye like the great ones.