Let’s be real, the body isn’t a big fan of any form of change on any level. In fact, the human body is actually quite acquiescent to growth and change and at the same time, will fight tooth and nail against efforts to bring about said change. On a cellular level the body is highly adaptable and efficient at making both negative and positive changes but it does not like change that seeks to shed excess body fat or add muscle and it will protect itself by putting on more fat and resisting muscle growth.
The body functions by the integration of muscular systems. Think about it: we walk, we chew, we breathe, we have bowel movements, our heart beats, we talk, we blink, etc…and any dysfunction within this system of muscles creates malfunctions and prevents these activities from carrying out their normal function. So, when we put our bodies under the stress of exercise, we engage all of these muscular systems. And since muscles require a LOT of energy, they require a healthy and steady supply of oxygen and nutrients, we, as trainers, novices, and athletes, want to take advantage of these resources.
Enter the five principles of training … we use these principles of training because we know that when we test the muscle systems with workloads that it’s not accustomed to, previously, the body will respond and adapt to the next exposure to the same or greater stimulus and workload by getting stronger in order to handle the new load.
Here are the 5 principles of training essential to a solid exercise program:
Repeatedly practicing a skill or a series of movements past required performance is a method of overloading where quality and quantity are used to master said skill or series of movements and to overcome and minimize error. Skills and movements are of higher quality when fatigue does not affect the trainee’s ability to properly pattern movements.
To ensure that results will continue to improve over time, the degree of the training intensity must continually increase above the adapted work load. Increasing weight is the most popular and most applicable method of progression; however, progression can also be accomplished by changing frequency, number of exercises, complexity of exercises, the number of sets, and in any combination.
Exercise is stress and because the body efficiently acclimates to stress, specificity is imposing a specific type of stress on the body repeatedly and in a variety of ways. The Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (SAID) affirms that the body will improve its performance of a specific exercise over time.
Exposing the body to an entirely new stimulus creates consistent performance enhancements and will lower the risk of over-use injuries, over-training, lessen boredom, and aid in maintaining training intensity. Altering load, volume, frequency, exercise variety, and rest periods can also enhance performance.
The benefits of training are lost with prolonged periods without training. On the flip side, this also means that the detraining effect can be reversed once training is resumed. Extended rest periods reduce fitness and the physiological effects diminish over time which throws the body back to its pre-training condition … reductions in performance can be lost in as little as two weeks and sometimes sooner. Interestingly, training has a lingering effect even when discontinued in that strength levels after de-training are seldom lower than pre-training levels.
Homeostasis is the body’s physiological response to overall equilibrium, stability and internal/external comfort. For the most part, any activity that disrupts the body’s homeostatic state will trigger a series of actions within our integrated muscular system: increased heart rate, blood flow, oxygen consumption, etc.. So, in order to create a positive change and muscle hypertrophy-even a less extreme goal of simply increasing cardio health, will disrupt homeostasis. The body likes homeostasis … it will fight to maintain homeostasis, this is normal, barring any preexisting health concerns.
Your job, should you choose to accept: shock, push, pull, and surprise the body with new, safe, and increased training stimulus, to force change.