4. SAID Principle

Your muscles and their respective subcellular components will adapt in highly specific ways to the demands (adaptive stress) you impose upon them in your training. This applies as well to various bodily systems and tissues other than your muscles. This is the SAID Principle, the acronym for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.” If your training objectives include becoming more explosive, then you have to train explosively. If you desire greater limit strength (primarily from an increase in the cross section of myofibrils), you must use heavier weights than if you were training, for example, local muscular endurance (capillarization and mitochondrial adaptations). If your objectives include deriving cardiovascular benefits, then you must tax the heart muscle as well as the oxygen-using abilities of the working muscles.

In fact, the SAID principle is so uncompromising in its highly researched tenet of training “specifically” that problems frequently arise if one possesses more than one training objective at a time. The specific training required for one will frequently detract from the expected gains in the other. For example, training for aerobic strength endurance (aerobic power) will severely limit the level of limit strength one can attain. Similarly, stressing one’s ATP/CP energy system calls for different training methods than does training one’s glycolytic (lactic acid) or aerobic (oxidative) energy systems.

Your specific adaptive responses to exercise can change dramatically over time. This is particularly true as you age. But it is also true if you have successfully improved your body’s recovery abilities. Clearly, this can be accomplished through the use of (illegal and often dangerous) drugs or through the use of certain nutritional supplements. Simply, with improved recovery ability, your body has become a different body, so the adaptation mechanisms have changed.


2. Overcompensation Principle

Calluses build up on your hands as an adaptive response to friction. Muscle fibers grow in size and strength in response to training. Lacerated tissue develops scar tissue. All involve Mother Nature’s law of overcompensation for a stress response. In other words, it is nothing more than a survival mechanism built into the genetic code of the species.

3. Overload Principle

Related to the Overcompensation principle is the principle that states that in order to gain in strength, muscle size or endurance from any training, you must exercise against a resistance greater than that “normally” encountered. If you use the same amount of resistance for the same number of repetitions every workout, there will be no continued improvement beyond the point to which your body has already adapted.

There is a built-in problem with this principle. Your body is wonderfully adaptable to stresses imposed during training. As you get stronger and stronger, the stress levels required to force added adaptation rise to such a height that your recuperative powers simply cannot keep up. The solution? It is very simple. At this point you must go to a split system of training. Then, perhaps later, a double or even triple split. The only other solution will be for your training progress to plateau (or worse, you will enter a state of overtraining), as you are not affording your body ample time for recovery — and further adaptation — to occur. This solution begs the question of how to “periodize” your training.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) 

There are numerous training philosophies in the fitness industry. From books and magazines to videos and the Internet, the information can be overwhelming. Some work best for strength, others for size. Some for cuts, some for speed. Some for sports, some for fitness. Some for hard gainers, some for beginners. Even if you have time to peruse all of them and adequate knowledge of training science to make informed choices, uncertainty as to which is best can still paralyze you. Science, then, must guide you. After all there is really only one science. But all too frequently, science is misinterpreted, which leads to confusion.

There are well-documented training principles that are important in judging the merits of any training system. There are at least seven overlapping principles upon which all systems must rely if optimum effectiveness in training outcomes is to be expected. Most (but not all) of the training systems popular in current muscle magazines adhere only in part to The Seven “Granddaddy” Laws. What determines whether a training system is more or less effective than another lies in how these laws are implemented, how they are used to the best advantage of the trainee and whether or not they are even considered.

1. Principle of Individual Differences

This principle is an acknowledgment that we all have different genetic blueprints. David Q. Thomas, Ph.D. stated, “We all will have similar responses and adaptations to the stimulus of exercise, but the rate and magnitude of these changes will be limited by our differing genetics. Some are fast responders and others are slow responders. Some have the capacity to reach elite status and some do not. If we have everyone perform the same exercise program, they will all not receive the same benefits at the same rate or to the same extent. This is an important principle to teach to people wishing to start an exercise program or to youngsters just coming into sports. There are two reasons: 1) so they can set realistic goals, and 2) so they do not get frustrated when they do not see miraculous changes in their bodies or performance.”

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) 8th Edition Text

Dr. DeVries of USC has shown that men and women in their 70s and 80s can achieve levels of vigor associated with people 30 years younger. This means that assuming there are no underlying disorders, exercise can make an 85-year-old as strong as a 55-year-old person. Regular participation in physical activity can raise the fitness level of an active 64-year-old to that of an average, sedentary 30-year-old.

In 1984, Dr. Bortz, co-chairman of the American Medical Association’s Task Force on Aging and past president of the American Geriatrics Society, took all the information he had gathered over many years and compiled them in a review paper titled “Disuse and Aging” for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bortz concluded that if you recorded a list of all the changes in the human body that are attributed to aging and then compiled a similar list of changes due to physical inactivity, you would notice a striking similarity between the two lists. For example, changes associated with both aging and inactivity include changes in muscles, bones, brain, cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep habits, sexual performance, psychological inventory and so forth. The near duplication of the lists demonstrates that many of the bodily changes we have always ascribed to the normal aging process may really be caused by disuse. It is imperative that older adults understand the significance of this information and are educated as to how to prevent many of these changes with activity.

The founder of the American Running and Fitness Association, Richard Bohannon, MD, says that more than half of all older adults believe they get enough exercise through minimal walking and routine activities. In truth, more strenuous activities provide greater fitness gains and more preventative benefits; with proper supervision, older adults are perfectly capable of training at higher intensities. Gerontologists tell us that once we reach the age of 50 the need for fitness is even more crucial due to the many physiological changes that occur with age.

Another myth of aging is that as you get older, you naturally become more fragile. However, when we look at the bones of older runners, like the runners mentioned previously, we see minimal loss of bone due to the continual force applied to the bones over many years of running. Wolf’s Law, named for the German pathologist who first proclaimed it, states: “The robustness of a bone is in direct proportion to the physical forces applied to that bone.” In short, if we remain active our bones will remain strong. Participation in vigorous exercise and recreational activities regularly over a lifetime can yield rewards garnered well into the later years of life. Adults who lead a sedentary existence lose bone density and increase their risk of fracturing bones in accidents in their homes or of becoming unable to perform daily living activities. People who continue to lead healthy, active lives into their later years are at less risk for such serious and debilitating injuries. Researchers at UCLA performed a study on 4,300 people. Of that population, only 12% who exhibited few or no unhealthy habits became disabled over the next decade. Nineteen percent of those who had many bad habits paid the price by way of illness, disability and death.

Healthy habits not only reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks and cancer, but also reduce other chronic ailments that can be physically, psychologically and financially debilitating. The bottom line is this: The more exercise has been a constant in your life the better your chances are of living long and well.

Older adults who want to maintain physical and emotional independence must engage in regular exercise.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) 8th Edition Text

I have no idea where I’ve been over the past couple of days.  I just realized that I haven’t posted anything since the 1st of the month which is the longest amount of time I’ve gone since starting this blog.  With the people I train, my kids, family, and the fact that I just started a new site about 2 weeks ago, I guess that’s where I am spending most of my time.  I’m coming with all the wrong excuses.  (I have a buddy that says that to people on a regular basis as if there is a such thing as an acceptable excuse.)  🙂 

The title ‘Why This Site Is So Awesome” is for a reason.  That reason is because I received an email informing me of how I was voted as one of the top blogs for the month of May.

Here I am busy (wrong excuse :)) over the past couple of days and this shows up.  I appreciate this because I have reached a few readers who really enjoy my blog and which reminds me of the reason why I started this blog in the first place. 

I started this blog so I could make an attempt at growing a large community of readers so I can share on a regular basis the information that has helped me and many others.  I am passionate about training and helping others achieve their goals, therefore, I must remember, that is why I chose to blog.  I’m still old school in many ways and I believe that no matter what the circumstances are, if I make a commitment, then there is no backing out.   Three days is too long and it makes me feel somewhat disconnected from the world. 

With all that said,I want to take time to thank you all and thank the ladies over at The Diet Pulpit for reminding me of why I chose to blog. 

The other problem is one of ignorance and tradition. Women are simply trained like “girls.” This is unacceptable. Even when female athletes are trained, coaches often use a hodge-podge of techniques driven by “that’s what I did when I was on the team.” Many are taught to be weak. Way too often, sports coaches just throw excessive endurance training at their athletes in the form of long distance running because they simply do not understand the energy system requirements of their sport. They don’t actually know what to do so they just dismiss it as “running far builds endurance.” Unfortunately, it is rarely the type of endurance required unless you happen to be a track or cross country athlete involved in the sport of distance running. Most often you only get bored, fatigued, overheated athletes with overuse injuries and muscles that are too worn out to perform the explosive elements required in most sports.

Things don’t get any better in the weight room. Everyday I fight the notion that “I can’t do that; I’ll get bulky.” Many women have absolutely no idea of the wonderful things they are capable of obtaining in the gym. Those who are involved in sports are often mistreated and under coached. My dream is for everyone who trains to use the same science and the same care and attention regardless of gender and regardless of how many advertising dollars their pro career will be worth. I want to see athletes trained like athletes, plain and simple.

One of the first things I do with all of my athletes, male or female, is to teach them to squat correctly. Just the simple neurological programming of learning to squat with the posterior chain while pushing the hips back gives females a better choice of technique to use in landing. Women tend to decelerate a landing with their quads, which is the opposite of the male tendency to use the hamstrings/glutes to decelerate. I always ask people if they have ever seen a toddler deep-squatting to play with some toys on the floor. Watch them. Head up, chest up, hips back, and the knees are over the ankles. We spend our lives unlearning what is a very natural squatting position. I want all of my athletes/clients to relearn it.

Once people learn to use the posterior chain properly and strengthen it to previously unconceivable levels then landing and decelerating with it become natural. With the exception of the squat/deadlift and its variations, the all time best weapon against knee injuries is the hamstring bulletproofing movement know as the Glute-Ham-Gastroc raise. Many people, even the strong ones, cannot do a single rep at the beginning with the footplate set on its easiest position. This shows you right away how grossly under trained the hamstrings are.

In my years of coaching athletes, I’ve encountered many people with tremendous quad strength, weak hams, and, of course, knee pain. Once they bring up their posterior strength, the knee pain usually disappears. The posterior chain is engaged in this exercise from the bottom of the toes all the way to the back of the head. The large calf muscles cross the knee joint along with the hamstrings from the other direction, and a stronger muscle-tendon junction here would help with increased knee stability.

Training should come at knee stability from other angles as well. Knee valgus, or being knock-kneed, is fairly common and dangerous to the medial collateral ligament. One of the best ways to shore up the knee and prevent, or even potentially alleviate this condition, is to strengthen the muscles on the upper/outer side of the hip. Specifically this would be the gluteus medius/minimus, tensor fasciae latae, and the I.T. band (iliotibial). There are several great athletic movements to help these muscles. No angle should be ignored. The structure of the knee demands that it be strong in all directions. This means making all of the muscles of the lower body strong and ready for action.

One of the biggest things differentiating my training from others is that I don’t consider women to be second-class athletes. They are different, to be sure, but are capable of unbelievable heroics, athletic grace, and beauty. I’m lucky in that I get to see women doing amazing things in the gym and on the field all of the time. I’m not interested in hearing about estrogen and menstrual excuses for knee problems. Furthermore, there have been differences noted in landing technique between male and female athletes. These can be addresses by proper training and are therefore not a huge issue.

I’ve often said that female athletes use brains and heart to accomplish things that testosterone makes much easier. Smarter training will prevail. The real issue lies in the lack of proper coaching. People need to be educated. Our little girls deserve it. Our moms deserve it.

Bob Jodoin is an ISSA master trainer, a New York strength master trainer, a NBFE fellow, and a former director of strength and conditioning at Total Performance Sports. He is now a strength and conditioning coach as well as a personal trainer in sunny Orlando, Florida. Bob serves as a strength and conditioning advisor for youth sports to the Winter Springs Pop Warner Midgets, the Wild AAU 13U baseball, and M-PACT Sports. He can be reached at bobjnys@aol.com.

Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories visit us at http://www.EliteFTS.com.

Being a father of 3 one boy athlete and two young female athletes, this article is probably my most favorite of all time.  I will break this into two sections so follow along.

“Girls are stronger. Boys are stinky” This is what my 6-year-old little girl says when asked who is stronger. I want her to understand from a young age that women are not second-class athletes. My baby girl is never going to be sent over to the pink dumbbell rack and the treadmill and told to lift light while the boys are overtraining the squat. She’ll be under the bar with the boys, and if they give her a hard time, she will only have to say, “Don’t make me call my Dad!”

Sports opportunities are on the rise, and female athletes keep gaining more recognition. It isn’t near enough, but it’s slowly getting better. There are many incredible role models out there. Female athletes are my heroes because they do things with their brains and heart that the males need testosterone to do. They are fierce! This is all a good thing.

The bad thing is that female athletes are tearing up their anterior cruciate ligaments at an alarming and epidemic rate. This is sad, wrong, and most likely preventable, at least to a much greater degree than what is currently happening. Any sport where female athletes need to decelerate and change direction on their feet shows an ACL injury rate some eight times more than in male athletes.

The whole issue really came home to me when a good friend of mine, Dr. Jack Barnathan, DC (ISSA director of fitness sciences), gave his talk on female ACL injuries. I found the problem to be absolutely outrageous, especially when I learned what the medical community was doing about it.

I’m going to do something about it. I’m doing something about it right now. My strength does not lie in the lab or in the halls of academia. I do my work in the gym. I teach women how to squat.

First, I want to identify one of the problems. Bodybuilding is a sport. I give my iron brothers and sisters respect because they work hard and are more dedicated to diets than probably any other group of athletes. There are techniques used in bodybuilding that serve a special purpose for correcting issues of symmetry and proportion. Their primary goal is isolation. However, these techniques typically have no place in athletics. The human body is not meant to work in isolation but is rather a remarkable machine that does its best work when working in concert with different aspects of itself.

One of the biggest demons rears its ugly head in the name of isolating the quadriceps muscle group. This is the sinister and malevolent creature known as the leg extension machine. Since the predominant media force comes from the bodybuilding magazines, the public has learned all of its technique and terminology from them. Unfortunately, this includes our athletic and fitness community.

The bodybuilder, when posing in the mirror, is very concerned about the biceps, quads, rectus abdominus, and the pectorals. These muscles are not, however, the most important for athletic human movement. The more important muscles are those of the posterior chain, the ones that you cannot see in the mirror. The posterior chain starts at the heel and continues up the back of the leg right into the muscles of the lower back. As a group, they are under trained. This is one problem.

Bob Jodoin is an ISSA master trainer, a New York strength master trainer, a NBFE fellow, and a former director of strength and conditioning at Total Performance Sports. He is now a strength and conditioning coach as well as a personal trainer in sunny Orlando, Florida. Bob serves as a strength and conditioning advisor for youth sports to the Winter Springs Pop Warner Midgets, the Wild AAU 13U baseball, and M-PACT Sports.

Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories visit us at http://www.EliteFTS.com.