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http://articles.elitefts.co m/training-articles/training-with-purpo se-so me-tho ughts-o n-adaptatio n/
Training with Purpose: Some Thoughts on Adaptation
To def ine adaptation, one could go with the term in the biological sense, which would be the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat or habitats (2). T his process is ongoing and happens throughout the entire lif e of a living thing. When we cease to adapt, we will no longer survive. However, we aren’t talking about the day-to-day lif e of all living things. T he way I want to look at adaptation is in the realm of sports training. While this is a scientif ic process and some science will be included here, I’ll try to look at this practically as opposed to trying to pack as many big words into an article as possible. T here are already tons of resources out there that do so, and I want this to be an everyday look at some considerations to the process of adaptation and how it applies to athletics.
The concise version
To f irst understand adaptation, you need to understand what exactly happens to cause the process. T he f irst concept to understand is homeostasis. T his is nothing more than maintaining stable conditions. Your body wants to have a level of equilibrium and will strive to maintain this. When you train, you are introducing an external irritant to your body. With this external irritant, internal irritants within the body also arise. T his, in turn, disrupts homeostasis. When disrupted, the body will initially be in a compromised state and have an inability to deal with these irritants. However, it will use the appropriate energy sources, systems, and processes to cope. With enough exposure alternated with periods of removal of that exposure, the body will reconstruct itself and be able to deal with more than bef ore. Once the body has stabilized, the irritants will no longer cause these reactions because a new level has been achieved. T his is what some will call accommodation. At this point, f rom a training perspective, new irritants need to be introduced to f urther elicit responses.
sequencing of exercises. one has to look at the issues of standardization. According to Bondarchuk. volume. intensity. the following benefits can be seen from standardization (1): shortening the limits of entry into the state of sports f orm directing the training transf er f lowing restorative processes to the central nervous system and other body systems . there really is more to it. Much will depend on exercise selection. Standardization is covered extensively by Bondarchuk in Transfer of Training in Sports (volume two). St andardizat ion of t raining loads When it comes to producing adaptations. While on the surf ace it appears that it is merely a process of stimulate (disruption of homeostasis) and adapt. T he basic idea is that the same exercises are used f or a given period of time f or a given amount of training sessions. Training is anything more than systematically disrupting this equilibrium and allowing higher levels of f unctioning to occur.T his all goes back to the principle that your body wants nothing more than to survive and will attempt to adapt to reach homeostasis. and macro-cycles. and designing micro-. meso-.
If this happens. you will retain the inf ormation f or a longer period. T he process of adaptation is to continue to disrupt homeostasis and make the body create new adaptations. If you actually take the time to learn the material and practice its use. the better an athlete can become at perf orming the movement. this isn’t to say that the same exercises should be perf ormed over and over. desired training ef f ects. exercises. Also. T hink of it this way—if you study f or a test f or one night simply to pass.learning and improving technical mastery T he shortened period prior to entry into sports f orm occurs because the same exercises are used. the body can restructure more quickly with the appropriate adaptations. T his helps ingrain motor patterns and assist with the ability to join previously learned concepts with new ones. T his allows the body to adapt due to constant stimulus f rom the same exercises f or the given time. the more the exercise is practiced with desired f orm. On the other end of the spectrum. Due to this. and other f actors. looking at the technical mastery aspect. T his is individual and must be looked at through numerous variables such as the qualif ication of the athlete. intensity. Unf ortunately. some people look at any standardization as bad and f eel the need to vary exercises in every training session. competition calendar. you will only retain that inf ormation f or that purpose. all that occurs is disruption of homeostasis. T his doesn’t allow the body to restructure itself accordingly. accommodation (equilibrium in presence of stimulus) will occur. and so on must be changed. . However. volume. af ter a certain period. Due to this.
restorative blocks. While some may think it is as simple as this causing internal stimuli that will lead to adaptation. as his def ense mechanisms step up their game. However. the f irst reaction is to only return the body to its initial state. Basically. When the body is constantly loaded with high central nervous system stressors. it is interesting to consider. T his will help shif t the phase of inhibition back to excitation. . but it does have some relevancy in this discussion. T he strength of the irritants can inf luence whether or not there is an excitatory or inhibitory response.Def ense mechanisms Within the process of adaptation. jumps. Improvement in sports takes place rapidly over the f irst f ew years. it is more complex. When a stimulus is presented. I know I have beat a dead horse with this subject. As the athlete progresses. According to Bondarchuk. Elite athletes can be observed to have a greater number of periods where increases can be observed as they work to develop sports f orm. T he idea of alternating these means isn’t anything new. this becomes much more dif f icult. T he use of intense training sessions will cause a strong inhibitory response. which should include deload weeks periodically or. intensive throws. the athlete is winning the battle against his body’s def ense mechanisms because they don’t resist. Another way to look at this is in the longer term programming. on an even larger scale. T hose athletes who seem to be superior usually take to training better. dose it correctly. In turn. At this point. this prevents this f rom occurring (1). T his is the basis of the high-low programming that Charlie Francis developed and it has been discussed numerous times by Buddy Morris and the T hinker. T he extraction of genetic inf ormation f rom DNA molecules appears to cease and rapid increases begin to slow down. it can also be theorized that the weaker def ense mechanisms also make these athletes more prone to injury. T he body can only handle so much over time and eventually will be pushed to inhibition if constantly loaded. T his process prevents the spread of excitation to nerve cell ensembles that should not participate in the activity. T hey reach the desired training ef f ects and of ten at f ar less volumes. If the loading continues to be in this region. this is limiting the ability of the body to adapt. Inhibition appears as a precursor to maintaining f orm. T his will return the body to homeostasis as opposed to f urther changes that would establish new levels of adaptation. light or upper body weights). Because of this. these processes are attempting to direct the excitation to the areas that should be af f ected and limit the spread elsewhere. in an adaptational sense. so to speak. or stop it all together if there is a need f or this (1). inhibition will be lengthened even more so. extensive jumps and throws. Another consideration of def ense mechanisms is the qualif ication of the athlete. By alternating periods of high intensity (sprints. T he process of inhibition is one of these mechanisms. Inhibitory processes will minimize immediate excitation. it is necessary to alternate periods of intensive loading with those of extensive loading. this is to give the body systems the ability to mobilize themselves in time f or f uture counteractions against f urther external irritants. heavy or lower body weights) with periods of low intensity (tempo runs. At this point. it allows the body to shif t back to excitation and allows the central nervous system to recover. the inhibitory response will prevent f urther adaptation and hinder recovery. While this theory isn’t completely proven. there are processes within the body that act upon the introduction of external stimuli. It has been theorized that the def ense mechanisms in truly elite athletes are weaker.
or whatever training ef f ect you seek in order to survive. more explosive. or competition. it is time to move on in one way or another. T he problem with this is that they don’t really know what they’re trying to accomplish. Appropriate selection of training means will help produce the desired training ef f ects while limiting inhibitory responses.95 bottle of bum wine. All the means of producing the desired training ef f ects need to be logically placed in a long-term system of developing the athlete. f aster. meet. In closing. I’ve known both athletes and coaches (sadly) who change the complex of exercises every training session without any real reason f or it other than that they get bored with the same things f or more than one day. It will always try to maintain a level of equilibrium.Adaptation needs to be looked at f or what it is—a multi-year process. In order to get the advancements that are desired. Variation with some logical programming will assist in continuing the process of adaptation. I assure you that attempting to rush this process will create nothing but headaches like that $2. which itself is adaptation. one can actually set back progress. especially in the long run. While it may be easier to go to the corner store and buy Cisco or MD 20/20. it takes logical planning to “f ool” the body into thinking that it needs to become stronger. Once the body reaches a level of accommodation to the stimulus. It is also important to know when it is time to change the exercises. is best aged slowly like a f ine wine. they probably don’t have any idea as to why they did. Remember that all your body wants is to survive. Many athletes and coaches get tunnel vision and only train f or the next game. I have had training partners who keep repeating the same programs and sets of exercises over and over but somehow think that they will have better results. by trying to look f or quick f ixes and introduce means that may be too intensive at times. Conversely. always remember that training. Sports training is also adaptation and needs to be looked at in the same way. Even if by some chance they did. Ref erences . However.
Ultimate Athlete Concepts: Michigan.).1. New York: Appleton-Century-Crof ts. Volume 2 (1st ed. Related Articles: Adaptation Revisited Training with Purpose: I’m No Mechanic. pg1–34. 2. Bondarchuk Anatoliy P (2010) Transfer of Training in Sports. II. Dobzhansky T. Steere WC (1968) “On some f undamental concepts of evolutionary biology” Evolutionary Biology. but… Jump with a Purpose . Vol. Hecht MK.
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