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Adaptation
March 4, 2015

Quote: “People who believe they have the power to exercise some measure of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives.” ~Albert Bandura

Task:  Seek professional guidance when beginning a program to maximize your training and health gains.   

Physiological adaptations to exercise are the changes that occur within the body in response to the stimulus of physical exertion. This is often referred to as the “SAID” principle, or “Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands” (Davidson, 1998).

By placing the body under a specific stress, it causes a biological adjustment from various systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, and nervous. The adaptations that occur are dependent on time, the type of training program, the environment, and the individual involved.

Adaptations may take place within the first 4 to 24 weeks of training, which is where the majority of research has been performed. For example, the neurological efficiency of muscle recruitment improves after only two to three weeks of heavy resistance training, where as permanent increases in the actual size of the muscle fiber typically takes roughly six to eight weeks to show changes (Harris & Dudley, 2000).

The end result of both of these adaptations is an increase in strength. Further, the type of training and variables such as specificity, intensity, frequency, and variation have one of the strongest and most direct impacts on physiological adaptations. These components can be manipulated when designing a training program to target specific physiological systems.  

In addition, environmental factors such as altitude and climate will ultimately affect physiological adaptations. For example, at elevations greater than 1200m, adaptations occur to compensate for the reduced partial pressure of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere.  

Individual variation will also affect the training response. Each individual is restricted by an upper limit of their genetic potential which directs the absolute magnitude of the training adaptation.

Similarly, an individual’s training status will also affect their potential for growth and change. A person just beginning a program will have more room for adaptation relative to their peak potential compared to an individual who has been training for years. This is referred to as the adaptational window (Fleck & Kraemer, 2004).

 

References:

Davison, K. S. (1998). Exercise Physiology: Training Manual. pp 36.

Harris, R. & Dudley, G.  (2000). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 2nd, NSCA.  Chapter 2:          Neuromuscular Anatomy & Adaptations to Conditioning.  

Fleck, S. & Kraemer, W.  (2004).  Designing Resistance Training Programs, 3rd ed.  Developing the             Individualized Resistance Training Workout; pg. 175-176.  Human Kinetics.

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