In this article I am going to cover a few concepts that are integral to the foundation of basic training theory. An understanding of them is absolutely necessary in the development of a truly effective training structure or plan.
Your body, and every other living organism, survives within the environment by regulating against stimulus (homeostasis), or adapting to manage it (supercompensation). When we train, we are attempting to circumvent homeostasis in order to trigger the necessary adaptations to improve. The graph below shows how the body responds to stimulus over time.
Image Source: http://www.8weeksout.com/
There is an apparent issue with considering this alone though, if the stimulus remains the same, we cannot expect to see continual improvement. Because the elevated level of performance costs the body more energy to sustain, it seeks to return to its previous, more efficient state of being. This is where the concept of progressive overload comes in to play. The idea being that we increase the stimulus at the time of supercompensation and begin the process again from a higher point on the graph. A very basic example of this would be gradually increasing the weight used in an exercise each session after allowing time for recovery.
Image Source: http://www.coachr.org
In theory, progressive overload can be applied indefinitely (within reason) as long as the stimulus is variable and consistently increasing. As previously mentioned, you cannot expect to do the same thing and expect to continue to improve though. Simply increasing the weight of an exercise will only work for so long, you then must find another variable to change. This is the subject of the following article ‘Training Variables (How To Always Improve)’.
If you have any further questions or are interested in the coaching I can offer, please feel free to contact me via email. movementpowerul @ gmail.com