Specific Adaption to Imposed Demand

How about that title! Talk about a mouth full. In the fitness world we usually just call it the SAID principle. In a nutshell it just means that you get better at what you practice. But the implications of this principle are often overlooked.The SAID principle says that you will get better at the things you practice. So if you spend a lot of time doing pull ups, or even trying to do pull ups, you will improve at pull ups. It’s a little more complicated than just that because you will specifically get better the most at the particular way you do the pull ups.

This fact is the reason why variety is so important. You have to change up the way you move often enough that your body doesn’t become too specialized at particular movements. Going back to the pull up example, and easy way to change things up would be to vary how you grab the bar. Now this isn’t what’s overlooked.

What’s overlooked is that we’re always practicing something and the SAID principle always applies. Ah!!!! I said always… How about the SAID principle still applies. I like that better.

“So what,” you say? It does matter. This means that if you spend 10 hours a day sitting, your body is going to be extremely good at sitting. In fact, it may become so good at sitting, it has hard time doing other things. How many times have you seen an elderly person struggle to get out of a chair. That’s because that person’s body has so adjusted to sitting, it is now a sitting expert. Kind of like Olympic level sitting.

The solution to this problem is really very simple. Note I said simple and not easy. This didn’t used to be a problem when we were hunter gatherers. Our daily existence took care of this problem. Now we have to make a conscious effort to address it. We have to vary the demands placed on our bodies as much as we can because modern life demands so much time in static positions and limits our movement.

Walking, running, jumping, sitting, climbing, swinging, lifting, carrying. These are all fundamental human movements that need to be part of our movement buffet. If we don’t practice them all regularly, we will gradually lose our ability to perform them.

Not only should we be able to perform the above actions well, but we should be able to perform them in a multitude of scenarios. Not just in a gym. The natural world is far more complex than a flat stable hard surface with plenty of room to move around. However, the gym is a great place to get the basics before playing in a more complex environment.

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