Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why the S.A.I.D Principle Should Govern Your Direction in Training - By Paul Marsland

The S.A.I.D principle, what is it, you may well ask? It stands for SPECIFIC ADAPTATION TO
IMPOSED DEMANDS. What that means is that your training should be geared towards a specific goal or outcome. While I'm all for keeping things as simple as possible when it comes to training , there is also a lot to be said for having a clear understanding of the objective and direction you want your training and results to go in. Its no good simply saying “ I want to be bigger” you need to understand the how and why. And this is where the S.A.I.D principle comes into play.

As it states its a response in our case larger muscles ( if that's your goal) to a specific demand, ie resistance training or more precisely anaerobic stress , but its not simply a matter of lifting weights and hoping for the best. Your training and workouts need to be specifically tailored towards the goal of larger muscles. So the focus ( once beyond the beginners phase) becomes more about HOW you lift the weight, with the goal of targeting the working muscles and trying not too involve the outlying muscles too much. The focus is on squeezing and contracting the muscle, not simply lifting it from point A to point B with no real thought. We also need to be training with sufficient volume in order to fatigue the muscles and obtain a good muscular pump.

Lets look at these points in a bit more detail.

Sufficient Volume, just how much is enough? Well there exists no steadfast rules but what I will do is pick two to three exercise which work the muscles from various angles and then perform 2-4 sets depending on the feel I get from each exercise. If I obtain a good pump and my muscles feel sufficiently fatigued I'll call it a day and move onto the next exercise. The idea is to perform just enough work to stimulate your muscles too grow but without over taxing your system. To this point you should train hard but not to the point of total fatigue or exhaustion. Why the need for a pump? You may ask. While there is no solid evidence that a muscular pump is an indication that muscular growth will occur, what it serves as is a psychological indication that we have done “something” positive, it gives us a visual indicator that we are training in a productive manner and
it makes us look temporary bigger, which is no bad thing.

Why not simply train for strength as surely a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle, right? Well yes and No. While an increase in the cross sectional contractile fibers in the muscle may well result in a stronger muscle, as its ability to produce more force is increased this does not mean it will also increase in size. If our training is geared specifically towards simply getting stronger and with minimal frequency and volume, you may well see an increase in workout poundage’s on a regular basis but without a corresponding increase in size. Understand that muscle is very expensive in terms of the metabolic (energy) costs your body has to use to maintain it and if you add muscle these costs increase in proportion. The body by its very evolutionary nature will resist this as much as possible, hence we need to literally force it into making these costly metabolic changes. By means of sufficient, volume, frequency and intensity.

If for example we simply train for strength whilst also using a low volume and frequency approach to training, the body will look for the least metabolically taxing way too adapt, and this is usually in the form of skill acquisition ( ie, you simply get more skilled at lifting heavier weights, think of pure strength athletes such as Power Lifters and Olympic Lifters as examples of this) or via the neurological system, so your body becomes more efficient at recruiting the available muscle fibers. Hence what happens is you continue to get stronger but not any bigger. This is very much a common complaint of those who train in a High Intensity manner. Again remember we are stressing the body anaerobically.

Your body does not know its lifting weights or it understands is that its being exposed to a specific type of stress to which it must adapt specifically. However if that stress is of such an infrequent nature, again it will see no need to adapt in the form of bigger muscles but choose the least metabolically demanding method. Muscle is simply a protective barrier against a specific type of stress, once that stress is ceased, ie you stop training, your muscles begin to atrophy due to the body no longer needing them.

Remember in this instance we are Bodybuilding, I'm not talking of the 300lb steroid using freaks we see today, but Bodybuilding in the sense we are training to look better. So make sure your training is geared towards this. Its OK to want to lift heavier weights and your training will and should involve progressive overload but not at the cost of everything else. You are in charge of your training and the direction it should go in, don't be like the captain of a ship without a sail, aimlessly floating on the sea with no land in sight.
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