The Key to Making Continuous Fitness Gains

Posted: February 12, 2008 in Articles - Fitness
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The key to making gains in the world of conditioning is adaptation. Adaptation is your body’s response to any thing that affects it. If you do something long enough, your body will adapt to it and it will lose its adaptive effect on your body – this applies to anything from exercise to alcohol consumption.

For example, if you try to do 50 push-ups per day, at first it seems difficult but if you keep doing it, it becomes easy. This is adaptation. In order to progress you either need to change the exercise or increase the difficulty of the exercise.

The key message here is: – do as many different things, as many different ways as you can think of in order to keep you body adapting and thus improving. This is what we aim to do and is one of the main reasons why our programs are so much more fun than anything else out there.
Adaptation takes place via two processes, either by increasing the muscle’s efficiency via the nervous system (neuromuscular adaptation) or via a hormonal release (endocrine response) that increases muscle size and strength. Our workouts are designed to maximise these two systems in order to give you the best gains in the minimum time.

The Basics of Neurological and Hormonal Adaptation

As mentioned, your body uses two main types of adaptation – neurological and endocrinal (hormonal).

Neurological adaptation is when the body increases muscular efficiency via the nervous system. An example of this is using strength training to ‘teach’ the muscle to tense harder in order to produce more force.

The endocrine response, when triggered by exercise, is the release of chemicals into the body that will bring about a change or adaptation. Strength training to increase muscle size is an example of this – the athlete uses a heavy weight and in response the body releases hormones (testosterone, Growth Human and Insulin-like Growth Factors) in order to increase muscle size so that the body can cope with the weight better next time.

What Exercises Best Cause An Adaptational Effect?

Both these processes require a large amount of muscular participation and intensity in order to take effect. This is the key reason why traditional gym-based workouts workouts are inefficient – they largely rely on single joint exercises such as the bicep curl or leg extension or at worst use machines.

This is also the reason why squats, deadlifts and sprinting are the more efficient alternatives – they cause a far greater neurological and hormonal change in the body owing to their multi-joint nature i.e. they are more intense because they use more muscle groups.

Examples of Exercises That Have a Potent Adaptational Effect

As said before they are mostly multi-joint exercises and other high intensity activities. Here are a selection of some of them:

Bodyweight and Gymnastics

  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Dips
  • Handstand Push-ups
  • L-sits
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • One-legged Squats
  • Muscle-ups
  • Presses to handstands
  • Handstands


  • Deadlifts
  • Front, Back and Overhead Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Shoulder press, Push press and Push Jerk
  • Cleans
  • Snatches


  • Rowing
  • Shadow Sparring
  • Sprinting
  • Heavy-bag work
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Rope

These are the exercises we teach you when you come to us. You may not even have heard of some of them, but thats even more of a reason to come and see us.

So, if you’re stuck in a fitness rut, or you just want get started on a decent program that’s actually going to deliver on it’s promises, then drop us a line and try out our free intro session at our Totnes based gym.


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