January 01, 2007
Training advancement and adaptation are perfectly obvious principles that are too often ignored, writes Coach Mark Rippetoe of Wichita falls Athletic Club/CrossFit Wichita Falls
Adaptation is the response of the human body to physical stress. And the most fundamental concept in exercise programming is the way adaptation varies among athletes at different levels of training advancement.
The principle of diminishing returns applies quite specifically to physical training, and is obvious to anyone who has trained athletes through the progression from novice to advanced. Novice trainees get strong/fast/quick/ agile/skilled very rapidly; intermediate- level trainees improve more slowly; and advanced athletes, who have begun to closely approach their genetic potential for development and improvement, progress even more slowly.
The principle of diminishing returns leads to some obvious conclusions about training. For instance, changes in the rate of progression from novice to advanced might not be quite so obvious to coaches who work only with advanced athletes, since they have no experience with the process. The strength coach who has developed his programs having only worked with college athletes at the D1 level may very well have no appreciation of the fact that most 15-year-old kids can add ten pounds to their squat every workout for two months, and should do so to take advantage of this ability while they have it.
Your response to training depends on where you are on the road from novice to advanced. Any plans, programs, or projections made without recognition of this fact will not work as intended. Any research conducted without deference to this fact is invalid. Most importantly, any athlete trained without respect to these principles will fail to achieve what he is capable of.