I am talking merely from a bodybuilding/muscle building perspective here, because that is where this idea thrives...
Adaptation can be good. It takes 3-4 weeks or longer for my body to adapt to the specific demands of a training style/routine, and once adapted my progression of weight improves. I have run rest-pause systems and didn't get any strength gains until after week 4 - once my body adapted to specific demands. With a fullbody it took 6-8 weeks.
Once the body has adapted to specific demands of a program and it's lifts (like squats or whatever) you can finally get on to the business of making good progress. If you constantly switch programs you ARE forcing your body to adapt, but this adaptation to specific demands doesn't mean you are making gains.
I can walk uphill on Day 1 and get real sore. By day 15 my body is adapting to specific demands and I can start to focus on performance rather than deal with recovery and soreness. It is here that the real work begins, and the progression is made.
It is my opinion that this initial soreness in response to a shocking new approach is more of a survival mechanism than anything. Your body is saying, hey...whoa chill...what was that? I am not ready for that. Once you start doing it day in and day out, and the body sees that this is going to be a constant demand, does it not adapt itself to this demand and start allowing you to perform better?
So it is not the initial shock that creates changes, but rather a consistent shock over time that forces the body to grow strong, allowing for performance increase?
Because progression in some form is a cornerstone of strength and muscle, a program must be run long enough to allow the body to not only adapt to specific demands, but also for it to have time to increase performance. Changing every 8 to 12 weeks from DC to Wendler's to whatever might be fooling the body, but it is not a recipe for max performance, and max gains of muscle and strength.
You also have to factor in CNS adaptation, as well as the adaptation of connective tissue, joints, etc to specific demands. Once a body adapts it's CNS and connective tissue strength to a specific demand, will it not be safer and more productive to use this program/lift?
In my opinion the safest and most effective training style for non-advanced lifters is a program that uses basic, compound lifts and focuses on weekly progression rather than shock and awe.
Shock and awe is needed for steroid users. They play a different game and require receptor stimulation to maximize new growth. Natural lifters don't play this game. The best shock they can give the body is a +1 pound/rep increase after the body has safely adapted to the demands of a specific lift and are able to handle the challenge somewhat safely.
I am no expert on this subject, so mileage may vary...
You do not maximize performance during the adaptation process, rather when you have adapted and can do a task more efficiently, and with lower risk of injury.
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Last edited by BendtheBar; 01-08-2011 at 09:39 AM.