The SAID Principle

“In matters of style, swim like a fish, in matters of principles stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson

The human body is an adaptable complex biological system which adheres to biological principles. To attain optimal results (adaptations) in regards to the process of training/treatment, one must adhere to and apply these basic principles. One of the most fundamental principles is the SAID Principle; Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. It means that when the human body is placed under stress, it will start to (up to the point of biological limit) make adaptations which will enable the body to get better at withstanding that SPECIFIC form of stress in the future. Essentially this Principle means that the human body is always trying to get better at EXACTLY what you do.

The SAID Principle is a law that fundamentally defines the process of training, treatment, and essentially life. The concept that the human body functions as a complex biological system which has the ability to adapt to stressors by building extra capacity and strength which are specific to that stressor, as the body predicts that it will be exposed that stressor again in the future. Extra strength and capacity is developed as the body prepares for what has YET to happen, assuming a worse stressor is possible. In training terms, if you lift 100lbs (your maximum), a certain amount of additional strength and capacity will be added as your body predicts the next time you may have to lift 110lbs.

In effect the law says that stressors act as critical information for the complex biological system. Furthermore, it states that the human body can benefit from stressors (make adaptations; build strength, capacity, etc.), up to its biological limit and the adaptations are SPECIFIC to the stressors.

Understanding that the body specifically adapts to stressors is CRITICAL to the success of any training or treatment protocol. It is empowering to the trainer, coach, therapist, etc. The training/treatment process can be defined as: applying specific physical stress via training/treatment stimulus, recovering from that stress, and thereby adapting to that stress by developing extra strength, capacity, function, etc. Thus, optimal adaptations reflect careful planning, coordination and implementation of training/treatment.

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John Quint NMT, FR, FRCms, FRA, ART, CAFS

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