Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID) Stages

Stress (stimulus)

Exercise / Physical Activity

Adaptation (response)

Specific responsive biological adjustment to stress

Muscle, bone, heart, lung, vasculature, tendons,ligaments, joint cartilage, etc.

If stress is too great, or sufficient recovery time not allowed

adaptation may be inhibited

decrement in capacity of physiological systems

See overtraining


Adaptation response will begin to slow if the exact same stimulus is continued for a prolonged period of time.


Adaptation is complete after limited time span

Continued stimulus no longer elicits adaptation

Training Specificity

Training effects are specific to the muscle groups used during training and the type of training program implemented (Fox 1975).

Training specifically for the movement pattern, speed, joint position, speed, and type of contraction produces improvement, specifically in those movement parameters (Kreighbaum 1996).

Specific sport or activity yields greatest improvements

Supplement activity or sports training with resistance, cardiovascular, plyometrics, flexibility exercises

Utilize progression and periodization techniques

Also see Adaptation Criteria.

Adaptation is specific to :


Type of training

Components of fitness

Metabolic Pathway

Also see Cross Training


Motor Pattern

Mechanical forces on joints, and bones utilized

Muscles involved

Tension curve

Range of motion




Speed of contraction

power training examples

Metabolic pathways utilized


Time exercising

Recovery between bouts or work intervals

Number of reps

Number of exercises and sets



Fox E, McKenzie D, Cohen K. (1975). Specificity of training: metabolic and circulatory responses. Med Sci Sports, 7(1):83.

Kreighbaum, E., Barthels KM (1996). Biomechanics; A Qualitative Approach for Studying Human Movement, Allyn & Bacon, 4.

Identical-elements Theory

Transfer of learning between various skills and exercise routines can occur if the main elements underlying different skills or situations surrounding performance are identical and similar in nature.

Eg: Gymnastic training aimed at practicing complex exercise maneuvers complement (positively transfer) to the springboard diving.

As the degree of similarity between stimuli and responses decline, conflicting consequences may be experienced.

Transition from gymnastic to diving may not likely transfer because of the dissimilarity between diving and gymnastic somersaulting techniques.

Slobounov SM (2008). Injuries in Athletics, Causes and Consequences, Springer, 25-43

Range of Motion

Perform every weight training exercise through a full range of motion

Recommended by leading authorities

American College of Sports Medicine 1995

Fleck & Falkel 1986

Develops strength throughout full range of motion

Maintains flexibility (Morton 2011, Souza 2013)

necessary for ideal mechanics, function, and joint integrity

Joint adapts to full extension and flexion

Less susceptible to injury at extremes after adaptation

Unless range of motion will never be used

Consider unintentional or accidental range of motion in real world situations

Conditions stabilizing muscles

See examples

Supraspinatus Weakness

Vastus Medialis Weakness.

Full range of motion varies from person to person.

Also see Common Orthopedic Inflexibilities and Over Generalizations.

For elderly adults, perform the maximum range of motion that does not elicit pain or discomfort (ACSM 1995)

American College of Sports Medicine (1995). Principles of Exercise Prescription, William & Wilkins, 5.

Morton SK, Whitehead JR, Brinkert RH, Caine DJ (2011). Resistance training vs. static stretching: effects on flexibility and strength. J Strength Cond Res. 25(12):3391-8.

Slobounov SM (2008). Injuries in Athletics, Causes and Consequences, Springer, 25-43.

Souza AC, Bentes CM, de Salles BF, Reis VM, Alves JV, Miranda H, Novaes Jda S (2013). Influence of inter-set stretching on strength, flexibility and hormonal adaptations. J Hum Kinet. 36:127-35.

Sports Conditioning

Consider all activities when selecting exercises for a strength and conditioning program

jumping, leaping, squatting, lifting, pushing, climbing, running, cutting, blocking, etc.

Unilateral and transverse movements

Other sports-specific training or motor skills

Utilize Periodization techniques for progressive adaptation

general to sports-specific training

Also see Example Power Training Progressions

Also see

Squats and Sports Performance

Resistance Training for the Reduction of Sports Injury is a common practice in collegiate athletics that divers and swimmers utilize similar heavy resistance workouts for upper body, particularly during preparation period. This is inconsistent, at least, with the principle of specificity. Coaches should be aware that "what is honey for a swimmer could be poison for a diver".

Slovounov SM 2008

1 view


2276 Camino Ramon
San Ramon, Contra Costa County 94583

©2020 by Flex Fitness San Ramon.