Within the iron game, nothing is as confusing and unsolvable as the riddle of adaptation. It is both the crux of problems, the hidden success of many small victories and the source of confusion.
As within any action, the learning curve varies within from highly complex to relatively steep. In the initial stages of learning, in this case an exercise, the individual will lack the technical experience and not perform the movement in the most efficient manner possible. Through dedicated practice, the skill set is developed and along with proper movement patterns, the individual will build the desired muscularity from the exercise.
Once the movement is mastered, there are a number of peculiar points to consider. Firstly, the movement will gradually become a "skill", whereby the muscular benefit will slow to some degree as the technical knowledge on how to perform the movement is learned. Examples such as throwing, kicking a ball or any repetitive action are noteworthy and the same applies within the weight room. As two personal examples, given I perform Squats on a daily basis, often twice and the "stimuli" to the legs is not the same as someone who is less frequent and in-fact, my benefit from an individual training session is significantly different that most. Though an unpopular statement, the same can be said of Kettlebell lifts because once you learn the basic movements, a common snatch lift, where you pull with the legs is simply "too light" regardless of the load for an experienced lifter. In my situation, the question raised is whether I am “exercising” or “practicing”. This however voyages into some murky waters because as once you have perfected the movement you are equally stimulating the manner in which the action was intended. Clearly, this is circuitous problem because while you want to execute the lift properly, you have to be careful of the efficient use of time as well as avoiding monotony in your training regime.
One winning strategy for those dedicated within the training world to circumvent the adaptation curve is by varying exercises on a regular basis. By varying exercises, though maintaining similar movement patters, the individual develops a broad base of general athletic attributes that can serve as the footing for highly specialized skills and not suffers with a rate of diminishing returns.
Inside the Diamond Mine is a regular column prepared by John Davies for USP Labs that will contain secret tips on how to gain the most from your training as well as answering issues direct from our readers.