Muscular adaptation is an integral part of the training process. Every bodybuilder has faced at least one time this issue, and have tried to find out how to deal with it. Muscular adaptation define the situation when body feeling one and the same load over time just getting used to it.
It would be wrong to say that this phenomenon has only a negative impact. There are many types of sport where muscle adaptation help to do movements automatically, and this is especially important in case of competitions. An example fo this kind of sport can be boxing.
However, when it comes to bodybuilding, muscle adaptation is reduced to the addiction to the particular muscle load. Why is this bad? Mainly, because over time the effectiveness of exercise begins to decrease, and achieved points of muscle growth begin to show a negative trend.
In most cases, athletes try to change the training program every few months. But beginners have not to rush, as this is absolutely unnecessary. The explanation is that an untrained body is much less accustomed to the load, and for this reason, the same exercise performed systematically, can produce the desired result, even after six months.
So, how to struggle with muscle adaptation or at least to minimize its side effects?
There are some ways to reduce the impact of muscle adaptation on muscle growth. The most common solution is a preventive one, and consist of a systematic change of trained weights. If you train for a long time with the same weights, then muscle gets used to it and do not report any growth.
It is not possible to take off the athlete from the area of adaptation by just changing the weights. But if you extend the effective training to 12-15 weeks, each time changing the weight then getting off from adaptation stage is quite real.
Have to be mentioned that athlete's muscles are getting used not just to a specific weight, but also to the number of repetitions/approaches too. That’s why it is logical to assume that changing the number of each exercise can be a long time to forget about muscle adaptation.
Given that the change in the number of repetitions/approaches is necessarily accompanied by a change of weight, the total duration of outcomes of the training comes to about six months. Unfortunately, the muscles adapt to a certain movement too. Namely, this kind of adaptation is considered the most dangerous in bodybuilding for the simple reason that once accustomed to, the muscles will never be able to forget this movement.
And if we take into consideration the fact that most of the bodybuilders use a limited number of exercises, then it easy to conclude most of them will face the problem of muscle adaptation for sure. Adaptation reaction of our body to exercises, weights can be divided into the immediate reaction and long-term reaction.
Increased respiration or redistribution of blood flow in response to physical activity, increased heart rate during mental stimulation, are all features of immediate adaptation. In other words, rapid adaptation is considered the reaction of our body to single training.
Long-term adaptation occurs gradually, through prolonged or repeated action on the organism of certain stimuli. Thus, it appears as a result of continuously repeated training. Scientists believe that one of the most important moments of adaptation to muscular work is to develop mechanisms for storing and use of energy substrates, which are characteristic of this type of muscle activity.
In humans, the most energy-intensive energy reserves in the body are phosphates, glycogen, and triacylglycerols, ATP, and creatine phosphate reserves, or the so-called fosfagenov in muscle is very small. However, phosphates are constantly synthesized. Energy-glycogen and triacylglycerols constitute the bulk of reserve sources of fuel for the muscles.
Let’s discuss further the very mechanisms of adaptation to exercise. Biochemists believe in adapting to the short-term heavy use, changes in the work of enzymes and metabolic pathways. Under the influence of speed and strength training in the white muscle fibers increases the activity of glycolytic enzymes, ie, the enzymes that are involved in the process of glycolysis.
Moreover, the activity of these enzymes in the white muscle is the highest compared to other body tissues. In the muscle cells of the changing environment in which the work glycolytic enzymes. A very important aspect of this adaptation, as we shall see, is the storage of large amounts of glycogen. Glycogen stored in the muscles usually in the form of granules, which are located around the corresponding enzymes.
During adaptation to an intense workout, changes occur in the so-called buffer systems muscles. Once inside the cell with the heavy use of the concentration of the hydrogen ions, or, as they indicate, pH, it immediately affects the work of enzymes responsible for glycolysis.
We already know that the fastest and most powerful source of energy production in the muscle - is the use of creatine phosphate to regenerate ATP. Creatine is found in large quantities in the white muscle fibers. It is approximately 30 mmol creatinine at 1 g wet weight of muscle, however, the source of phosphate is running out with a load that lasts more than a few seconds. In support of the creatine phosphate energy exchange comes glycolysis.
Here are some important rules to follow in order to avoid muscular adaptation.
-Always change the types of exercises for muscle groups or subgroups. Let’s take for example squats exercise. Squats can be done using barbells, dumbbells, Smith machine, kettlebells, plates. Also you can alternate leg position, work with different weights or no weight. The scheme of sets and repetition can be changed also the way you want it to do. You are free to reinvent, change, to add and do them the way you want it do.
-Change the time of training. If you are training for a long time in the morning, that would be great to do a change and move your workout to even. There are a lot of variation to opt for, but most important is to find time and make this change from time to time.
-Modify speed of exercises. Do you accustomed to rapid execution of exercise? Make a change, and try to do exercise in a very slow temp. And on the contrary, if you perform exercises slowly, than it’s time for a rapid execution. Also, you can change the rest time between them, making them a bit longer in case of slow motions, and shorter in case of rapid execution.
-Try to add something new to your workout. This will be a great way to get your body into a new regime, thus taking it off from the adaptations stage. You can combine your bodybuilding workout with other of kind of sport, such as swimming, boxing or yoga. Try to combine them for a time, and come back to your traditional workout.
- You know very well, we are what we eat. Make some changes to this chapter too. Changing your nutrition is another great way to avoid reaching a plateau. Here are some ideas: if you never trained on empty stomach, then it’s time to try it. If you use do not eat before workout, than you should try to do it. Also, change the ration food, or eat more food with a low glycemic index.
There is an old known fact: our body has the ability to adapt to its environment. Our bodies get used to the same workouts, performed in the same way, with little variation of weights and time. It reaches a plateau and sometimes is hard to overcome it. That’s why all people coming to the gym to build nice lean muscle, should know about this phenomena.
But be aware of the fact that a too severe workout can make you more harm than benefits. You risk too much to get injured that will keep you out of the gym for a long time. The advice is to find a medium track, that will allow to safely build muscle mass and keep you away from reaching a plateau in your muscle growth.