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Variations to Exercise Programs

Variations to exercise programs are an integral part to maintaining a continued level of adaptation response. Although motor pattern development varies among people, generally it takes 7-12 exposures to the stress for adaptations to accommodate the physiological challenge. If the stress is simply a new movement the nervous system will begin learning immediately and with subsequent rehearsal develop a motor pattern through muscle synchronization. In most cases the body has adequate potential in the musculature for appropriate force management, it though needs to figure out how to access the motor units properly which comes from practice. Once the nervous system figures out the situation the demands are reduced. This is easily exemplified with the act of swimming. Asking a person relatively unfamiliar with fitness swimming to perform a 100 meter free stroke distance and they will likely have a high perceived exertion with the activity. But after repeat bouts over a one week period will likely consider it a relatively easy task to perform. This is not due to some newly developed muscle or exaggerated improvement in VO2 but rather an improvement in economy.

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