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Principal of Progressive Adaptation

February 16, 2012

In this video, my friend Ido Portal, movement artist and teacher, describes a concept near and dear to me as I have discussed it several times in the past on my blogs, in my seminars, and as I will expand upon in my new and upcoming system Functional Range Conditioning – that is the principal of PROGRESSIVE ADAPTATION.  For those who have attended my seminars, you would have heard this concept discussed in relation to discussions on progressive rehabilitation principals…more specifically during discussions of Progressive Angular Isometric Loading (P.A.I.L.s) & Regressive Angular Isometric Loading (R.A.I.L.s)

As Ido alludes to, physical preparation has historically focused on best case scenarios.  This includes the incessant demands on maintaining ‘proper form,’ and ‘alignment’ by trainers, and/or popular training literature in order to limit training induced injuries.  In real life situations however, be it sport, or during activities of daily living, the myth of our ability in maintaining ‘proper alignment’ is undermined by the rampant commonality of ankle sprains, joint subluxations/dislocations, herniated disks, etc.  Avoiding ‘training induced injury’ in favour of ‘activity induced injury’ seem….in a word…well stupid.

Defence against such occurrences is best achieved by, contrary to what common sense may infer, progressively challenging the body in sub-optimal positions and scenarios.  Of course as he notes he “introduces it very carefully and very gradually” so as not to inflict injury, but rather to engage the principal of Progressive Adaptation which notes that incremental loads imparted on any human tissue result in adaptation of said tissue such that the load absorption capacity improves.  Adaptation can include the addition of new tissue and/or tissue of better/stronger quality (excerpt taken from the Functional Range Conditioning manual – in progress) .

I have discussed this concept previously in blog posts where I noted that “the entire topic/’world’ of ‘Rehabilitation’ can be summed up as follows….Provide the tissue with manageable, incremental insults (loads) allowing the body enough time in between progressions to adapt…If the bodies tissues are progressively loaded, the body will adapt in a way that will ‘deal’ with said loads more effectively, and efficiently.” (taken from the post entitled REHAB = PROGRESSION…the use of deadlifts for lower back health).  Here I am of course discussing the principal as it applies to injury rehabilitation, however as Ido discusses, this concept can, and should be applied to the pursuit of increasing human performance.

“There is no proper alignment, there is only improper preparation” …..brilliant my friend!

I highly recommend you all check out Ido’s site – as well as his Youtube channel

here is one of my favourite of his videos:


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