<u>The Truth about Strengthening the Body. </u> The body adapts to the demands that are made on it. If the body is demanded to lift heavy it will respond by increasing the muscle size and force-production efficiency [strength]. If the body is made to lift for numerous repetitions, it will increase its ability to lift repetitively [endurance]. If the body is made to lift a weight in a specific manner, it will improve its ability to lift in that exact same manner. The most efficient way to strengthen the body for any particular ability is to practice that ability as much as possible without overtaxing the body’s recovery systems. Extreme demands require extreme diet and rest for recovery. Mild demands require only mild diet and rest. Undertraining is defined as not demanding the body’s full adaptative capacity. In other words, the demands are not very challenging, and so the body is not forced to improve its abilities much. Overtraining is defined as demanding more adaptation than the body is capable of. Or in other words, the demands are more challenging than the body can handle and the body weakens under the intense stress rather than strengthens. Ideal strength training puts very challenging demands on the body while giving it the rest and nutrients it needs to adapt to the stress over time. Frequency must be relatively high in order to cause rapid adaptation, but adequate recovery between workouts is necessary or strength will deteriorate. Volume also must be high enough to challenge the body without exhausting its resources. Load must be challenging, but not so extreme as to greatly reduce the endurance and recovery ability. Some lifters can ‘go heavy’ multiple times per week, while others need a longer recovery time between max effort lifts. I have found the exact frequency, volume and load that is ideal for any particular individual has to be found through trial and error in experience with training. A newbie will make gains almost by lifting anything since the body is challenged by the new demands. But as the individual progresses, care must be taken to adequately challenge the body without stressing it beyond its ability to recover and adapt.