#PTonICE Daily Show – Friday, May 31st, 2024 – The SAID Principle

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Fitness Athlete division leader Alan Fredendall discusses the principle of Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (SAID), the principle of Somewhat Humdrum Adaptations to Rehab Treatment (SHART), and how to help patients & athletes reach & meet specific goals.

Take a listen to the episode or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog

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Hey everybody, Alan here. Currently I have the pleasure of serving as their Chief Operating Officer here at ICE. Before we jump into today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, let’s give a shout out to our sponsor Jane, a clinic management software and EMR. Whether you’re just starting to do your research or you’ve been contemplating switching your software for a while now, the Jane team understands that this process can feel intimidating. That’s why their goal is to provide you with the onboarding resources you need to make your switch as smooth as possible. Jane offers personalized calls to set up your account, a free date import, and a variety of online resources to get you up and running quickly once you switch. And if you need a helping hand along the way, you’ll have access to unlimited phone, email, and chat support included in your Jane subscription. If you’re interested in learning more, you want to book a one-on-one demo, you can head on over to jane.app.switch. And if you decide to make the switch, don’t forget to use the code ICEPT1MO at signup to receive a one-month free grace period on your new Jane account.

Good morning, PT on ICE Daily Show. Happy Friday morning. I hope your day is off to a great start. Welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. It is Fitness Athlete Friday. I’m your host, Alan. I currently have the pleasure of serving as our Chief Operating Officer here at Ice and the Division Leader in our Fitness Athlete Division. We’re here on Friday, Fitness Athlete Fridays. We talk all things CrossFit, Functional Fitness, Endurance Athletes. If you have a patient or client who is active on a regular basis, Fridays are for you. We have an exciting announcement next week you’ll see on our social media. An entire week, thanks to dry needling faculty member Paul Killoren, an entire week dedicated to the deltoid. So you’ll see the podcast next week, all the episodes will be about the deltoid, and you’ll see all of our social media posts next week focused on educating you, everything related to the deltoid muscle. If you’ve taken our upper body dry needling course with Paul, you know that he has quite the obsession with the deltoid muscle. So we’re really excited to see just how much shoulder content we can give you all next week. So tune in beginning June 3rd for an entire week of deltoid themed content. Today, the topic for Fitness Athlete Friday, what are we talking about? The SAID principle, specific adaptations to impose demands. You may have heard of this principle at some point in your life. You probably heard a very generalized definition of this term that maybe did not really help you understand what it is or how it could possibly apply. to exercise or to clinical practice.

So the SAID principle, really, again, very basic definition that training a particular movement pattern, training a particular skill, training a particular time domain or energy system will result in the most efficient adaptation to that imposed stimulus that imposed demand on the body. And when we uncover, when we unpack the definition of the said principle a little bit more, we talk about actually the two ways that we see changes from this. The first being structural, that we see muscle size and shape takes place, and the other being neuro or neuromuscular, that we get a more efficient recruitment of muscle fibers, that we’re able to recruit more fibers, larger fibers, recruit them in a more efficient sequence, so on and so forth. So that’s the said principle in a nutshell. Today we’re gonna talk about why it matters, give you a practical example from the gym, give you a practical example from the clinic and kind of wrap up why maybe we need to reconsider this. Maybe if we did learn this back in high school or undergrad or grad school or maybe all of them, maybe why we need to consider this more often in our practice, whether we’re working with patients in the clinic or athletes out in the gym or a more active setting. So when we interact with folks in the clinic, whether they’re patients for physical therapy, whether they’re athletes coming to us maybe even for performance help, they don’t necessarily need help with a physical therapy related issue. They come in and they may complain about a plateau about not making progress with their physical therapy about not making progress with their performance in the gym in their running plan or whatever. And if we take the time to unpack, and if we take the time to assess a couple things, what we usually find with these folks is they seem to be at a plateau, but it’s really because they’re not doing things specific enough to create the adaptation that they’re wanting from the stimulus that they’re giving themselves. Their rehab exercises, their exercises in the gym, their strength training, their endurance training, whatever that might be.

And so why does the said principle matter? Training similar things may result in some carryover, but people I think fail to understand that it won’t result in the most efficient, time-wise, in the most efficient carryover to develop a specific skill, a specific movement pattern, a specific progress towards a goal. So we often say, hey, well, doing a bunch of strict pull-ups make you better at strict pull-ups. Yes, of course. Will doing a bunch of strict pull-ups make you better at free climbing El Capitan? Well, there’s gonna be some carryover, right? But probably the best thing to do to get really better at free climbing is to do free climbing. And arguably, we would say and not or. The best thing to do would be to practice the thing you want to get better at and then do accessory stuff like strength training to further enhance your way onto goals. We see this a lot. In the gym and CrossFit, folks always complain about not being great at running. We do run in CrossFit, but often lower volume, shorter distances than someone who would consider themselves a runner would consider running. And so when folks want to improve their 5k time, or they want to run a 10k or a half marathon, or maybe even become a marathon runner, They often say, I’m not getting better at running. And when we ask, okay, how often are you running? And they say, oh, well, I hate running. Running bothers my shins. So every time there’s running, I just row or bike. Again, is there going to be carryover from rowing or biking or doing some other cardiovascular modality to running? Yes, of course, but not as specific, not as great as if you did running training to improve your goal of getting better at running. There are certain things that happen when you run more, You get an improved running economy. You get more efficient in that movement pattern because you’re spending time in that movement pattern. And yes. We can get cardiovascular adaptations from rowing or biking, but it’s just not gonna translate 100% to that specific thing. So that is why the said principle matters.

When we look at our practical example in the gym, we just had a benchmark workout last week at our gym called Grace. You may have heard of this CrossFit benchmark workout. 30 clean and jerks for time at a standard barbell weight of 135.95. And talking to members that day, people asking, hey, like, what is the world record on this? Do you know? I do know it’s it’s 59 seconds, right? With some people completing it, CrossFit Games athletes under 90 seconds. And so the conversation began, okay, If this takes me eight minutes, and it takes them 90 seconds, what is the difference between them and me? And I think a really lazy answer when people want to improve their performance when they want to break through a plateau, whether that’s in the clinic, whether that’s in the gym is well, they’re just in better shape than you, right? That’s a very lazy answer. When we break down why is that person better at doing that workout than you, we can start to unpack some characteristics, some specific characteristics of why their performance is higher than yours. We look at somebody like Matt Frazier, five time CrossFit Games champion, a minute 18 clean and jerk, grace time 30 clean and jerks for time, which is faster than a clean and jerk every two seconds. So moving fast, moving unbroken for 30 clean and jerks, what do we know about that athlete? Again, the lazy answer would be, well, he’s been doing CrossFit a long time and he’s just in better shape than you. Yes, but why? And the why matters, the specifics matter because that can turn into a training program for a person who wants to maybe cut 15 or 30 seconds off their grace time. or cut time off their 5K, or get better at strict pull-ups, or rock climbing, or whatever, right? When we look at Matt Frazier, why is he better at that workout? A long history of Olympic weightlifting, very familiar with a movement like the clean and jerk, very efficient in the clean and jerk, very strong, not only in the clean and jerk, but the movements that support the clean and jerk, the front squat and the strict press, an athlete who can strict press above his body weight, an athlete who front squats several times his body weight, and an athlete who has a 425 pound clean and jerk, right? So when we look at 135 pound barbell compared to a 425 pound clean and jerk, a 500 pound front squat, a 250 pound strict press, we say, okay, this is a very strong individual and specifically related to things like the SAID principle, he is very well trained in this specific movement pattern. It makes sense that because this is an incredibly light barbell for him, but he can hang on to it for 30 reps, move it touch and go unbroken, and get that workout done in 90 seconds that might take you five minutes. Why? You don’t have as strong of a clean and jerk. You don’t have as strong of a strict press. You don’t have as strong of a front squat. You aren’t as efficient at cycling that barbell because you have not been doing CrossFit as well. And in specific, we also look at time domain, right? He is getting a workout done while he is still in the anaerobic glycolysis time domain. He still has a lot of high power output. versus when you transition, when it starts to take you more to two to three minutes, we know your power output goes down. We know you’re transitioning into your aerobic energy system. He’s getting it done because he’s more efficient at it before he runs out of gas. And so, how do we take that and translate that to a training program for that athlete? Well, of course, we need to work on your front squat. We need to work on your strict press so that your clean and jerk gets stronger. We also need to train your clean and jerk so you get more efficient at clean and jerks. We need to train your clean and jerk where you do touch and go reps at a light to moderate weight so you get efficient in the endurance of the clean and jerk, not just the strength. And we need to train a very fast, explosive time domain for you, right? That is a great athlete where we might say, hey, every minute on the minute, I want you to do five clean and jerks, seven clean and jerks, 10 clean and jerks, progress it and make them work in the time domain in the movement they want to get better at, right? This is what endurance athletes do all day long. They progress their volume, they progress their time domain, and they get very specific in what they’re doing, right running, biking, swimming, maybe all three of those, maybe just one of those, but spending a lot of time in the movement pattern you want to get better at spending a lot of time in the time domain you want to get better at.

Switching gears, we see this happen in the clinic as well. Just like somebody is plateaued maybe on a workout like Grace, we have patients who are maybe plateaued in their plan of care. And if we’re not careful, if we’re not specific, if we’re not assessing in the clinic, if we’re not using our clinical reasoning, we can develop a very high quality loading program, a very high quality accessory program for the wrong area, for the wrong athlete, for the wrong time domain. I call this the specific humdrum adaptation to rehab treatment or the sharp principle, right? A very boring adaptation that serves no purpose, because that person in rehab was forced to do what we told them to do. And maybe we weren’t giving them specific enough of a treatment. So without proper assessment, we may not know what people need to work on. And so we’re often surprised and curious and maybe upset when Gladys comes in and she hasn’t improved her 30 seconds sit to stand. She is still only getting four reps done in 30 seconds. She’s been here for six weeks and we look back at her treatment plan and most of her treatments consist of coming into PT and riding the new step at zone one heart rate for 30 minutes or most of her session. We should not be surprised when we reflect back on the said principle that Gladys is making no meaningful improvement, right? She is struggling with a high power, short time domain demand, a 30 second sit to stand, and her treatment almost entirely consists of relatively low intensity, long duration endurance activity. Again, specifics matter. What we have our patients do, they will adapt to. If we give them the wrong stuff, or maybe just not as effective stuff to do, we should not be surprised when we do not see them make a lot of meaningful progress. We can see the same thing with patients who are symptomatic. Why are we surprised when Mark comes to the clinic, he’s made no progress on his lateral elbow pain, and all we’re giving him in PT is high volume, low load, banded, or lightly resisted exercises. We know that’s a tendinopathy, we know it needs load, specifically it needs time under tension, and it needs progressive loading. Giving that person a high volume, low load dose is likely what caused that condition in the first place, so we should not be surprised that that person is not making any meaningful progress. So getting specific, adopting the said principle matters. Avoid the sharp principle. We can make people pretty averagely better at stuff they don’t need to get better at or don’t want to get better at if we’re not careful with our rehab treatment. I truly believe we have a lot to offer patients and clients from both a rehab and performance perspective, but only if we take time to assess where is this person weak in their game? What is the most important thing or the maybe most important two or three things they need to work on? That’s what our rehab plan, maybe that’s what our accessory program for the training they’re already doing should look like. Keep it specific, especially if that person needs or wants a specific result. We can be very good at giving a lot of general treatment that gives a lot of general improvements, but if it’s not helping that person meet their specific goals, then it’s not as effective as it could be.

So remember, what is the said principle? Specific adaptations to impose demands, train in the time domain, exercise in the time domain they want to get better at, you want them to get better at, train the movement patterns they need to get better at, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly somebody makes progress. Avoid the sharp principle. Avoid just giving a general exercise prescription. We see this a lot in students who are so happy to walk in and write down a 30-minute AMRAP on the board or 24-minute REMOM and sometimes we have to stop them. We appreciate the enthusiasm, but we have to let them know, hey, you’re just giving that person a bunch of general stuff that may not translate to them getting specifically better at the stuff they need or want to get better at to meet their goals. We have a lot to offer, but we have to make sure that we’re assessing, reassessing, and we’re being specific. So I hope this was helpful. If you want to learn more from us in the fitness athlete division, we’d love to have you. A couple chances coming up in the month of June. Zach Long will be down in Raleigh, North Carolina, the weekend of June 8th and 9th. And then we have our Fitness Athlete Live Summit here in Fenton, Michigan. That’s the weekend of June 22nd and 23rd. We’ll have all of our lead faculty, all of our teaching assistants here. That’s gonna be a really fun weekend. Online, our next cohort of fitness athlete level one online starts July 29th. That course always sells out. And then our next cohort of fitness athlete level two online begins September 2nd. So, I hope this was helpful. Remember, keep it specific. Assess, reassess, keep it specific. Have a great Friday, have a great weekend. Bye everybody.

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