Whilst I sit here in yet another Cafe in Sunningdale, Berkshire, programming for clients, I was having a what you may call writers block. Sometimes when you look at a programme you can get caught up in all the different moving parts. Wanting to make sure every last detail is right, means you sometimes lose sight of the big picture. So, my thought process turned to this. Step back, take a look at the bigger picture, now head back to basics. What is it we are trying to do and what is the best way to do it. The answer is simple. We, as coaches, are trying to stress the hell out of the body. Why would I want to cause my clients stress?? Let’s take a deeper look.


What is Stress?

The human body doesn’t like change. It likes to sit in the warm fuzzy area known as homeostasis. It constantly trying to get there and ensure it stays there. Stress is something that knocks your body out of this state. It disrupts the balance so to speak. So, this is bad? Well yes, however, stress is a sign that the body needs to evolve, change and adapt. Why? So it doesn’t have to experience this unbalance in the future. By putting your body in a new scenario, e.g. Back Squatting for 10 reps for the first time in a while, you trigger alarm bells. Your body desperately goes into overdrive, trying to regain homeostasis. This means that we need to stress the body in order to adapt!


How Much Stress is Good?

This is where, in my opinion, the “art” of strength and conditioning comes into play. Every individual will be different and balancing the amount of stress we cause can be a delicate task. However, you basically want to follow these rules.

  • Create a big enough amount of stress that the body needs to react.
  • Don’t cause a minimal amount of stress that won’t actually lead to adaption.
  •  Once you’ve caused a big block of stress, you MUST allow time for the body to regenerate.

How you follow those loose rules is entirely up to you. in all honesty, practice makes perfect, the more you play and push yourself, the better you will get to know the limits.


The Application of Stress in Training

Now that we know that we can use stress to cause adaption within the body, we just need to know what adaption we want to occur. This again comes down to the individual. It depends on their sport, their current levels of fitness and strength, their exact goals, the list can go on. Basically, once you know what the end goal looks like, you can gradually build up this “type” of stress during training sessions. As the level of stress increases, your body will adapt to meet the demands of the surrounding environment.

As a Leading Personal Trainer in Surrey, it is my job to apply stress to my clients. The amount, the type and the timing vary to a huge degree!