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Are You Applying The SAID Principle To Meet Your Training Needs?

Are You Applying The SAID Principle To Meet Your Training Needs?

  1. Have you structured your training so that you will achieve a specific goal? 
  2. Is your physical training set up to help you improve on a specific skill, or task? 
  3. Are you blindly moving along with your workouts without any defined purpose? 

Old habits die hard. I’ve often seen the confusion in people’s eyes and heard the frustration regarding them lacking in getting training results.

The frustration is real and they believe there is no answer to them getting any real results from their training. The thing is that many people convince themselves of this because they stay closed off and haven’t even exposed themselves to other ideas and other methods.

So it’s no wonder they feel frustrated. This happens at every level from beginner to competing athlete. One reason for this is that often times people fail to apply the SAID principle to their own circumstances when pursuing their physical goals.

So What Is The SAID Principle? 

Well SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.

This is basically a fancy way of saying that in order to get better at a certain skill, or to achieve a specific outcome then you must practice that specific skill to achieve that outcome.

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So in other words, if you want to get better at hitting a baseball you should practice hitting a baseball. Knowing this you wouldn’t go out and shoot a basket in order to get better at hitting a baseball.

Although when it comes to training many people focus on shooting that basketball when they should be practicing hitting that baseball…figuratively speaking.

In other words, when I get a chance to help many people that are frustrated about their training results I often find they aren’t focused on anything that they should be focusing on.

This is a very common issue and is typically result of not defining goals.

SAID Principle And Functional Movement

As a strength and conditioning specialist my goal for every trainee is to assess and improve upon that individual’s movement. Having the ability to move well is a specific goal, but to carry this further certain movements may need more focus.

This focus depends on the individual and should derive from a direct need associated with that individual’s life needs and goals.

As an example let’s look at a fighter. Naturally my goal for such an individual would be to make sure that he or she can perform all 7 foundational human movements with a high level of proficiency.

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The 7 movements I’m referring to involve…

  1. Squatting
  2. Lunging
  3. Pushing
  4. Pulling
  5. Twisting
  6. Bending
  7. Gait

Now the goal would be to ensure that this fighter can perform all of these movements seamlessly and without restriction. However just by examining the needs of a fighter that individual must be strong, but at the same time, supple and able to bend.

So my goal would also be to make sure that the fighter can move very well with the bend and the twist to allow them to be more effective in a striking, or grappling scenario.

The thing about the SAID principle is that I will blend the demands of the individual with the demands of their sport. So if I’m working with a fighter that needs to be able to bend and twist for their sport, but the person is having issues with their shoulders then I will work to strengthen and stabilize their shoulders before addressing the other areas of training.

The thing about sensible training is understanding how to address the needs of the individual first and then address their sport, or life needs. Otherwise it’s like trying to put the cart before the horse.

If you’re looking to improve your fitness and function then you must learn how to address your body’s needs. The 7 primary functional movements I listed here above are a good start to help you make that assessment.

However, if you’re not certain of the quality of your movement I would suggest taking measures to get a third party point of view. You can do this by either working with a coach, or trainer to assess your movement, or by simply taking video of  a movement that might be in question.

This is a great way to get you “in tune” with what you’re doing with a certain movement. This is important because there are a number of ways you can go about correcting a dysfunctional movement.

For instance, let’s take your squat as an example. If you attempt a bodyweight squat and descend into the base of the movement to find that you’re wanting to fall backwards and feel unstable at the bottom of the movement this could be due to you lacking in ankle mobility.

With trainees that are unstable in the base of a squat I’ve found that many times they can’t dorsiflex their ankle past 90 degrees. Because of this there is an inability to maintain a stable position when their ankles are unable to fully flex at the base of the squat movement.

SAID Principle: The Takeaway

Practicing a specific movement on a regular basis will help you to become more proficient at that movement. This is the whole point of the SAID principle.

However in order to do this effectively you’ve got to be willing to clearly define your goals. You want to maintain focus on what you’re trying to improve. Consistency is key.

What are your current training goals? 

What area are you working to improve? 

Post up in the comments here below. 

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Proprioception: Developing Your Sixth Sense And Enhancing Your Physical Intelligence

Focus On Training Movement Instead of Muscle 

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Thai Fighter Jeff Perry delivering a knee strike




I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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