Something I commonly explain to prospective, and ongoing clients is the effectiveness of training to improve and increase upon your individual maximum threshold.
Maximum Threshold is the limit of stress an individual body part or system can handle, and it can be used to explain several areas of muscle soreness to muscle pain, joint disfunction and even organ disfunction and body compensations.
Stress can be mechanical stress, physiological stress, psychological stress anything that can disrupt the balance of any system, also known as homeostasis. For example most people immediately think of stress as psychological; stress at work, stress of raising children, stress of driving; mechanical and physiological stress or strain of muscles, how hard they have to work to create a particular movement or number of movements; how hard your organs have to work with digesting foods, lack of proper nutrition; all of this plays a part in stress which can determine your maximum threshold. After an injury, the joint and surrounding muscles are weak due to strain and trauma which has just occurred to the area. For an example, let’s say a person is very healthy, active, has an excellent diet, full of necessary nutrients to promote healing, they manage a balanced work life well without any exhaustion or even fatigue to accomplish all of this, this maximum threshold would be prominent in the physical ability to move and function throughout the healing process only.
The average person does not describe this balanced life as their life; they typically have moderate to mild stress which occurs with their friends, family, work life etc. The average person has 1 – 5 foods that they are unaware their body doesn’t particularly like to consume, a sensitivity to a food or beverage that may not show any sign or symptom of dislike until combined with several of those negatively triggered items. All of this plays a part in the healing process. Our goal as trainers and therapist is to constantly work towards increasing your maximum threshold; what is the limit your body can take before it totally breaks down. We don’t do this by pushing all limits at once which would cause frequent sickness and injury but a slow and gradual process that over time you the client recognize improvements. Improvements can be in your strength, how long you can maintain a particular position, a decrease in discomfort, and increase in energy. Increasing your maximum threshold is the best form of tracking overall improvement and effectiveness of any health program. Often weight loss is the primary consideration for improvement of health but that outlook is completely backwards! Weight loss is a side effect of a healthy lifestyle, not the other way around. For a person that is limited in the availability of exercises they can perform or limited by other physical or health condition, maximum threshold gives a mode of tracking improvement in areas of higher value.
Use this chart as a visual reference remembering that Exercise IS Stress. This Maximum Threshold visual can be used in any form of Stress.