Wolfe’s Law, the basis of resistance exercise
1. 1. Apply stress to connective tissue and it grows stronger (this includes bone)
2. 2. Remove stress and over time connective tissue weakens.
3. 3. Exceed the physiologic limit of connective tissue and the structure ruptures. (can be partial or complete rupture).
What does this mean to you? If you exercise, i.e. apply stress to connective tissue (bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments), over time if will get stronger. This means that at any age, you can improve how your body functions. How exciting that we can aid our bodies in healing and improving themselves, simply by applying a stressor (exercise)!
Further, if you stop exercising, over time your body will weaken; that means that not only will your muscles weaken and get flabby, but the structure holding your body together will also weaken and get flabby. Listen folks, this isn’t just about how you look, or whether you are fat or thin or somewhere in between. This is a whole different ball game here. This specifically refers to how your body will function over time based on your actions. Are you ready to fall apart yet? I know I’m not!
So what do we do with this knowledge we now have?
1. 1. Apply stress systematically
2. 2. Allow connective tissue to increase in strength
3. 3. Remember stress is both compression and shear force. These are the two forces which cause injury. So we cannot exceed the physiologic limit, or what your body can tolerate.
4. 4. This applies to both musculoskeletal structure and cardiovascular structures.
In other words, we design a program that challenges your body, your heart and lungs, and also your musculoskeletal system, and increase it slowly over time to apply the stress systematically. This will allow your body to get stronger over time. This in turn will raise the physiologic limit (the high end of what you can tolerate), which means your bones don’t break as easily, your cartilage remains stronger and cushions your bones better, and your muscles, ligaments and tendons don’t rupture as easily.