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How Exercise Works

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How ARX Exercise Works

A New paradigm for understanding exercise

In order to understand ARX, it is important to understand how exercise really works. 

If you train clients—or have made exercise a part of your lifestyle—you can reap huge benefits by focusing on the “active ingredients” that make exercise effective while eliminating elements that are unnecessary or counterproductive.

The infographic below shows why the “more is better” crowd is misinformed, why your body’s capacity to recover is more important than we think, and how the desired results from exercise are actually produced.

Here is our model of the 21st-century paradigm of exercise:

Pretty easy to understand. .. right?

Step One, you administer the stimulus or the “workout.” Then the body—given enough time, rest, and proper nutrition—produces the adaptation, in this case, the desired results from resistance exercise. 

Defining the Workout Stimulus

So what exactly do we mean by “the stimulus?” What—specifically—is the demand placed on the muscles that will provoke an adaptive response from the body? In this often-cited paper, Brad Schoenfeld identifies three primary elements to the exercise stimulus:

The Workout Stimulus is Step One

An important starting point in this model is that the stimulus is essential. None of the good stuff happens without the stimulus to the muscle. Also, a corollary is that this is only just the first step. The benefits we want are not produced in step one. Step one is complete when the body has been provoked into change. After that, doing more of step one is neither necessary nor desirable. More is not better, in other words. 

So, we want to deliver the stimulus to the target muscles in a sufficient magnitude that the body is provoked into producing a response, but we want the stimulus to be calibrated so that it does not overwhelm the body’s capacity to adapt.

Where the Magic Actually Happens

In the fitness industry there is a misplaced emphasis on “the workout.” Endless books, videos, articles, and seminars are given on the first part of the path towards adaptation, often to the exclusion of the rest of the path. Remember that nothing good happens during the workout. The body regards the workout as a negative event. Evolutionarily speaking, the level of fatigue, damage to the body, subsequent weakness, and metabolic stress that the body experiences from a potent exercise stimulus is typically only experienced when fleeing from predators or fighting a rival. A workout does not directly produce anything. In fact, the only thing it could directly produce is an injury if the stimulus is misapplied. 

This is the main reason why “more is not better.” The workout stimulus is just Step one—and is needed to place a strong enough demand on the body to provoke an adaptive response—and can often be overemphasized by well-meaning but misinformed coaches and trainers. 

Step 2 in our model is where the magic happens. Hence why a smart resistance exercise program will begin and end with discussions about sleep, nutrition, and relaxation techniques to reduce systemic stress and inflammation.

Sowing and Reaping

An old proverb says that “there is a season for sowing and a season for reaping, but you do not do both in the same season.”There is a time to administer the exercise stimulus and there is a time to let the organism produce the adaptive response, but you do not do both at the same time. If you administer a potent stimulus too often, you will overwhelm your body’s ability to produce the desired adaptive response. On the other hand, if you administer an insufficiently potent stimulus, no amount of that stimulus will provoke your body to change. 

You need both.

You need potent doses of mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress in amounts and frequencies that align with your body’s ability to synthesize an adaptive response.  

Read more about the mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress in our blog ” The Adaptive Triangle” 

In All Your Getting, Get Understanding

Every piece of exercise, health, or nutrition information should be filtered through this model. The merits of a given exercise regimen or nutrition program should be judged based on whether or not it satisfies the requirements of this Stimulus=>Organism=>Adaptation framework.

For each program you consider following, the following questions should be asked:

The point of ARX’s adaptive resistance technology is to take Step One in the exercise process and accomplish it in the safest, most effective, most efficient, most convenient, and most quantifiable way possible, which allows the majority of our focus where it belongs: the organism’s ability to adapt. 


Welcome to the 21st century and the new paradigm of health and fitness. 

ARX simplifies the most comprehensive full-body workout through perfectly matched, motorized resistance. Short for Adaptive Resistance Exercise, ARX is scientifically proven to deliver quantifiable results in less time. The all-in-one strength training machine dynamically adjusts resistance in real-time to personalize every workout. ARX empowers and challenges individuals to achieve their fitness goals one perfectly calibrated repetition at a time. No dangerous weights to drop and no adjustments to make, just exact resistance. Founded in 2016, ARX is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

For more information, please visit ARXFit.com and join the community on FacebookInstagram and YouTube.