Exercise Rx: A narrow therapeutic index

Catherine Schaumleffel - Coach

In medicine, the first thing researchers must do is establish the identity of the chemical compound, or drug, that will induce the desired physical effect. Once accomplished, they must then discover how much (the dose) and how often (dosing frequency), i.e., the “narrow therapeutic index,” to give the individual. Just the right amount will produce a positive effect; any more will elicit a negative effect.

That very principle from medical theory carries over and has direct application to exercise prescription. In bodybuilding, the first thing was to establish the identity, or nature, of the training stress that would induce growth stimulation; namely, high-intensity, anaerobic activity. That done, the next step was to discover the volume, or dose, and the frequency; again, the narrow therapeutic index. Just the right amount regarding volume and frequency produces a positive effect, and anymore, a negative effect.

As M. Doug McGuff, MD, and President of Ultimate Exercise, Inc., states, “You wouldn’t take any medicine if it didn’t come with a correct dose and dosing frequency; why should you expect anything less from your exercise Rx?”

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