Optimum Not Maximum – Stimulus Threshold


Optimum training stress is the goal in order to stimulate a positive adaptive response to training. Training is cumulative and synergistic. It is an accumulation of the demands placed on all systems of the body muscular, metabolic, nervous, and endocrine/hormonal. It is also adaptation to the synergistic effect of work demands on all the biomotor qualities. They are all interdependent. There is a tendency to try to isolate a biomotor quality and try to train a quality to the maximum without consideration of the effect on the whole system. This also has a negative effect on the other biomotor qualities.

Understanding and utilizing the concept of stimulus threshold should help to better direct training by seeking the optimum load necessary to stimulate adaptation. Stimulus Threshold refers to the minimum stress necessary to force adaptation. The key is finding the proper stimulus threshold for each quality being trained in order to take into account the cumulative and synergistic training effect. Some careful planning is necessary but using this concept will ensure long-term progress and minimize the risk of injury and overtraining.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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