He puts forward a fitting analogy for why people don’t make any progress. That is, comparing training with sun tanning, with regards to the stimuli needed to get adaption.
The skin doesn’t adapt to total accumulated exposure, but to the longest exposure – the hardest exposure. If you want it to get darker, you have to stay out longer to give the skin more stress than it’s already adapted to. The widespread failure to comprehend this pivotal aspect of adaptation is why so few people actually understand exercise programming.
Exercise vs. Training
Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you’re through.
Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal.
The Novice Effect
The thing that differentiates a good program from a less-good program is its ability to continue stimulating the adaptation. So, by definition, a program that requires a regular increase in some aspect of its stress is an effective program for a novice, while one that doesn’t, is less effective.
For a novice, any program is better than no program at all, so all of them work with varying degrees of efficiency.
Rank novices can be trained close to the limit of their ability every time they train, precisely because that ability is at such a low level relative to their genetic potential. Put another way, a novice can recover from relatively hard training because the training isn’t really that hard in absolute terms because he’s weak. The result is, he gets strong relatively quickly. That’s why weak people can get stronger faster than strong people can.