But let’s move on. So, this general principle of the body to use it or lose it can also be applied specifically to certain, targeted areas. This is the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands Principle, or SAID. So, say I want to increase the strength of the gluteal muscles specifically. I can target this area with certain exercises that increase the demands of the gluteal muscles more than other muscles, exercises where the glutes are the primary movers. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Doggie squats would be a better choice than doggie push-ups (yes, these are real exercises! Call me and I’ll show you!) because you can’t get bigger glutes by working your triceps! This principle is key to the success of your dog’s physical rehabilitation.
Did I mention that this principle applies to ligaments and tendons as well? If your dog has a partially torn cruciate ligament then I can target this area to strengthen. If your dog has hip dysplasia, I can target the gluteal muscles and tendons to help support those sloppy hip joints. If your dog has a biceps tendon strain I can target this muscle-tendon unit to strengthen it. I choose appropriate exercises where the area I want to strengthen is the prime mover. This is one component of building a safe, effective rehab plan, fitness and conditioning plan, or weight loss plan! Now who wants to see doggie push-ups??