SRA Stands for Stimulus, Recovery, Adaptation. The principle of SRA simply means that for every stimulus you put on your body, there will be a certain amount of recovery needed for that stimulus. Depending on the levels of both Stimulus and Recovery, a certain degree of adaptation will follow.
SRA is a sport specific derivation of the GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome). GAS can be understood as the way the body responds to stress and adapts to that stress. In training, we stress our body out to a certain degree and depending on the total volume we have and the intensity and frequencies we train at.
The most optimal way to train is to Induce a medium to high amount of stress, and follow it with a medium to high amount of Recovery. This seems straight forward for most, however, there is still one piece to the puzzle: Adaptation.
Adaptation is a costly thing for the body to go through and the body will not want to induce adaptation unless it thinks that it is necessary to survive. So if you have a perfect amount of stimulus, and follow it with a perfect amount of recovery, that is not enough. You must time the Stimulus-Recovery curve in a short enough amount of time that your body does not forget the stimulus and realizes it is an ongoing stress that will not go away unless it chooses to adapt. That being said, your Stimulus-Recovery Curve must be long enough to ensure you are not entering a state of over-stressing your body.
Imagine a sink with an open drain where water can flow out at a certain rate. If water pours into the sink slower than the rate of which the water is draining, than it will never fill. If water is poured in faster than the rate of draining, than the sink will eventually overflow and pour out. But if you allow the sink to fill to a certain point, slightly drain, and balance at a certain point with the correct flow of water, the sink will stay at that point.
You can think of training the same way. Your ability to recover is set in like the drain, and your ability to stimulate and stress your body with training is like the pouring of water into the sink. The amount of stress you can put on your body is very fast, while your ability to recover is mostly fixed.
Optimal training is like filling the sink to a certain point and balancing the rate of draining and pouring. Every once in a while, you should completely drain the sink and clean it out, then refill to the optimal point and again balance the level of water. In training, every once in a while we should de-load, de-stress, and detox your body. Many people can "Plateau" their progress by building up stress to a certain point and then getting stuck in the same old routine.
When deloading, reduce all total training volume to a minimum. Dont take the whole week out of the gym. Instead of doing 5 sets of bench with 75%-100% of intensity, do 1-2 sets of 50%. Focus on technique doing the movements perfect.
When detoxing, cut caffeine out for this week. Caffeine can be great, but is overused. Look up other strategies on what you need to do to detox and stick to it for that week.
When destressing, try to reduce any mental and emotional stress to a bare minimum. Stay positive and look for the good in every situation. Try meditating. Mental and Emotional stress can add a huge amount of stress into your life and easily over stress your body, turning into over training, weight gain, loss of energy and motivation, prolonging the journey to your goals.
So remember, balance your training with your recovery to ensure maximum progress. Every 4-8 weeks, try a deload and detox to stay injury free and ensure that you keep making progress in the long run.
Here is our YouTube video explaining SRA: