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Exercise Selection Fundamentals

Posted on 4 October, 2016 at 18:45

Exercise selection is one of the most important decisions one can make while creating an exercise routine. Often, people will throw together some plan based on exercises that they know and like. This can lead to muscle imbalances and will often cause injury or poor posture. If you were to walk into a gym and examine a random set of people everyday for a few months, you will notice a pattern. People do what they know. People will work out the exact same way for every workout, or for every week of training. This cycle prevents people from meeting their goals, and they end up getting less out of exercise than they could. 

Genererally, when deciding on which exercises you should be doing, you should concidered your goals. Your goals lay the foundation for the exercise choice, as well as the set and rep scheme, the intensity, and even the rest time. Intuition tells you that an elite powerlifter will not follow the same program as a marathon runner. With this in mind, every single person has slightly different goals, different backgrounds, and different skill levels. I may have two clients with the same goals, the same age, the same skill level, but completely different exercise choices. Maybe these people seem completely the same, but one of them has knee issues. One factor can change everything!

Generally, the framework of a workout includes a few key elements. They are: a warmup, aerobic training, resistance training, and a cooldown. Each of these elements are crucial to building a well rounded training program. A warmup is important to get the body into optimal performance condition. Common goals of a warmup are to get the heartrate up and loosen up tight muscles. Aerobic training exists to build up a clients cardiovascular condition. Resistance training is in place to build muscular strength and endurance. And a cooldown is in place to lower the heart rate and cool down and stretch out muscles. Each element has its place and should not be ignored regardless of exercise goals and habbits.

To select a specific exercise, most importantly, you should know the form to successfully doing said exercise. If you cannot safely and efficiently complete consistant repetitions of any given exercise, you should find a variation of that exercise and "work your way up." The terminology I use for selecting a variation exercise is: select an exercise regression. Conversely, if you find that the exercises you choose are becoming too easy, then you may concider researching a more difficult exercise variation (an exercise progression). This ensures that the exercise choice matches the skill level and keeps you challenged regardless of your fitness level.

Example Exercise:

Barbell Bench Press

Example Regression:

Machine Chest Press

Example Progression:

Paused Barbell Incline Press

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,

T

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