Exercise Progression

When I look around my gym I am consistently surrounded by people who are performing advanced exercises BADLY! Most assume that they are more competent than they actually are, and instead of gradually progressing their exercises they just jump past the fundamentals and leave themselves open to increased injury risks. Just as most things, exercise technique is mastered in stages. We need to learn the basics to build the motor skills that form our foundation. If we skip these essential stages then our bodies are not as adequately prepared and cannot support us as well. It is like building a house directly on sand! Many exercisers are too impatient and want everything “yesterday” and don’t put in the hard work that is necessary. The result is overloading certain body structures and causing more forces than they are capable of handling. The body works best when it shares the load, and core muscles/stabilisers/neutralisers all need to work together with global muscles. Imbalances will cause postural shifts away from neutral, and this is the best recipe for injury and pain. I’m confident that you have all seen this – a person lifting a weight they should never be attempting right now, or someone performing an exercise with horrendous form. Exercise technique is a skill………and only perfect practice makes perfect execution.

What is sadder is that I also see personal trainers giving the wrong exercises to clients……when they need to be assessing their client’s current capabilities and not just their end goals. The phrase “just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD” always comes to mind when I observe such behaviour.

Correct exercise progression is an important part of skill development. Please be aware that incorrect exercise technique doesn’t always cause immediate problems, but also longer term chronic conditions. Don’t just train for your short term desires. Understand they may cause you a lifetime of misery down the track.

Find a professional trainer who really knows what they are doing and base your exercises and progression in a manner that will show you not only the best gains aesthetically…….but also physiologically. If you can’t perform an exercise properly….then you shouldn’t be performing it at all. Be aware of your limitations and only progress when you have mastered the previous stage. Don’t  let your ego dictate your exercise and weight choices! Take a step back and build up to it gradually. Yes….your body needs to be challenged in order for it to change but this is not what I am talking about. Challenge yourself within your capabilities and not above them. You will experience a longer and more capable training life this way.