March 09, 2020
How much thought have you put into the exercises you're going to use for your next workout? Did you choose them yourself, or did you find them on the internet or in a magazine? What's your workout designed for? Do those goals match yours? Are the exercises even safe for you? Using the wrong program can lead to wasting time in the gym, frustration, plateaus in progress and injury. Let's take a closer look at what goes into program design and the cost of getting it wrong.
There are many things to think about when choosing specific exercises. Machine vs. free weights, isolation vs. compound lifts, number of reps and sets, etc. Each one of these factors affects the results, so making the wrong choices could lead to wasting time working on the wrong things, limit your results or lead to injury.
If you choose the right exercises, but don't know how to do them properly you will again limit your results, or worse, end up injured. Poor technique leads to inefficient movement and limits the power your muscles can create. It also changes the load on your muscles, joints, and ligaments which can lead to pain and injury.
Volume is a way of thinking about how much work you're doing during a workout. Doing a few reps with a heavy weight or a lot of reps with a light weight could end up being the same volume. Same goes for running a shorter distance quickly uphill vs a longer run at a slower pace on flat terrain. If your volume is too great you won't recover well between workouts and create the possibility of injury. Too little volume and you won't see results.
If you've been doing the same exercises with the same weight and the same number of reps and sets, you're not progressing. Same goes if you jump on the treadmill for the same amount of time with the same settings each time. To make progress, things have to change and the program that works for your first 6 months won't work for you 2 years down the road.
Designing an exercise program is a complex challenge with a lot of factors to consider. Most people have a history of injuries and don't have perfect movement in every joint which further complicates things. If you're not making progress or just want to make sure your workouts are as effective as they can be, have your physical therapist take a look at your program. Your PT can help design an individualized program to help you reach your goals while keeping you safe and injury free.