"Why are we doing this?" is one of my favorite questions, along with it's corollary "How come we don't do this (insert exercise here) in training?
Those are both very good questions, and ones that anyone who writes training programs must be able to answer clearly and confidently.
Today let's focus on the second one. You see, there are hundreds if not thousands of exercises and variations you could put in a training program. The more important question is "Should you?"
To me it comes down to risk vs. reward.
In other words, does what I could gain from performing this exercise outweigh any inherent risks that may be involved in performing it?
In our Smart Group Personal Training programs, there are lot of different factors that we weigh when making that decision.
- Training Age of the Student
- Physical Age of the Student
- Current physical condition
- Injury history
- Training goals
Just to name a very few.
Does it really make sense to do box jumps if you are 60 years old, 30 pounds overweight, and have a history of knee injury?
That doesn't make you a bad person, or less than. We are just going to choose a movement that is going to more appropriate for what is going on in your life right now.
The same principle applies when it comes to how we use the FMS screen with all our clients. If the screen indicates you have a shoulder impingement, or a significant imbalance left to right, you won't be overhead pressing until those issues are addressed. We might be able to address it in training, it might require medical intervention. But what good does it do to overhead press if it's going to make you worse or cause pain?
Sometimes we are stubborn, and keep doing things that are hurting us because we are trying to keep up with the person next to us, or we like that particular exercise, or we don't like being told not to. I get it, we all like to think we are immortal,
I have had to give things up at times in my own training. I have dealt with hip and back problems for years. When I have the occasional "flare up" with sciatica, I COULD keep heavy deadlifiting, and then I could find myself flat on my back for a week or unable to stand up straight.
How do I know? Been there. Done that. It was dumb.
Instead, let's just focus on good clean movement, do the mobility and flexibility work necessary to aid recovery, and build back up.
"Not now" doesn't mean "Never".
So whether you train with us, in another gym, or by yourself, be smart.
Don't be afraid to ask. "Why am I doing (or not doing) this?"
Take the long term view. I want to train for the rest of my life, no matter how long that might be. Those who are training into their 70's, 80's and 90's didn't get there by accident.
They understand risk vs. reward.
Keep getting better, every day!