Just as the prescription of medicine depends on the correct dose for safety and success, so does exercise. Too much causes injury, too little, no results. Instead of a drug to cure, exercise uses forces, (and usually movement), to challenge, improve, and maintain the human body. It is important for those who engage in exercise to realize that force is invasive and after the decision is made on any given exercise, there are a multitude of decisions to consider to effectively load the body: (these are just a few basic ones)
- Is the given exercise actually safe and effective to accomplish the goals you have set out?
- Investigation: What is the participant’s current joint status, capabilities, limitations, and ‘true’ strength?
- What type of resistance are you using? Bodyweight, dumbbells, cables, a machine, rubber tubing, water, etc.
- How much resistance do you need to effectively challenge improvement versus getting hurt, or zero results (the right dose: not too light, not too heavy).
- How are you going to stabilize? The floor, a bench, a ball, the machine, etc.
- What adjustments need to be made to accommodate the individual’s body makeup? Arm, leg, trunk lengths.
- Intention: Can you focus on contraction and joint status instead just movement and reps?
- How many reps, range, rest, interval?
- How will you navigate focus, awareness, control, tempo, intention, and fluidity of motion? (It’s not just about counting reps!)
- What muscles are involved in producing motion versus the ones eliminating unwanted motion, regulating, and controlling motion?
- What are other ‘unseen’ forces are involved that must be navigated: friction, shear, inertia, etc.
- What does the entire orchestration of the set look like? Fluid/symmetrical/ motion through all reps?
- How are you going to change it up so you’re not doing the same thing everytime? (manipulative variables)