Combining Pullover Crunch, Reverse Lunges, & Chest Flies for the perfect routine
Some clients like to be tortured … in a good way of course! Others look to their trainer to provide the best workouts, with the best exercises to achieve their desired goals. Then there are those clients that struggle to make their session and want to talk the whole time avoiding another boring squat!
Regardless of the type of client you work with, the same struggles hold true for all, and that is to provide the best exercise challenges suitable for each client at their fitness levels. The workouts developed need to evolve so that the client’s interest, motivation and achievements, continually progress with success.
Progression is a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills. This is an important concept to understand since every client has different goals and training needs as well as his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses. What is challenging for one may be easy for another.
Once a skill or task is mastered, something needs to be changed to continue to advance. This is where proper progression becomes an art form.
Progressing An Exercise
Listed below are the primary ways to progress an exercise. These methods each have their own progressions within themselves, but if you understand how each one affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement to obtain a skill, then you will be able to effectively execute the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.
> Incline adjustment – increasing or decreasing the incline
> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower.
> Body Position – altering the body’s position challenges different muscle angles.
> Sets & Reps/ Sequences/ Style – These factors enhance the workout challenge.
> Add Uni or Bilateral Movements- Changing an exercise from both limbs to working one at a time not only adds an increased strength challenge but it also allows focus to be placed on the weaker side while using core stabilizers.
> Incorporate Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time.
Adding these dimensions to your clients’ workouts may be a successful game changer.
Total Gym Progression Tips:
The Total Gym offers so many variations when it comes to progressing an exercise. Here are some ways to progress a basic exercise to a more challenging option:
Adjusting the incline for increased resistance
Increasing or lowering the incline changes the feel of an exercise. Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work, and a lower incline is more challenging for core work.
For example, performing pull-ups with a high incline is more challenging due to the gravitational load and direction of pull. The higher the incline for this exercise, the harder the exercise. The Total Gym can provide assistance for those clients needing strength development by allowing the client to successfully perform the exercise at a lower level.
Changing the anchor position
Adjusting the hand/ leg stance position during specific exercises can challenge an exercise. Changing the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glide board by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.
For example, performing a seated row in the middle of the glide board at a low level is less challenging than performing the same exercise from a kneeling stance at the top of the glide board at a moderate incline. It requires more core stability and balance to adjust from a seated to a kneeling position.
Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength. Always perfect a client’s form from the simplest level before adding an extra “fitness toy” or external resist. Creativity is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.
For example, performing a reverse lunge on the Total Gym challenges core balance, stability, and strength. When adding extra resistance or a movement skill that follows the basic reverse lunge, more muscles are recruited, coordination plays a role, and effective execution of the exercise is still the primary goal. Intensity can always be added, as long as a client is ready for the challenge.
Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts. This is what will make all the difference for a successful session each time.
Basics to Progress
Let’s discus 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge. Pullover Crunch, Reverse Lunge, and Chest Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.
Each of these exercises shows a series of ways to progress ranging from beginner to advanced. Try incorporating these exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.
- Legs at 90 degrees
- Straight Legs
- Closed Glide Board, Stationary Lunge
- Open Glide Board
- High Kneeling
- Static equilibrium
These are a few examples of how to simply progress a basic exercise. From understanding the basics, you can always add in your own progressions to create more challenges.
A personal trainer has many responsibilities to execute safe, effective and efficient training sessions to clients. Being knowledgeable of the basic exercise principals allows progressions to occur when a client is strong and ready. It is important to understand these modifications, variations and specifics to each exercise to accommodate clients properly by layering an exercise with proper advancements. It’s always amazing to see the simplest exercises to be some of the hardest to perform.
Inspire and challenge your clients each session by going back to the basics and layering the exercises from there.
About the Author
Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.
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