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Jan
19

Understanding Total Gym Progressions – Part 4

Combining Planks, Bridges, Back Flies for the Perfect Routine

 Maria Sollon

(Watch the Video)

Why not rock out the New Year with some new challenges.  Master your workouts with simple progressions that not only add a variety to your old routine, but also add the extra challenge your body may need.

Workouts would get boring pretty quickly if you did the same one every day.  Your clients would feel the same way if you never varied their routine.  As a trainer, you have a responsibility to your clients to know and understand at least two progressions for every exercise you teach.  You must know when and where to implement the different training variables.  This is an important concept that separates a good trainer from a mediocre one.

Let’s dive into the topic of exercise progression…

WHAT IS EXERCISE PROGRESSION

Exercise 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 altered for further advances.   This is where proper progression becomes an art form.

PROGRESSING AN EXERCISE

There are numerous ways to progress an exercise.  Depending on a client’s needs is how you (the trainer) can plan the progression.  For example, your client may have increased strength and balance in their posterior chain.  Rather than performing a seated back row from a lower incline, they can progress to a moderate incline and a kneeling position.

It is important to understand how each progression affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement skill.  In time, you can effectively implement the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.

Listed are some primary ways to progress an exercise.

> Resistance – External resistance adds a strength challenge as long as form does not suffer

> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower

> Body Position – altering body position challenges different muscle angles

> Sets/ Reps/ Sequences/ Style – Manipulating these factors enhance the workout challenge

> Balance – Balance displacement increase the intensity of the exercise.

> Uni VS Bilateral Movements – Unilateral movements allow strength development be focused on the weaker side while incorporating core stabilizers.

> Lever Length – basic biomechanical principles make an exercise harder or easier by moving the weight farther or closer to the fulcrum.

> Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time!

> Eyes Closed – Closing the eyes increase the balance and core stability challenge, especially standing on one leg.

> Range of Motion – Incorporating varied ranges of motion in all angles creates challenges for a given exercise.

Progressions keep exercises challenging and allow the flexibility for your clients to keep striving to achieve their best.  Adding these dimensions to your client’s workouts can be a successful game changer.

TOTAL GYM PROGRESSION TIPS

The Total Gym machine is an excellent piece of equipment that offers countless variations to progress an exercise by accommodating to the user.  It’s a multipurpose machine that can adapt to each client’s body structure, strength level, and training goals desired to accomplish.   Simple adjustments can make tough challenges!

Listed below are examples of how prepare your Total Gym unit for the appropriate progressions your clients may need.

Adjust the Incline Appropriately

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.

Adjusting the Cables

Moving the cable pin placement allows a different range of motion to occur.  It is very effective for accommodating different body frames.

Changing the Stance Position

Adjusting the hand/ leg stance during specific exercises can challenge an exercise.   Varying the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glideboard by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.

Extra Resistance

Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength.  A client’s form should be perfected before advancing or adding external resist.  Adding external weight is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.

Tempo, Sets, & Reps

Incorporating different tempo speeds along with varied sets and rep ranges can add a challenge to any exercise.

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!

EXERCISE PROGRESSION EXAMPLES

Let’s discuss 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge.  Planks, Bridges, and Back Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Try the following exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.  Be creative in the way you deliver the exercises as well.  For example, perform them one after the other in circuit format, add cardio elements in between each set, OR perform the exercise for a set period of time.  You as their trainer can create the best method of execution for your client’s goals.

Core – Planks

Kneeling

Open GB

Lower incline

Single leg

Legs – Bridge Press

Roll hips up/down

Open GB & press

Single leg

Dynamic motion

Arms – Back Flies

Seated

Kneeling

High kneeling

Static equilibrium

Check out the video link to view how these exercises progress.

These are just a few examples of how to progress basic exercises.  The possibilities to increase the challenge are endless.  Therefore, when an exercise become too easy or your workout needs an uplift, try increasing the intensity of the movement by making small adjustments to an exercise you perform well.

As a personal trainer, it is important to be knowledgeable on how to safely and effectively progress your clients when they are ready to advance.  Understanding the modifications, variations and specifics to each movement will help you intelligently layer an exercise for proper progression.  The most basic exercises can be some of the most challenging!

About the Author

Maria Sollon ScallyMaria 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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