I use many different exercise strategies when training clients, and for my own workouts.
Often times we all get fixated on the amount of reps set out for us or that we think we should do. Also, all too often, what gets lost in that is the quality of the repetitions in any movement we do.
Think about this. When you are performing an exercise and all that is on your mind is getting to that 10th or 12th rep without consideration for HOW you are doing it or maybe even the 3rd or 5th rep with a little too heavy of a weight, what does your body start to do? It begins to compensate and move into whatever position it can just to get in the movement…or something that resembles the movement.
Say for instance you are doing a Lat Pull down.
You have loaded up the weight and
are feeling strong. You do the first couple of them with little problem but then everything starts to get tired. Instead of pulling with your back muscles like this picture shows, your shoulders start to hunch forward. You start to pull with your neck and every rep after you round more and more in your upper body. You hit that last rep but did you really achieve your goal?
The muscles that you worked started out as your back muscles, which is what it is supposed to be, but ended up with your shoulders working…in a very unhealthy position I might add.
The next day it’s not your back that is sore from a solid workout, its the front part of your shoulder that has a nagging pain you can’t explain. See? Not the goal.
Another example would be those lunges you added into your leg workout. You decide to use some dumbbells for more of a challenge.
You set your sights on 20 reps, but lunges have never really felt great to you. So starting at rep 1, your shoulders are hunched forward and your chest is more facing the ground than it is the wall. Because your hips are tight you don’t step far enough out each time and your knee completely eclipses your toes. No matter though. You got in your 3 rounds, finishing all 20 reps each time.
Later that day, your knees are killing you with every step. You decide that lunges are not your thing because they hurt your knees every time. Now, admittedly, lunges are not for everyone. Oftentimes, however, it’s not the lunge that is the problem but the way you are doing them that totally defeats the purpose.
This concept applies across all exercises. When you create poor movement patterns by only focusing on getting in those reps, your joints and muscles suffer. Over the long term, this can lead to pills and surgeries that may have otherwise been avoided by us changing our mentality and focusing on quality.
Take a moment to think about your own workouts and your form. I assure you, if you slow down, lighten the weight to get in the QUALITY reps, you will burn just as many calories and your body will thank you much more!