Have you been working out and not seeing the changes you hoped for? Do stairs seem difficult despite the fact that you are doing high intensity work outs? Do some exercises not feel right or, worse, cause pain? Do you spend hours at the gym and still don’t feel in shape? If you answered yes to any of these questions it’s time to determine what exercises will meet your needs and enable you to get in shape the way you had hoped. If you answered no to any of these questions it’s still time to determine what exercises will meet your needs to get in shape for the ultimate goal of never needing to answer yes and, of course, reduce the risk of injury.
To determine what to do in a workout you need to consider several issues. First, you need to think about what your goals are. What do you want to do? Do you want to be able to run a marathon, play tennis, be able to run away from some lunatic you met at the gym without injuring yourself? Do you want to lose weight or simply be able to run after your child without getting hurt? The list is endless. Once you figure what your goals are you will know where to focus. For example, if you would like to run a marathon you need to focus on improving endurance, developing strength in your hips, trunk and legs to support running, and improve mobility and balance. You need to also develop a strong core and to learn how to run with an efficient gait pattern.
The second thing that you need to do is determine what your deficits, weaknesses or restrictions are. Once you know what your weaknesses are you can choose exercises that addresses these issues. What does this mean? There are areas which you may be weak or tight that are preventing you from executing movement safely and effectively. For example, if your hips are weak you may not have the control to do a squat without your knees buckling in – and if that is the case then landing from a jump would result in the same buckling in – and if that is the case you will be putting pressure on the inside of your knees and increasing your risk of injury. So if your hips are weak you need to strengthen them doing exercises with good alignment and body mechanics. You also have to consider whether unresolved deficits would interfere with your current goals. If so you would have to re-adjust your goals until your deficits are resolved.
So now is the time to be honest without yourself, take a look in the mirror or, better yet, film yourself and look at how you move. These days filming one-self is pretty easy. Then you can look at my entry, dated October, 2014 on finding efficient alignment and use that as a guide to determine whether your alignment and mechanics are off. If you don’t make the necessary changes you could end up with an injury and that will be frustrating.
You also want to take into account any past medical issues. If your past medical issues are unresolved this may conflict with your present exercise goals. For example, if you want to run a marathon but continue to have knee pain for most activities, ignoring the knee pain can lead to more complicated problems.
In summary, to choose appropriate exercises that meet your needs:
Determine what your goals are.
Discover what your deficits are and find appropriate exercises to correct those deficits.
Resolve any unresolved medical issues that could interfere with your ability to get in shape.
By identifying and addressing the above you are on your way to making lasting change and getting into shape with decreased risk of injury.