Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Importance of Balanced Exercise Programing

Exercise programing or what types, duration, and frequency of exercise training you are doing must be balanced for optimal results and to keep your joints healthy.  The biggest issue I see among people who workout regularly (without my supervision) is the blatant imbalance in exercise programing (180 minutes on the elliptical trainer or 20 sets of anything on a BOSU ball).  What we decide to do when we exercise regularly has a positive and negative impact on our body.  Here are a few examples:

  • A 45 year-old male former powerlifter and regular (five days per week) weight lifter was complaining to me the other day that he has been bothered by pain in both shoulders.  He asked me if he should supplement with glucosamine.  You know how I feel about supplements.  But, I have seen this guy train week in, week out.  I noticed a severe imbalance in his exercise training programing.  He performed a lot of curls, chest presses, and shoulder lateral raises.  He is very muscular, but I am sure he would be hard-pressed to move his arms through a full range of motion through the shoulder joint.  He never performs any flexibility or mobility work.  And his job is fairly sedentary.  I recommended to him to work on his shoulder mobility every time he trains to balance out the tremendous volume of upper body strength training.  It would also behoove him to cut down the frequency and volume of his current training and also add some more scapular stabilization and rowing exercises to balance the forces and demands on the shoulder joint.

  • A 33 year-old female runner with history of knee surgeries continues to run as her predominant mode of exercise training.  While her overall mileage is down from years past, she continues to suffer from her imbalanced training.  When I got a chance to work with her, I found many deficiencies.  She had poor single-leg stability, a loss of knee range of motion, and hip weakness.  Exercises like body-weight step-ups and single-leg hip bridges were extremely challenging and sometimes painful.  I recommended that she spend her limited training time on knee, hip, and ankle range of motion, single-leg stability, hip strength, and shelf the running for the time being (this is wishful thinking, as runners will run no matter what). 
These are two of many, many examples that I see. Training regularly is good, but as they say, you can have too much of a good thing (especially if it means you are ignoring other aspects of your training).  You need to always move well.  That means developing and maintaining adequate joint mobility, stability, strength, power, agility, balance, endurance, and coordination.  We need to consider our individual background and needs, along with our goals.  Then, program accordingly.  Unsure, of what you need?  Consultknowledgeable trainer to help you develop a balanced exercise training program. 


Steven Rice Fitness said...

Great advice. I congratulate anyone making the effort to exercise regularly- they are way ahead of most people. Next though is to realize how important a program with balance, variety, and an outside perspective is to optimizing fitness.

Dan Hubbard, M.Ed. said...

Thanks, Steven! Keep spreading the message and educating people on proper fitness training.