Let’s get back to some exercise basics!
Variety is the spice of life, and it is great to mix up your workouts. Adding variety to your routine, changing the type, order, tempo etc of exercises keeps you interested, keeps the body “guessing” and in a state where it is forced to respond to the different demands placed on it – which is conducive to achiving great results.
A word of caution however, and something to always keep in mind:- Continued progress comes from consistantly applying an overload by increasing the intensity and/or volume of exercise. With this in mind, when changing routines and swopping out exercises, be sure that you don’t sacrifice intensity. A common mistake in this regard is swopping out multi joint or compound exercises (involving 2 or more joints) with single joint (isolation exercises).
A leg extension (which definitely has its benefits in isolating the quadriceps ) is no substitute for a squat for example, that works multiple muscle groups, promoting greater metabolic activity, greater structural stability and functionality. A better substitute would be a similar multi joint structural exercise like a lunge or squat varient, eg front squat. Similarly, a cable pullover, whilst it has its place, is no substitute for a medicine ball slam – a kettle bell swing or even a burpee would be a better substitute. (note, these exercise recommendations are for healthy individuals with no pre existing injury or medical condition that would prevent them from safely performing them. In the event of injury or a medical condition, specific programme recommendations should be made after consultation with a medical and fitness professional).
Finally, be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to be so creative with your exercises that you completely water down your workout. Adding a bosu ball for example to your back squat, is only going to detract from the exercise, compromising your strength gains and form, and putting you at risk of injury. There are certain mainstay exercises that should form a regular part of your routine (provided you are not injured and are in good health), that need not be substituted regularly, or changed in any way by adding balance devices, elastic bands or anything else.
Squats, deadlifts, power cleans, bench press, barbell rows, pull ups, dips, are some examples. Build your workout around these – play with the set and rep structure to alter intensity and volume, change the tempo of the movement, change superset structures etc based on your goals, but include them regularly.
Remember, if you have any questions or need help with your training, inbox us! We’d love to hear from you!