Monday, July 27, 2009


Yes it's important to have a large 'exercise toolbox', but what I think sometimes gets forgotten is that each exercise has secondary adaptations and/or consequences. While one choice of exercise might seem like a smart selection to target a specific motion around a specific joint or joints there are additional forces being applied to areas outside of the key areas.

Take ab rollouts of any kind; done on stability balls, TRX or Blast Straps, or the ab wheels. These may be great exercises for anterior "core" stability, but what's going on, as far as forces, at the thoracic spine and shoulder complex? I am specifically thinking anterior tilting of the scapula and thoracic flexion. Sure the athlete might be coached to maintain the correct positioning, but the forces are still being applied.

... Or take an athlete who is completely "bound-up" in the rectus femoris. So much so that going into any kind of lunge position pulls the pelvis so far forward (anterior tilt) that things start to spill out. Is a forward or reverse lunge a good exercise for this athlete to perform. Can, or is, the athlete disciplined/skilled enough to be sure as to not use the posterior leg for eccentric stability or any driving force to come out of the lunge? Especially when any type of heavier load is to be used. Speaking from experience, I have had extreme soreness in the rectus femoris from performing reverse lunging the day prior... what's the adaptation?

I am not saying a certain exercise should not be done, but the "big picture" needs to be seen when applying any exercise with the hopes of improving performance. There are multiple adaptations that come from every exercise based on the movement itself, type of external load, where the load is placed, volume, intensity, or even the subject performing the movement... plus many others.

Is corrective exercise necessary or is it just a need of subtracting from the "program"? Or just making better exercise choices? Or improved coaching?

Just be aware.



Travis said...

Say for example I was experiencing posterior pelvic tilt (this is more common with desk jockeys, correct?). What would be a 'bad' lift selection in this case?

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Good question.

Hard to say without seeing or working with the specific person/athlete.

Travis said...

Understandable. Thank you

Mike T Nelson said...

Good stuff man!

Many times we try to micro manage a macro movement and by doing so we miss the big picture.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson

Extreme Human Performance

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Thanks Mike... I agree.

jleeger said...

great post Aaron...right on.

I think the answer is D) All of the Above...