Nick's Fitness Answers, 94 - What is your favourite way to vary exercise? | Fit Futures

Hey what’s up guys, it’s Nick from Fit Futures here with yet another answer to yet another question.


Today’s question comes from Randy in Gore and his question asks; Nick, what is your favourite way to vary exercise?

 Randy, this is an awesome question and really, there’s tonnes of ways to vary activity. In pervious videos, I’ve discussed about different ways to vary a certain exercise, so I’ll start with that first.

 We know that we’ve got different modes of resistance we can incorporate, whether that be body weight, we’ve got suspension-based kits like TRX and Rip 60, you can utilise resistance bands and do a bit of torque doubling with things like hip thrusts and squats, we can use barbells, we can use dumbbells, you’ve got your kettlebells, you’ve got power bags and everything in between. That is where I would start. If I’ve been doing body weight squats and I get tired of that, one way to vary it, strap a barbell across my back. Don’t like the barbell after a little while? Grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, with the kettlebell and perform goblet squats. Don’t like that? Perform front squats. Maybe I go from a bilateral squat to a unilateral squat and I start doing single leg variations. Whether that be a single leg squat or trying to challenge myself even more and perform a pistol squat which can be a huge challenge. That is one way to do it. Again, you can do that with a whole host of different exercises too. You might look at the bench press for example. Typically the bench press on the flat will work the middle fibres of the chest, but what about the bottom fibres and the upper chest? Well, you could inclinate the bench and perform an incline variation or you could drop it down and perform a decline variation. You could include all three. You could include them on a push day or can include them sporadically throughout a training week.

 That’s another good way to vary exercise and that is one of my favourite ways to do it, to just vary the activity itself, change the movement patterns slightly, alter the source of resistance ever so slightly. Maybe play around with sets and reps and even just increase the weight or decrease the weight. That can be a really good way to vary an exercise and either progress or regress based on a whole host of different factors.

 But one of my favourite ways to vary exercise is to manipulate the way that we set up the set schematically. So what I mean by that is, rather than just do your standard straight sets, three sets of ten for example, at a specified weight, you could go with a pyramid scheme that ascends or descends. So that means you might go for one set of ten, one set of twelve, one set of fifteen across your three sets, or you might go in reverse order. Or another way to do the pyramid scheme is to specify a weight, so for argument’s sake let’s take the squat and let’s say 60kg, and that’s going to be our first set at ten repetitions for 60kg and then go up over the next set to 65, and then to 70, and then to 75, and do that over the course of a training session. Pyramid schemes are tremendous. For the tie-in press, supersets are great, giant sets and tri sets are awesome as well. A superset is performing two exercises, typically it will be equal and opposites. For argument’s sake, it might be a push, it might be a pull, then you take your rest, that would be a superset. To make it a tri set, you might incorporate maybe some banded protractions as a bit of prehab or maybe you want to throw in a fourth exercise and make it a giant set. You might throw in a leg activity as well. Really what you’re doing there, especially for the tie-in press, is varying it so that you’re getting more training content into your session and, let’s say for argument’s sake you’re only training for maybe 45 minutes, you’re getting more bang for your buck so to speak. Set schematics are tremendous. You’ve also got negatives and drop sets and other things that you can experiment with. Really good for busting down plateaus and really good for just keeping things fresh, whether that be for yourself in your own training, or with your clients.

 So, Randy, I hope that answered your question, I hope that actually gave you some things to try for yourself and until next time, guys, keep well.

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