Throughout the rehab and personal training realms, you can find clients and patients performing exercises. Great! It is good to see people moving. But the problem arises when these clients and patients aren't progressed and challenged with these movements.
The concept of:
is what needs to be addressed!
In rehab and personal training, etc., some clients and patients are not being LOADED to the point at which positive adaptations can be made. We could even say that negative adaptations are being made.
In order to get stronger, faster, more powerful, variables need to be adjusted in the terms of:
-Increased time under tension
-Decreased rest breaks
Movements need to be made more challenging in order to make positive adaptations. If this principle isn’t adhered to and progressive overload doesn’t occur, we can make the case that negative adaptations may occur. Not negative to the extent that injury could occur in the clinic or weight room, but for the long term in regards to maximizing strength, power, and injury resiliency.
Here are a 3 examples of this.
1. Using Resistance Bands as Load
Before the “Hate E-mail” starts flying in, I use resistance bands in my office. As a physical therapist, there is a time and a place for the use of “physical therapy resistance bands” that you see in many physical therapy clinics or gyms.
They provide a form of progressive overload and the difficulty of them can be increased through increasing the stretch OR by increasing the difficulty of the band. They can be a great rehab/personal training tool.
But the problem arises when that is all people are doing!
When someone has an injury or is progressing back from an injury, these types of bands can be great in helping someone move and feel better. But eventually they need to start doing multi-joint movements with heavier loads.
This doesn’t mean that they need to have aspirations to be a powerlifter or a Crossfit athlete, but life happens and people need to be resilient to the demands that life throws at them.
People are meant to squat, hinge, push, pull, and carry. Start using these movements or variations thereof.
Examples of the Squat include:
Examples of a Hip Hinge include:
Trap Bar Deadlift
Single Leg Deadlifts
Examples of a Push include:
Bench Elevated Push-Up
Dumbbell Floor Press
Examples of a Pull include:
Pronated Inverted Rows
1- Arm Cable Row
Examples of a Carry include:
You get the idea. You don’t need to work in a state of the art facility either. Dumbbells can work just fine for the majority of these movements.
2. Not Loading Enough
Both the rehab and personal training/wellness fields are guilty of this. Ok, say you took one of the movements from above and are having someone do it. Eventually, you should make the movement more challenging.
The body is a great and wonderful organism. It is going to adapt, positively or negatively, and it needs to continue to be challenged in order to make positive adaptations.
If movements are looking too easy, then make the movement harder. It doesn’t have to be exponentially harder, but add 5-15 lbs to the movement.
If the implement (bar, weight, etc.) is moving rather quickly, increase the weight. If someone voices to you, “this is too easy”, then increase the weight. Our clients and patients pay us their hard earned money to help facilitate positive changes in their lives. Make it worth their while.
So, please stop using pink dumbbells. Unless your pink dumbbells are 50lbs! Yes, if someone is coming off a surgery, injury, etc. and are using them as a stepping stone to recover from their injury, they are fine to use. But progress to heavier weights when it’s necessary.
3. Gender Specific Weights
This is one that is still a problem in our fields. Men are fine to lift as much weight as humanly possible, but women need to stick to the lighter weights.
Men and women can perform similar movements. There should be no “Gender Specific Weights” or “Gender Specific Exercises.”
Women have just a right as men do to squat, hip hinge, push, pull, and carry. As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to load the movements and make it challenging. There are many strong women out there who can deadlift, squat, etc. Just because you are a certain gender, shouldn’t designate you to a certain range of weights or exercises.
With all of this being said, form and technique are of the utmost importance. If someone can’t maintain good technique, then either lower the weight or regress the movement.
Start using more implements than just resistance bands, load your clients, and men and women can both lift heavy weights!
Here I will be writing and posting about topics ranging from physical therapy, injury prevention/reduction, and strength and conditioning.