Does Your Program Have Symmetry (A Rowan Rant)

     For the next week I have (along with 2 other members) a group project due for a god-awful class.  Luckily, my group’s presentation has to do with how to implement an exercise plan for people.  Supposedly the class is going to present their projects in front of other faculty members who want to attend and honestly, I do not know who in the hell wants to sit there and listen to some of this stuff.  Anyway,  it gave me the idea to write about program design.  After overhearing other students talk about their way of doing things in the weight-room (God help their souls), I feel the need to write about a simple, effective, and easy way to get people started with program design.  It really can make your programming a lot simpler and effective considering that there are so many fads and crazy gym people. 

I do not want to get real in-depth here but basically if you look at movements in the gym there are really only a few.

  • Horizontal Push: i.e. bench press type movements
  • Horizontal Pull:  Rowing movements
  • Vertical Pull: Lat pulldown & chin-up movements
  • Vertical Push: shoulder press movements
  • Hip Dominant: deadlift movements and their variations
  • Knee Dominant: squat movements and their variations
  • Core Stabilization: anti-extension, anti-flexion, anti-rotation,  anti-lateral flexion

     This is really a great way to get started if you want to make your own program.  The problem is that most people do way too much horizontal pressing (bench), vertical pressing (when do you not see a guy doing tons of “shoulder work”), & knee dominant (those quarter squats & leg extensions are a meatheads best friend) exercises.  This presents major muscle imbalances across joints, will increase the possibility of injury, keep your progress limited, all while helping your posture look like the man below (ok maybe not that bad!). 

Too much pressing, not enough pulling, or maybe he just swung from a belltower all day

     The next time you check your program, if you write it down or follow a cookie cutter program, check and see if you have the same volume for opposing movements. I.e. Do you have just as much pulling sets as pressing?  Hip-dominant as much as knee dominant exercises?  Most likely you may not, but now is a time to fix it in order feel and look better.  It might be intelligent, due to poor posture, to add more volume for pulling movements (rowing) and hip dominant exercises (SLDL, stability ball hamstring curls, deadlifts, glute bridges etc..)

  I cannot wait for this demon class to be over.

Categories: Strength Training

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