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by Idalis Velazquez
updated January 18, 2017
posted in

Basic Moves Over Complicated Variations

Basic Moves Over Complicated Variations

In our efforts to stay motivated and beat the workout boredom we often search for variety and ways to switch it up.

As a trainer I’m constantly sharing different exercise variations and ways you can spice up your routine via Instagram. My intention is to motivate you and teach you something new!
One thing I want for beginners to be aware of, is that I’ve been physically active since very early in my life and spent most of my life mastering the basics. I also know how to listen to my body and take a step back whenever I feel a slight chance I’m compromising my form. But in all honesty the best and more productive workouts I have are those that are kept simple performing the basics.

It’s important to understand that repetition and consistency are key to achieving your fitness goals! The more you do an exercise and practice, the better you will get at it. If you see a professional athlete training, they spend every day repeating and working on their skills.   Yes, they gradually progress and increase the challenge, but you won't notice major changes in their training and routine.

As a former athlete we use to stick to the foundation exercises that also happen to be the most effective ones - think Squats, Deadlifts, Press, Push, and Pulling movements. We would practice technique and the same drills and exercises over and over. This is how you get really good at something. We will then gradually progress by using heavier weights, going faster, resting less, increasing the work load and occasionally performing a variation. But the main work and movement patterns remained very consistent.

I know that with social media, you may be lead to think that you need to perform crazy hard variations, do a lot of combos and do more in order to get results. That’s simply not true. I want you to keep in mind that most trainers who are able to perform these variations are professionals who spent years mastering the basics through repetition and consistency. Some of them are also former athletes. Importantly, in most cases the injury risks you take in performing these variations outweigh the benefits.

Keep I'm mind that their goal is probably to motivate you to get out of your comfort zone and strive to get stronger and more active. They are not necessary saying you have to do the same to get results!

Before adding variety into your workouts master the basic exercises and perform regressions (modifications) of the exercises whenever you need to. Why?  Because, you can add all the variety in the world, but if your form and range of motion are not correct, chances are your workouts are not efficient and you will be missing out on getting the results you are looking for.

You must challenge yourself and gradually increase the work load (progressive overload) to continue getting stronger and reach your fitness goals. But before adding a new variation be sure your form and range of motion are good.  There are effective ways you can add variety and reach your goals while still making sure you are working smart as you continue to master the basic movement patterns. For example:

  1. You can add more repetitions.
  2. Use heavier weights.
  3. Add Tempo training -Try slowing down the eccentric part of every rep. On squats, for instance, perform 3–4 sets of 6–8 reps, taking 3–5 seconds to lower your body. Slower tempos will immediately reveal any flaws in your exercise technique, and they’ll expose weak muscles. You can also add faster tempos.
  4. Add Unilateral training —work one arm or leg at a time with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or machine (Single Arm Push Press, Single Arm Bent-Over Row, Single Leg Deadlift, etc).
    Unilateral training has many benefits! From strengthening your core, recruiting more muscle, improving muscle imbalances and increasing your strength.

Stay consistent and add variety in a smart way so that you can reach your fitness goals faster, and improve your fitness level.

Idalis Velazquez
Idalis is a wife, proud mom of three girls and an internationally recognized and trusted fitness & lifestyle expert. She is a Beachbody Super Trainer, a bilingual Fitness Influencer and Fitness and Wellness content creator for publications like Women’s Health Magazine, Men’s Health, GQ Magazine and others. She is also a Nordictrack and an iFit International trainer.

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