Progression and Regression of Exercises

Progression and Regression of Exercises

● How to progress exercise

● How to regress exercise

● Progressing regression

Today I am going to share with you some of the secrets to progressing and regressing exercises. There are definitely benefits to both progressions and regressions in terms of exercise – either going a step forward or going a step back can be rewarding.

Progression of an exercise can be so fulfilling in terms of the achievement you get from it. The most common progression of exercise is to increase load/weight; this in itself is definitely a bonus, however there are so much other ways to progress movement.

Let us use a bench press as a typical example: The easiest way to make the bench press more challenging is to add more weight to the bar and perform the move in the same manner as before. Load or weight is only one way to challenge it further; changing body position to create instability is such an effective way to enhance your bench press. Simply by lifting your feet from the floor and onto the bench, you are automatically challenging the stability of your core, abdominals in particular. I have always preached that if you train in an unstable plane, you’ll be stronger in a stable one!

Regressing exercise doesn’t equate to failure – the majority of the time it is actually very beneficial to take a step back to go a step forward. The most common example of an exercise that gets regressed is a full bodyweight press up. The go-to modification is take to down to a box press up, which isn’t a bad way to tailor it. However, where I see this falling off slightly is that people then attempt to go straight back into a full bodyweight press up.

Let’s say hypothetically that full bodyweight press up is Gear 5 and box press up is Gear 1 in on a manual gearbox. To eventually get up to Gear 5 in a car you have to work up through gears 1 to 4 right? I use the same philosophy when I am training my clients. I would take the box press up and then have them straighten one leg out with the foot touching the ground behind (call this gear 2); this change of body position is an example of progressing regression as you now have less contact with the ground this making it tougher. To take this a step further you can take the straightened leg off the ground completely (Gear 3). As long as you can find a strategic way to progress the regression to build up to the full motion.

Regressing exercise is very good for when the body is tired or you need to get those last few reps out i.e. dropping weights from 3kg to 2kg Dumbbells on Bicep Curls in a timed circuit with 45 seconds on each move.

For any progressions and regressions to any movement whatsoever, come and chat to us! We are more than happy to help with enhancing your training!

Nick x

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