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A Guide to Finding the Right Exercise for You

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

If you take a few seconds to glance onto YouTube or social media, you will find plenty of different ways to do many exercises. Front squats, box squats, zercher squats, belt squats, goblet squats, etc... Without context, these videos and workouts can become confusing pretty quickly, and in some cases, outright unnecessary.

In this guide, I will highlight the 4 most important things to follow or consider when determining if an exercise is right for you!

Align the exercise with your goals. The single most important factor in the realm of exercise selection is to make sure that the exercise you pick aligns with your current goals. For instance, a goal you may have is to build strong legs. If you have extensive training history, a front squat may be the better option over a goblet squat because it allows more load in a similar position (more load is directly related to strength increase). On the other hand, if you have minimal training history, it would be a better option to select a goblet squat to teach proper movement mechanics first. Remember that we crawl before we can walk!

Pick similar exercises and compare them. Another goal you may have is to increase size of the triceps muscle and have picked two versions of triceps extension. You might find that one hurts the elbows. Select the one that is more joint friendly!

Exercise quality over quantity matters. Look at the sequence of your exercises. For example, if you are doing three different exercises in a sequence, make sure each exercise offers something unique. Push-ups, followed by bench press, followed by incline press is probably not the best idea because this order stresses the same movement pattern over and over again. Drop 1 or 2 of these exercises and focus more on the execution of the ones that you keep doing. You will see progress just from narrowing down your focus!

Work the exercise. If you really want to see results from an exercise, it is important to prioritize that exercise and make sure that the frequency you do them is high enough to see real results. For example, after following the previous points, the trainee has chosen the goblet squat exercise to strengthen the legs. However, their program is set up to run first before lifting, and they only lift once per week. This is a surefire way to get subpar results. The trainee should prioritize the strength exercise before anything else and aim to do the exercise about 2-3 times per week.

So, there you have it. Follow these points for improved exercise selection!

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