Lots of coaches and athletes get caught up in the bells and whistles and flavour of the month exercises, and lose sight of the fundamentals necessary for success in the given sport.
Many of these exercises have evolved from coaches feeling the need to “spice things up” for their athletes, and have resorted to modifying / inventing new and exciting movements.
Whilst this may be beneficial for coaches with general fitness clients at increasing business due to being a ‘cool’ trainer, it is detrimental when allowing the same exercises to creep into the program of an athlete.
There are plenty of ways to spice things up for an athlete without trying to invent some funky new bosu-ball-hand-stand-push-up exercise.
Simple things like adjustments in sets, reps or tempo, using drop sets or cluster sets, using chains and bands etc are more than enough to add variety to the core movements that the athlete needs.
When it comes to high-level athletes, they will have staple exercises that are always in their program. Whilst the modality and method of that exercise may vary throughout their program, the fundamental movements remains the same.
Please note that this is in reference to adding in new exercises that have little-to-no effect on the athlete’s performance, NOT the natural progression of exercises throughout a training plan. Here’s a basic example of the natural progression for the shoulder press:
- Standing DB shoulder press
- Strict press
- Push press.
The fundamental movement of over overhead pressing hasn’t changed, but the modality has. Without factoring in any other variables (mentioned above) we’ve already added variety to the program.
Another consideration that needs to be addressed is the effect that the new exercise will have on the athlete’s performance. Introducing a new exercise will often result with increased muscle soreness, and consequently a decrease in performance so it’s important to implement any changes at the appropriate time in the training / competitive calendar.
There’s no need to try and reinvent the wheel. Keep it simple, but effective.