Written by: Brittni King
Perhaps you’re just now getting into the routine of exercising, have been exercising for some time now, or maybe you’re just considering starting an exercise program. Whatever stage you’re currently in, I’m sure you’ve wondered how to make an exercise easier or how to make it harder. Well in this blog post, I am going to discuss a few ways that you can regress and progression exercises in your workout program.
First, let’s talk about how you know when to regress an exercise. Regressing simply means making an exercise easier. Regression should occur if:
(1) You are experiencing ANY type of pain with a workout (experiencing pain and soreness are different, work to establish the difference). Sharp, shooting sensation, or a movement that consistently makes you wince are not normal and shouldn’t be ignored. PUSHING THROUGH THE PAIN IS A BAD IDEA.
(2) You have symptoms of overtraining. Symptoms of overtraining include feeling unusually tired, loss of motivation to workout, persistent muscle soreness, depression, or overwhelm at the thought of working out. The key to a successful exercise program is REST. If your body (or mind) is feeling fatigued, then it would be wise to let them rest for a few days.
(3) You are beginning a training program or workout regime that is not specific to your goals. Not all workout programs or gym classes are a universal fit. Know your limitations, and plan accordingly. Find a gym or workout program that makes sense for you and your body.
Next, let’s discuss when it is time to PROGRESS an exercise. Progressing is simply making an exercise more challenging. Progressions should be taken in small steps, especially if you are a beginner exerciser. Progression should occur if:
(1) the exercise begins to feel easy. When you first begin a new exercise, it may be difficult at first- exhausting you more, feeling the ‘burn’, and you may even begin to shake. But after a few weeks of doing the same exercise, that very exercise that used to exhaust you becomes easier and you’re ready for a new challenge.
(2) You don’t feel tired after your reps and sets. If you feel like you can pump out more reps, then go ahead!
(3) At the end of the training week, if your energy is up, and you feel less tired and fatigued, then you’re ready to add an additional training day. However, remember to give your body 48-hours of rest between resistance (weight) training and performing high level interval cardio training. Your body needs rest to optimally perform and gain muscle!
So, you may be thinking, what are some ways to progress? Here are four ways to progress/regress an exercise:
- Lever length- to progress, move the weight farther away from the body and to regress, simply do the opposite
- Balance- to progress, change your stance to staggered, single leg, etc. and to regress, keep both feet planted
- Weight- to progress, add heavier weight and to regress, go lighter weight
- Rest times-to progress, shorten rest times between reps and sets and to regress make those rests a little longer