What Does Variation Even Mean?

This has been a beast of a series, but in case you missed the following posts I encourage you to check them out before we delve into variation:

The Rocking Chair of Homeostais

Volume

Intensity

I do not know about you all, but I remember when I was a kid rainy days were the worst. I mean they started out awesome, but went downhill fast. After a while I just wanted to go outside, my video games, books, all that stuff just got boring. I mean this may sound preposterous but there is only so much Super Smash Bros a kid can play in one day. Inevitably boredom sets in and the all too popular complaint, "I'm bored". 

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Although, to be honest, I was a little frightened to use this phrase with my mom, because such a phrase meant I had no where to escape to from chores...

This "I'm bored" phrase tends to be prevalent in our society. However rather than blame it on the "microwave mindset" or the "instafit" mindset I think it is more important to see how this might relate to our body, our workouts, and the notion I have been talking about regarding the disruption of homeostasis. 

Quite frankly, our body, in order to adapt, does need variety in the workouts. We cannot do the same thing every single time all the time. Why? Because our body will stop feeling the need to adapt, and as a result our progress stalls. 

In previous posts I have talked about mixing up volume and intensity for variety, but we can also mix up the exercises we are doing, and that is the key point of today's post. Movement variation. 

Before I go any further I want to make one point clear. This does not mean do completely random workouts every single day. Such a strategy is as effective in the long term as trying to drain the ocean with a teaspoon, good luck. Rather it means being smart about your programming (which I will get into in a future post) and giving your body enough time to adapt before changing things again. 

This is where movement patterns come into the discussion. (If only I got 67 cents every time I discussed movement patterns). Understanding movement patterns and creating variation within the movement patterns can go a long way in creating the type of movement variety that is not just effective but sustainable. 

Take a look at the 6 basic movement patterns, I will provide 3 exercises for each:

  1. Hinge (Deadlift, Hip Bridge, Hex Bar Deadlift)
  2. Squat (Front Squat, Back Squat, Goblet Squat)
  3. Single Leg (Split Squat, Reverse Lunge, Step-up)
  4. Upper Body Push (Push-up, Bench Press, Overhead Press)
  5. Upper Body Pull (Prone Row, Pull-up, TRX Row)
  6. Core (Bear Crawl, Farmer Carry, Plank)

As basic as this may seem these 18 exercises could allow for enough variety to keep your body adapting for probably a good couple years and then some.

We have now discussed volume, intensity, variety, all that remains is frequency and density. I hope you are prepared, because at the end of this I will show you how to use this information to create your own programs that will constantly keep you moving forward. 

- Dave