Prioritizing training goals
If you’re looking to make progress in your health and fitness, it’s important to know how to best prioritize your activities. Here’s a short list and simple guide to making sure you’re prioritizing effectively.
1. Total volume. When it comes to exercise and physical activity, there is nothing more important than showing up and doing the work. This is one reason I’m a big advocate of walking. Many times you can burn more calories just doing a brisk 30 minute walk, than piddling around the gym for an hour. If nothing else, just MOVE. The more time you spend moving the greater impact you will see relative to your physical fitness.
2. Exercise selection/ratio of volume. (i.e. What exercises are prioritized). We place a heavy emphasis on global compound patterns such as squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, core, and gait. By allocating more time and effort to these types of exercises, it ensures the major muscle groups and patterns get adequate attention in order to make meaningful adaptation.
3. Movement quality (form). Form is important. It’s actually one of the things we really pride ourselves on at the Health Performance Institute. But if you’re so worried about form that you start to significantly sacrifice total volume or exercise selection, you’ll likely see a decrease in results.
4. Corrective exercise and/or sport specific. These exercises are designed to help you improve your weaknesses or prepare for a certain activity. While they are a vital piece of the overall plan, they should not typically be the “meat and potatoes” of your workout.
If you were to think about these four variables as it relates to food, consider your total volume to be equivalent to calories. Exercise selection is more akin to your macronutrients, like proteins, fats, carbs. Movement quality relates to how your food is sourced (i.e. organic, conventional, etc). Lastly, corrective exercise is like the supplements you take – still important, and at certain times you may emphasize this area more than others, but in general this variable plays more of a supporting role.