How to choose exercises in your workout that aren't redundant.
When choosing exercises in a workout something to factor in is exercise redundancy. What does that mean? Exercise redundancy means choosing and performing exercises that are essentially the same movement. You want to maximize your time in the gym when you train and performing two or more of the same exercise creates redundancy and isn’t an effective way to train.
You may be asking yourself what are the exercises that are the same movement? Let me list some examples.
- Barbell bench press and a dumbbell bench press
- Seated leg curl machine and a prone (lying face down) leg curl machine
- Goblet squat and a front barbell squat
- Seated dumbbell curls and standing barbell curls
- Seated cable rows and seated machine rows
What do these examples have in common?
- They are all the same movement pattern
- They all have the load (weight) at the same position
- The movements are all at the same angle or body position
- They are all bilateral exercises (either both arms working or both legs)
- The strength curve (the point in the movement where you are the strongest and can generate the most force) and resistance - curve (the point in the movement where the load or resistance is heaviest and lightest) are the same in each movement.
There are more examples but you get the point. To maximize your time in the gym and your results you want to do different movements. It doesn’t have to be a big change in the movement or exercise though. If you are training chest and doing a dumbbell bench press you can still do another pressing movement. You would just want to do a different type of pressing movement. If you are doing a dumbbell bench press you can also do an incline or decline dumbbell or barbell press. If you are doing biceps and are doing seated dumbbell curls you can still do other curl or elbow flexion exercises. You could do preacher curls, incline dumbbell curls or neutral grip/hammer or pronated grip/reverse curls.
A key thing to keep in mind is the body adapts to the same movement. Doing different movements forces the body to adapt to something different. This helps keep things fresh so you continue to get results and your program and results don’t grow stagnant. Also doing the same movement over and over again can lead to what is called pattern overload syndrome and that can lead to an injury.
It should be noted that with any rule of thumb of training their always exceptions to rules. These could be someone preparing for a testing or competition on a certain exercise such as military or police testing or a power lifting competition. As with any rule it is important to look at in context and not as a one size fits all rule that applies to every situation, every time but rather as a general rule of thumb to keep mind when designing your training programs and workouts.
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