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Updated: May 25

Anyone with the tiniest bit of understanding about movement can come up with hundreds of exercise varitations in their training. Inventing new and "cool" stuff is not difficult - but neither is it productive. What truly determines the value of an exercise is the precision with which it is executed. And you, the reader of this article, are one of those who ought to give this some thought.

Many personal trainers, fitness coaches, and group exercise teachers base the core of their work on repeatedly selling their clients new programs and exercises in oder to "keep them happy". A happy client is good for retention, after all. And doing new things is exciting and mentally stimulating. Correct?

Not so fast.

If we analyse the concept of 'variety' a little deeper, we come to the conclusion that 'more' does not always equal 'better'. In fact, the greater the variety we pursue as coaches and lifters in our practice, the more difficult it becomes for us to understand where our progress (or failure) has come from. The more exercise variations we implement in our training, the further we drift away from performing movements in the most efficient and correct way.

In the field of strength training, the value of precision is indisputable. Its importance is immesurable, and its power is game-changing.

When we perform heavy barbell lifts, we are looking for mechanics that are a) most effective for moving the heaviest weight possible; and b) which pose the lowest risk of injury to the lifter. The more precise we are with our approach, the greater the output is.

Precision requires us to first have a clear understanding of what determines a precise movement or action. Upon this, we need to consciously think about our action steps that are meant to be carried out with that determined precision. For example: it is advisable to think about what we need to do in our next squat set BEFORE we unrack the bar - not when we have already started the movement - as then it is already too late. Once the movement has been executed, we rely on an external source of feedback to tell us how far off or how close we were to being precise. This comes either in the form of a video, or a coach. Once we have received the feedback, it is our responsibility as a lifter to interpret and apply the given information. This is essential for performing the subsequent set with a new level of knowledge and understanding. This is an ever-repeating cycle of analysing, executing, receiving feedback, and application.

When we follow a precise approach, we develop continuity in our actions and ultimately in our results.

Mindless lifting is unproductive lifting.

As a piece of advice: do not enter any set in your workout without prior understanding of what you will focus on in the set.

Getting precise sharpens your mind and body. You will have a much better grasp of the intricacies of your training, and you will eventually learn a lot more about your lifts than when performing them for just the sake of performing them.

When you understand that things are meant to be done with precision, a whole new world of possibilites opens up for you. Least not because each of these possibilities aids you in your process of getting stronger.

And stronger is, as we know, what you want to be.

Isn't it?

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