Improvisation and Adaptation in Your Workout

Adapting and Improvising Your Workouts

The ability to improvise and adapt is one of the strongest traits associated with humans. It doesn’t come intuitively to all, but generally speaking, we as humans, seem to have this ability down to a science, so to speak.

We’ve heard many tales of people overcoming insurmountable odds and enduring the harshest of conditions, just to conquer whatever obstacles lay before them. The ability to adapt, overcome, and improvise, isn’t solely limited to dramatic near death scenarios. The achievement of success in our everyday lives depends upon our ability to employ those traits as well. Take working out, for example. What do you do if your workouts are going well, your diet is on track, and all of a sudden, you find yourself thrown into the juxtapose of a vacation or a business trip? Do you just take the time off and eat whatever is plentiful and convenient? Of course not. Continued success and goal achievement in the health and fitness world only comes with consistency. To slack off with the justification that you’re now in a foreign environment and devoid of your routines and usual comforts will set you back physically as well as mentally, and could be a tough, if not an insurmountable loss of momentum for some, especially those who are new to fitness.

Some of the best workouts can be dreamed up in the most seemingly unlikeliest of places. For example, if today is arm day and you’re on vacation in a cabin out in the woods, find a tree and a rock, and you’ll have found your gym for the day. Close grip pushups against the tree, the rock, or the ground, will engage your triceps to varying degrees. Pullups on a low lying branch or curling fallen branches or an appropriately sized rock will work the biceps. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Other times we may have to work around an injury. This is always better than taking time off, as the rest of your body won’t have to suffer a regression. The trick in this scenario is to strengthen not just the rest of your body, but the surrounding muscles to the injured area thus providing the necessary support for successful recovery therapy.

Another time improvisation behooves you, is when the equipment you’ve come to rely on for your workouts is not available. There’s a long standing debate in gyms all across America about people doing arm curls in the squat rack. Some say that it should solely used for squatting, but that sentiment and thought process is without merit to me. While I agree to the extent that if one can accomplish his or her workout in a different apparatus, they should yield to the one who cannot. That’s simply common courtesy, but there are certainly situations when the use of a piece of equipment for a different exercise is every bit as valid as it’s traditional usage. Leg extensions, for example, are traditionally done on a seated leg extension machine with the user seated, facing forward, and extending their legs below the knees by pushing a padded bar forwards with their lower legs, and then resisting it’s gravity fueled descent. Long ago, I realized that with a certain leg extension machine in my gym, I could work my hamstring muscles more directly and efficiently by standing in the machine, facing the opposite way, and doing single legged hamstring curls without all of the gluteal muscle involvement that is associated with most traditional listing hamstring curl machines.

As a long time Austin personal trainer, thinking outside the box has become the norm for me out of necessity. There are many ways one can do bicep curls, for example, and they’re all not very obvious, so looking around and using my imagination has proven to be very beneficial for me, as well as my clients. Doing things in a sometimes unconventional manner, so long as it’s safe, appropriate for the client, and beneficial, has paid dividends not because the client isn’t bored from doing the same old standing barbell curl, no matter that I’ve changed up repetitions and weight in order to alter the parameters and effectiveness, but also because our using a seated cable row machine while laying flat with arms at the sides, stimulates hypertrophy in different ways than the standing barbell curl as it hits the biceps from a different angle and also requires different stabilization from within the muscle group itself. As long as you’re healthy and structurally sound, your workouts are only limited by your imagination.

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Complete Fitness Design
Complete Fitness Design
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin, TX 78748

About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270