To Variate, or Not to Variate

Mardi Gras 2Today began with a pretty attempt to evade & escape an ugly hangover. Sometimes work schedules get in the way of birthday schedules, and for some friends, you get together when & as soon as you can . . . and make sure everyone has their own Aveda Blue Oil, which just happens to be the absolute best way to both drink AND wake like a champ . . . because no one wants to do either like a chump.

Following some breakfast & coffee, and ascertaining that the Blue Oil did once again work flawlessly, it was time to burn off some of last night’s excess calories, and take another sneak peak at what these muscles could look like with a little more effort and a few less birthday celebrations.

The workout, translated into text, looked a lot like this:

  • Set1- 10 reps, Set 2- 11 reps . . . Set 6- 15 reps, sometimes called a progressive rep ladder and this particular one furnishes us with a total of 75 reps on each exercise
    • Swings
    • Jump Rope
    • KB Clean to Front Squats

So, we begin with 10 Kettlebell Swings, then 10 jumps of the rope, and 1 KB Clean & 5 Front Squats (each side) as our first set. Each subsequent set adds one rep . . . which could be challenging when we get to odd numbers on the KB Clean to Front Squat, but simply, we have two choices: alternate which side does the odd numbered reps, or always do the additional odd rep with your sub-dominant side. Additionally, any missed rep (which, if anywhere, would likely happen while jumping rope) results in a reset of counting . . . so if in the 4th set you trip after the 12th of 13 rope jumps, you start all over until the total number is performed unbroken & untripped. Extra incentive to do all right the first time.

We went with this workout because of its simplicity & basicalness. Going from KB Swings to jumping rope, then to Cleaning the KB for a series of Front Squats has some serious rest periods built in. Try this sequence and you will see what we mean.

Variation does not have to mean that we totally & thoroughly swap the exercises in our workout each time. By form, function & feeling we will quickly learn that beginning with a KB Clean to Front Squats, then moving to KB Swings and wrapping the set with jumping rope is a very different sensation than our initial workout. The same muscles are being worked, the same movements are being practiced, but the sensation after each will be noticeably different.

When some people add variation to their workouts they forget that the muscles worked during our last workout have been taxed, taken rest, and are ready to roll again. Whether we progress through our movements to hone our skills, or to develop strength in certain muscles, follow-up is just as important as our first date with a certain grouping of exercises & movements.

Likewise, when some decide to bash the idea of variation in the pursuit of strength or endurance, they forget that Variation & should be fully controlled and maximized to our advantage.

Whether working towards a goal, or working towards adding symmetry to our strength & movement, keep in mind that Variety is not the Wild West mentality of anything goes. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our exercises & movements, the best approach is often an internal re-working of an existing plan or scheme. Add excellence to your routine & results through variation, but keep a clamp on the cheez-whiz.

~Lee

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