There is a misunderstanding that the exercises we include in our fitness programs have to be fancy, awe-inspiring, acrobatic feats. In actuality the basics are always a good place to start and constantly return to.
It’s great that you can do a tuck jump burpee to a plyometric lunge, but is that necessary to achieve the fitness goals you want? Changing up some of the standard exercises, like the squat, deadlift, or lunge, to add variety and interest to your workout is great, if you have good form.
If you are struggling with some of the base exercises, you would be better served to work on your form first, before trying to replicate difficult physical manoeuvres. We all need a strong foundation before progressing.
Progressions can be a great tool, however, there is a big “but.”
Box jumps with an Olympic bar on your shoulders? Sure, but is it functional and is it safe? And are you ready to do that?
If you don’t own the foundational positions and exercises, with good form and mobility, you’re potentially setting the stage for an awe-inspiring injury, rather than an amazing TikTok.
Many instructors include interesting and varied exercises in their programming because it can be fun, challenging, and asks the body to move in ways it may not have been asked to before, creating an opportunity for progression and change. Instructors change programs when it becomes boring or stale, and when clients start to plateau.
Before you include the crazy burpee variation you saw on Instagram, it’s worth asking yourself why you want to do it. If you have a good why, the next step is asking if you can.
Do you have the basics required to progress? Certainly, in some cases you don’t know if you don’t try, but do your best to ensure your safety first, before pushing to do something you’re not ready to and hurting yourself. An injury just means it will take that much longer to get where you want to go.
Do what you can with what you have where you are, and always prioritize the positive.
Melissa Sloos is a certified group fitness instructor, spin instructor and co-owner at Coast Fitness in Powell River.