Very often when we try to do an exercise, a movement or a task; we’ll find that we are unable to do it at the required intensity.
This might be a strength exercise, a rehabilitation exercise or even just getting out for a run or walk.
But if we can’t do it at the intensity or level we think we should, very often we’ll walk away and not do anything. Possibly to come back another time when things might have settled or improved.
The problem here is that when we are not asking questions of the body, it will continue to lose strength, coordination and recruitment.
What we need to be able to do is to be able to Regress To Progress.
Any task that you might have to do is there to:
- Activate the nervous system
- Recruit muscles
- Drive blood flow
- Mobilise the joints
- Create skill or coordination
- Drive conditioning
Depending on what the weakness is, there is always something we can do. We just need to be able to scale the task up or down in order to make it appropriate to what is required.
There are fantastic examples of paralysed patients who have been tasked with “thinking” about movements or completing them through virtual reality system.
But let’s use an example, let’s say you can’t do a full Bench Press with a 20kg Olympic Barbell.
Rather than keep banging our head against a brick wall until you can, we can walk this task back through regression to find an appropriate level.
- Train the Eccentric (lowering) part of the movement, having a partner assist with the Concentric (pushing) part.
- Bench Press a lighter bar, broom handle or no weight
- Bench Press across a reduced range of motion
- Keep the bar in the rack and push an Isometric force against it with no change in joint position
- Use light dumbbells instead of a Barbell
- Do Press Ups or Box Press Ups
- Do a Wall Push Up at the appropriate intensity
- Do an Isometric Wall Plank in the Press Up position
We have walked the exercise all the way down to a light intensity but we have kept asking the question of the body to perform the task.
We now have an entry level that we can progress from.
From there we can vary time, reps, sets and progress to where we need to be.
If you find you have a task you can’t perform, break it down to the bare bones and ask “What is actually required from my body?”.
Scale it back and you’ll be started and progressing before you know it.