Varied, Not Random

Variation is not an invitation to haphazardly throw together training elements.
Gabriel Rusher
June 1, 2022
Varied, Not Random

The goal of any balanced fitness program is to improve health and performance. In order to meet that goal, it is important to introduce a broad range of stimuli. This can be altered through exercise selection, the number of repetitions, the length of time working versus resting, and just about any other factor you can think of. This changing of variables is aptly known as variation, which is an important part of the training process. Its benefits include:

Improved performance. It is important to do something consistently in order to get better at it. However, if a person performs the same exercise, volume, and/or intensity repeatedly, their body will over time develop adaptive resistance. This means that the body is so familiar with the physical demands being placed upon it that further improvement is not possible without some sort of change.

Reduced risk of injury. Adaptive resistance can quickly lead to injury. Like a river that gradually carves through stone over time, prolonged exposure to the same workout routine can cause excess wear and tear on the associated muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

More fun! While variation improves performance and reduces the risk of injury, let’s face it, it just makes fitness more fun! And if it’s fun, you’re more likely to do it. 

Variation is necessary in creating an effective exercise program. However, variation is not random, and it is not an invitation to haphazardly throw together training elements without any consideration as to how they fit together in the bigger picture. Doing so can result in doubling down on certain movement patterns while missing out on others, which can lead to overuse and injury. Excessive variation can also obstruct performance. Time needs to be spent adapting to and progressing a movement before moving on to the next. 

That is why at WCFM we like to use block training. We pick a handful of strength exercises to progress for six to eight weeks, then we do it again with some different exercises. Then we use our conditioning to introduce even more variation. It’s effective and fun! 

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