The Truth behind “Variation” in Exercise

December 27, 2016 – 6:32 am

Variation is a highly coveted belief in most fitness approaches. It espouses that the more that you change the exercises you perform - the less likely that you’ll be injured, the more physique results you receive, and (magically) the more “functional” you’ll become. Unfortunately, practicing variation, as it is currently applied, is like throwing an entire pot of cooked spaghetti against the wall to find out which will stick. Doing so makes a mess, spoils the meal, doesn’t guarantee success, and can’t teach you how to be more successful in the future. Your only prayer is to keep randomly selecting your exercises from a card deck or a dice roll.

Variation, as a method, was aimed at preventing the over-use of one exercise leading to the diminishing returns, pain and eventual injury of over-training. By changing the exercise, you avoid that problem of over-using the exercise. But, this is also the most random approach to functional performance you can take. If you understood exactly WHY you must change the exercise, you could do something very deliberate and calculated which would give you greater physique and performance benefits, increase your resistance to injuries and pain, and always keep you close to functional balance.

Exercise Variation assumes that you aren’t over-using particular movements in non-exercise activities. Almost all people are overusing the act of sitting, so they’re chair-shaped. Very few people “vary” that activity. The most amount of over-use injuries in the world currently are sitting-related. Your daily activities are performed considerably more often than your exercise, so you should avoid over-using them. But how? Variation?

What you’re really intending with variation, but unable to do, is to put yourself back in functional balance. You can’t avoid over-use in most cases, but you can fix it by specifically (not randomly) course-correcting your movement. If you do a lot of “this” thing, follow that by doing “that” opposite thing. Since your body is symmetrical, that means you must do the functional opposite of the movement you’ve over-used.

What variation aspires to be, what people actually want from variation when they apply it, is a principle I named “Compensation” which derives from kinesiology: when one tissue is compensated (meaning, that the tissue is weak and/or tight), there are a series of other tissues which are compensating for its weakness/tightness. When you perform one action, compensate for it by performing the opposite movement… and you return quickly to functional balance, but stronger than before.

The only reason that the fitness industry and exercise science in general hasn’t embraced Compensation yet, is similar to why they resisted originally Mobility when I first popularized mobility in the 1990s: there’s still an obsolete method of evaluating movement.

Movement is still either viewed as a collection of actions (skills), or as a passage through three planes (trajectories). The Circular Strength Training® (CST) System prepares fitness and exercise professionals for evaluating quality of movement by degrees of freedom in ANY activity, and therefore, can tell you precisely how to compensate for the movements you’re repeatedly performing. CST can design you the perfectly customized workout for your lifestyle at any point in time. As a result, CST prevents pains and injuries, keeps you from hitting diminishing returns and plateaus in performance, and continually strengthens your functional balance.

To date, there are no other systems that can teach you Compensatory Movement, so find a CST qualified professional or get a CST program from RMAX International, so that you can avoid randomly throwing your workouts against the wall like a crap shoot hoping for a lucky roll.

Very Respectfully,

Scott B. Sonnon

CST and TACFIT Creator

TACFIT26: The Tactical Fitness Personal Gym System

You must be logged in to post a comment.