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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Laws Governing Exercise Selection

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: "Laws" Governing Exercise Selection

What are the "laws" that govern our exercise selection? A routine is only as good as the exercises chosen, but it seems most of us base our exercise selection on a loose set of facts and opinions. What is it that makes one exercise better than another, or more appropriate for a given situation?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on July 28th, 2010

Gabriel Martinez, July 28, 2010 at 10:38am: I usually ask if its right for the goal, the capabilities of the person and does it help to address or work around common imbalances in the person. For example working outer glutes with side leg raises as opposed an inner thigh exercise when you need an active rest exercise for a super set involving someone with tight abductors and weak abductors. For myself I tend be more intuitive in my selection.

Kyle Stull, July 28, 2010 at 10:42am: I would say many people in our industry have become a touch lazy and begin to give the client what they want versus what they need. Exercise selection should be chosen based on transitional movement assessments and the goals of each client. Each exercise should have a specific purpose; to illicit an adaptation which will help the client be better off tomorrow than they are today.

Rich Fahmy, July 28, 2010 at 10:45am: I usually try to balance and maximize both the risk/benefit of the motion with what they enjoy doing. The sweet spots are exercises that benefit their goals, kinetic chain, etc AND are fun to do.

Derrick Price, July 28, 2010 at 2:25pm: The principle of specificity is one law…

Larry Husted, July 28, 2010 at 3:36pm: Gravity…

Brent Brookbush, July 28, 2010 at 7:33pm: Hey Larry,

Although I think gravity is the load for most exercise, how does this affect your exercise selection? For example," the amount of resistance applied by gravity to an exercise selection determines the resistance added by other modalities…"

Brent Brookbush July 28, 2010 at 7:40pm: So to summarize up to this point.

1. The exercise must result in a reward for effort, that outweighs the risks imposed by the exercise (Rich Fahmy).

2. The exercise selection must be specific to the goals of the client (DP).

3. Exercise selection should be based on comprehensive assessment (Kyle Stull).

4. The overall selection of exercises should be enjoyable for the participant (Rich Fahmy).

5. Exercise selection should address muscular imbalance (G. Martinez).


Derrick Price, July 28, 2010 at 9:03pm: Going along with Larry, the type of force (gravity, ground reaction, rotational, momentum etc). If a person has trouble handling a type of force, then the exercise selected can be modified to accommodate the client.

Brent Brookbush, Nice DP,

Accommodating force is definitely important. An understanding of the basic forces that are applied to the body is important.

Larry Husted, July 29, 2010 at 1:24am Brent, gravity dictates all exercise selection. Could you even imagine training without its influence?

Brent Brookbush, July 29, 2010 at 12:18pm: I understand that gravity dictates all exercise selection, but trainers reading these posts want to know how. Can you give me a couple of specific examples? Maybe a story, or situation you have recently encountered that illustrates your point.

Mike Fantigrassi, July 31, 2010 at 12:47am:


This would be my rational:

A) What is the response we are trying to elicit: corrective work, hypertrophy, power, etc.

B) Is the client able to perform the exercise, and is it at the appropriate level.

C) How much “bang for the buck” to you get from the exercise.

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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