Sunday, April 27, 2014

The importance of Proper Progression

On Thursday I posted THIS workout. It was an awesome workout, I felt great and got super duper sweaty. I rocked the box jumps & my pace for the running intervals was perfect for a good speed workout. If I had more time, I would have done a couple more rounds.


A couple days after that workout I felt it. Not only was I freakin’ sore all over, but my left IT band was hurting pretty bad, down by the knee. I had a long run scheduled for Saturday (as I always do) but it didn’t happen because I didn’t want to destroy my leg more than I had because of the Thursday workout.

I’ve been injury free for a long time & I’ve been pretty proud of that. I’m careful not to overtrain, I take my rest days, ice & foam roll when I can. But what happened this time was IMPROPER PROGRESSION!

As a personal trainer, I know how to progress a client through exercises – novice to advanced – and I have to make sure I don’t put too much on their plate before their bodies can handle it or before they are trained on how to perform a certain exercise. But, when it comes to myself, I think I’m excluded from that practice & believe myself to be a super human athlete & fail to progress myself as I should. And I forget that I’m getting old & I don’t have my 20 year old body anymore!!

I haven’t been doing box jumps lately at all. The most I’ve done in the past few months is an 18” jump. But then, out of the blue, I decided to throw in 6 rounds of 24” box jumps and the inevitable happened. Maybe if I had stretched better afterwards, or didn’t sit in a car for 2+ hours later that afternoon it would have helped, but I know better. I should have worked my way up to that kind of jumping. Plyometrics isn’t something you just ‘jump’ right into. I’m kicking myself for being so negligent with MY training. UGH.

I’ve been trying be more responsible for my body since then, by not running my long run on Saturday, foam rolling, ibuprophen, ice, etc. Hopefully things will look up tomorrow. My half marathon training started last week & what a disappointment to already be injured. I love cross training, but hate when I don’t take better care of how I progress with it.

Let this be a lesson to you all! Proper progression is soooo important. Not only with box jumps or plyometrics, but with any kind of physical activity.

  • Running – you can’t (well, most can’t) just lace up some shoes & run 10 miles after being on the couch for a year. It takes a few months of walking and running to progress to a steady state of running. And a few months more to get to an easy 10.
  • Yoga – I’m no expert in yoga, but from experience I know you can just bust out the crazy poses on your first day. That will really hurt! It takes practice & starting with the basic, simple poses first.
  • Lifting – there’s no way to start lifting like an Olympic weightlifter on your first day or even your first month. There are techniques you need to learn & muscles you have to improve before you can progress to that kind of state.

There’s more, lots more. But you get the idea.

Now for a rant. What I really don’t like about the Biggest Loser is that, to the untrained eye, people that watch the show think that the obese contestants are running miles at a time & lifting insane amounts, or completing crazy HIIT workouts during their first week. The cameras & cinematography definitely make it seem like that.

But if you really watch & consider how it works, there is no way the trainers could do that to the contestants. They would be in the hospital after the first hour! What they show on camera is the 5 seconds that the contestants run at a 5 mph pace, throw in some intense music, barfing & gagging, & their sweaty, out-of-shape bodies & it looks like they are already running a marathon. (I don’t know all the facts, but that is what I’m assuming…from personal experience). They have to progress, starting with the basic of the basics, just as everyone else that is starting out. There’s no way their bodies could handle anything more.

Anyway, just remember you aren’t superman (or superwomen…ahem, Kiley!). Our bodies are amazing & pretty tough, but to avoid injuries we definitely need to focus on proper progression [along THESE recovery strategies]. Basic to Advanced, Novice to Expert. It takes time, but the results are worth it!


  1. ugh sorry your IT band isn't happy, sounds like pretty much how I usually get injured... I still can't get over the fact that I am not really a Superwoman, I do really find as I inch towards ... gasp... 40 I have to take more time to recover than I used to. I am loving how yoga has helped with that this year. Hope you are back to your long runs soon and me too for that matter, after all a girl's gotta run!

  2. Great post:) Being in the fitness industry, we sometimes think we should be able to do whatever whenever;) I have to remind myself that our bodies need to be taken care of:) Hard to do for sure! Hope your IT Band feels better soon. I don't think I can watch Biggest Loser anymore after what happened last season. Plus my favorite part was the challenges and it seems it's more about emotions/feelings than workouts and challenges nowadays.


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