The Law of Repeated Exposures

The front squat

This past week, I had a ton of workouts to write.  Not only were IFAST members ready for new programs, but I also got the first batch written for my Haiti online training clients.

As I was writing them, I got to thinking about how my programming has changed over the years.  Coming from a powerlifting/sport performance background, I think I often felt that people need 3-4 different “workouts” every week.  If I did anything less, it was only because I was lazy or didn’t want to write out more training days!

For intermediate and advanced lifters, you absolutely need different training days.  Not only do they need more variety from a psychological perspective, but they adapt more quickly to any kind of program you throw their way as well.

For many people, though, they need to adhere to the law of repeated exposures.

(I’m not even really sure if this is a law or not, but hey, this is my blog so I’m making it a law today!)

A lot of my online and beginning clients don’t need 3-4 specialized training days; instead, what they need are repeated exposures to exercises that are going to clean up their posture, movement and efficiency.

They need to learn how to stabilize their core and lumbar spine.

They need dedicated strengthening work for little guys like the rotator cuff, scapulae and hip stabilizers.

They need some work to loosen up their hip flexors.  Sometimes it’s the tensor fascia latae (TFL), sometimes it’s the recuts femoris, and sometimes it’s the psoas.  But almost everyone needs some sort of dedicated flexibility work for the anterior hip.

So not only do they need these physical qualities, but they need to be exposed to them frequently.  In this case, an A-B workout split works quite well – if I know they need a lot of work on these basic movements, why would I give them something else?  Simply for novelty?

When you’re writing your next program, think about how much variety you really need to get results.  If you’re a beginner or low-level intermediate, I’d put cash money on the fact that you’d benefit from adhering to the law of repeated exposures.

Stay strong

MR

PS For what it’s worth, this rule applies regardless of your goals.  Whether your focus is on posture/alignment, strength, fat loss, whatever.  Basic work on basic movements can do a ton for you.

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  1. I once sued the law of repeated exposures to gain 60lbs on my deadlift and 30 on my bp in 4 weeks. Doing a bp and deadlift variation over varying rep ranges not to failure improved my performance to record highs on a number of accessory exercises as well.
    On a related note, I recently posted this question on another site and got some good feedback, but nobody was really able to answer the question.
    You mention the law of repeated efforts using exercise that target the scapulae and external rotatorss for helping improve posture. I’m curious as to what set/rep scheme you would use to get this up to snuff. I ask this b/c I don’t see 3 sets a couple times a week leading to the gains I need to bring those muscles into balance.
    Would working the shoulder with prehab type exercises through varying set/rep schemes 4-5x per week be a good idea or would that be overkill seeing as how the scapulae, teres minor, infraspinatus etc. are such small muscles?

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