Hierarchy of Exercise Classification

Brandon Senn

Before you can put pen to paper to create an idealized plan you first need to know what exercises do. Many coaches and individuals have an opinion based on the experience they have but few have real evidence to support the application of the exercises they choose. The Kabuki Strength exercise classification system was created to establish a common language for what exercises do. The hierarchy of exercise classification lecture will teach you about force vectors and why we should start the examination of exercises with force first.

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Course Syllabus

Creating effective training plans begins with proper exercise selection. You can nail down every single variable and have the most complex periodized strategy but none of that will matter if you aren't doing the right exercises. In my experience, many trainees start the program building process by selecting exercises that target specific muscles. I think this is an important step in the process of creating the best training plan but it shouldn't be your starting point.

Knowing what muscles are working is very important but, understanding how force is applied to the body with external load is more important in the beginning stages of program development. Categorizing movements by force vector makes creating a common language about exercise efficacy much easier. Common language surrounding exercise allows for better questions to be asked and ultimately leads to less confusion.

Maximizing exercise transfer is the intent of all training plans. Strength improvements are force vector dependent (among other things). Categorization by force vector should be the starting point for the majority of training plans. Other factors to consider beyond force is time spent in relative joint angles, the impulse curve of a movement, range of motion, and the loading potential of a movement.

1.  Strength gains are force vector dependant
2.  Common language is necessary to ask the right questions
3.  The right exercise to choose depends on the question you ask
4.  Choosing the best exercises should consider force vectors, time spent in specific joint angles, impulse curve, range of motion, and potential for loading

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