I have been thinking a lot lately about “exercises progression”. In the human world, we know that we can’t go to the gym and do the same amount of repetitions with the same weight every time and improve over all strength and body composition. We know that number of repetitions and/or the amount of weight needs to increase to reach your strength or muscles definition goals. The same rules apply to our canine athletes.
There needs to be a progression to keep challenging a dog’s muscles. For instance, if you train your dog a folding down on the flat or on an aerobic bench, it teaches the dog to engage their core, hips and rear legs in the movement, which improves body awareness, strength and coordination. Where as if the dog sits then moves to a down, they are really relying only on their shoulders.
Now if you were to ask the same dog who now understands how to do a fold down to do it with front feet elevated on a phone book or low stool, then it helps shift more weight to the dogs rear and core muscle group.
Some scenarios might include:
Down to stand with front feet on a FitPAWS balance disc
Down to stand on a FitPAWS wobble board
Down to stand on a FitPAWS peanut
Down to stand while moving up or down a row of peanuts.
Down to stand with a board on two Canine Gym Fitbones
You get the idea.
Progression of exercises will help build muscle, coordination, balance and keep your dog mentally and physically challenged. When training new exercises or even old ones with your dog, be aware of what the progression of that exercise might be, have fun with it and make sure your dog is benefiting by focusing on body position.
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT