Adam Friedman Advanced Athletics Athlete For Life 5 tips to master any new exercise

5 tips to master any new exercise

In General by Adam Friedman

I know that performing any new exercise right is important to you. That’s why applying all of the nuances in terms of technique and execution should be top-of-mind when you’re working out. It’s what separates mediocrity from mastery.

With that said, I’ve seen what happens when someone tries to be flawless too soon. They attempt too many things, all at once, causing their brains to “short-circuit” — remembering one or two things, and forgetting about the others. Know that this is par for the course.  

For example, you aim to go lower in a front squat while forgetting to maintain a neutral spine. Or attempt a rotational hop, but neglect to keep your knees aligned with your toes.

It’s unrealistic to be 100%, 100% of the time…at anything. And this is especially true if you don’t have a mental checklist to follow for quality control. Especially as you incorporate new exercises in your routine.

That’s why I want to share some tips that I use to help my clients (and myself)  work towards mastery of an exercise.

Prepare – Plan Ahead for Each Exercise

Get clear on the purpose / value of the exercise at-hand. See how it will move you closer to your goal. This may sound obvious, but remember that as humans we are mimickers of many of the things we do. And that doesn’t equate to understanding or meaningful results.

But you can use this tendency to your advantage. Since it’s natural to mimic, make time to OBSERVE those who have “mastered” the exercise. Then visualize yourself performing the correct technique, over and over.

Grasp the concepts of what body parts you want to be moving and what parts you want to be stable. Understand where to generate the primary muscular forces from in the body.

And believe that you can enhance that in your mind with precision. It’s done through the act of mentally creating tension and relaxation in the body.


Execution – Take it one-rep-at-a-time

Mindfulness plays a massive role in mastery. So make use of all your sensory faculties.

A “Mental Checklist” should be playing on-loop in your brain of the areas that need most of your attention.

FEEL for what you should be noticing IN your body. Things like postural alignment, core stability, and proper breathing are fundamental examples.  As soon as there is  any deviation, adjust until it’s right again.

We all cheat…in the presence of fatigue

Be present to how your body strays from form during fatigue. If you resist the signs, it leads to no good.

So in the presence of fatigue, you must be aware of and quicker than your compensations in order to outsmart them.



Have a friend / partner observe you to provide feedback. And use video analysis to self-assess.


Maintain a Progressive Mindset – Building on Successes

The refinement of an exercise is a process of educating the nervous system.  It’s training your muscle recruitment patterns to translate into effective and efficient movement. So it becomes second nature.

That takes time. So once you grasp one nuance, maintain it while you work on another.

Do the best you can while enjoying the process.

I’ve made it easy for my members to learn the nuances with video and written instructions. It’s all right there in my online programs like the 30-Day Get Lean Challenge. Get yours.


With you in mind,