One Size Fits All Does Not Work For Fitness

Apr 1, 2022

 by Josh Elsesser

When it comes to feeling your best, things like clothing and food portions aren’t labeled as “one-size-fits-all”, so why should fitness be any different?

In a world where fitness is now just a click of a button away on the internet…..

Online Training Programs and Follow Along Workouts have been clogging up our feeds within the past year.

Which could be seen as a “good” thing in terms of convenience and consistency, but also a very “bad” thing when it comes to injury and training longevity.

Based on the exercise selection and lack of variation/alternatives that I’ve seen out there, one of the biggest problems I’ve found with many of these types of programs is that the instructor/trainer is completely unaware of who their audience may be on the other end of the screen. (Ex: 25 Push-Up Challenge) This shows me that there is an apparent lack of REAL WORLD coaching experience.

Now, the average person watching these videos may think that the BEST way to squat is with a barbell on their back, or that ONLY pushing a barbell over their head is the way to get the results they are looking for, simply because the influencer on Instagram or Youtube told them so.

As much as these exercises can be effective in getting stronger and more fit; It may not be the BEST exercise variation for that particular person when it comes to training longevity.

We are ALL Different

• Different Lifestyles

• Different Structures

• Different Pasts

• Different Goals

• Different Fitness Levels


Regardless of any of these issues, I DO believe everyBODY should be moving regularly and training in the following movement patterns on a weekly basis.

Push (Upper Body Horizontal/Vertical)
Pull (Upper Body Horizontal/Vertical)
Squat (Knee Dominant)
Hip Hinge (Hip Dominant)
Lunge (aka Asymmetrical Single Leg Stance)
Carry (aka Locomotion)


But, I also do NOT think everybody should be using the SAME variations per one of these patterns. That is where the beauty of SMART TRAINING techniques and standing out as a credible coach really shines. So let me help.

Imagine this… You have a big night ahead and you want to feel and look your best.

You decide to hit the mall to grab the newest pair of Reebok Pumps or Air Jordans. The excitement is building as you walk into the store keeping your eyes peeled for those size 11s.

You find the New Releases, but all they have left is a Size 14 in the Pumps and a Size 9 in the Air Jordans.

Now What??

Do you go bigger and look ridiculous OR do you try to squeeze into those tiny Air Jordans and be in agony all night? I would say it’s time to either try a different sneaker or a different store in order to find the pair that will both look and feel how they are supposed to.

It doesn’t matter if you’re training in person, in a group, or even virtual.

Working out should NOT only be to work up a good sweat, but also in terms of longevity, becoming an overall better and stronger version of yourself.


Here are my TOP 2 boxes I like to check when finding the best exercise selection or variation for someone when it comes to programming these patterns.

1️⃣ How Does it Look?

As the coach, we see people move for hours upon hours each week, we should have a pretty good idea if something looks good or not.
The exercise chosen for the client should be the variation of the movement pattern that can be performed with the most pristine form.


2️⃣ How Does it Feel?

As the client, this is where the communication factor is of the utmost importance. If the exercise is causing unwanted pain, we coaches need to know that in order to adjust the exercise itself, or the way it is being performed.


Once we can ✅ both boxes, we can continue to build off that specific variation with heavier loads using the same 2 principles.

This method will give us plenty of progression space while at the same time keeping the client as pain-free as possible through load.


The Invictus Method does a fantastic job with its pyramids for each Movement Pattern, showing both variations and also alternative exercises based on a person’s needs.

Now with gyms coming back into full swing, these same methods should not only be applied to your one-on-one clients but more importantly implemented in group settings, as they are in the Invictus GPT program.

Once you learn the benefits of these different variations and alternatives, you can use them as the foundation of a specific exercise in order to guarantee overall success on your fitness journey.