The Importance Of Prescribing An Exercise Based On The Individual

Recently I read a great article published by Dick Talens called “How Your Body Shape Affects Weight Lifting Form:  A Physics Lesson” and I thought it was worth discussing our approach at Principle Four Osteopathy with regards to adapting exercises for the person rather than trying to fit all people into the one exercise. 

At Principle Four Osteopathy we deal with a range of clients who exercise regularly, including: injured clients who are still exercising, clients who are exercising that have pre-existing injuries or clients who are not injured, but simply want to further develop and improve their movement and athletic potential.   When a client comes into Principle Four Osteopathy and we review their exercise training program, often I will ask them to demonstrate and explain why they are performing the particular exercises and with a particular technique.  More often than not, their answer is simply “this is how I have been shown”.  Now this is not a poor reflection on the health and fitness industry as there are so many exercises and variations, and often we need to select a particular exercise technique to perform and master before teaching variety.  The one thing that I think that we could do better in the health and fitness industry is to assess our clients better and therefore prescribe an exercise that suits the individual better and then teach them this way.  I also think it is important that we look to increase our clients movement capabilities and ability to cope with movement variation.  Therefore we will always take into consideration an individuals shape, size, injury history, movement abilities and goals when prescribing an exercise program at Principle Four Osteopathy.

At Principle Four Osteopathy we believe it is important to select an exercise or adapt an exercise to best suit the person rather than make them fit to only one specific exercise technique or approach.  We are very much into creating movement variation and widening our clients scope of movement function and will often adapt an exercise i.e. squat, deadlift or push up etc with different hand, feet, start, mid point, finish point, loading parameters etc so that they can increase their movement capacity.  When it comes to working towards the client building strength and power, we will also select an exercise that is safe for them to perform under load that will allow them to achieve their goals of developing strength and power whilst aiming to limit their exposure to risk of injury. 

If you would like to find out more about how we work at Principle Four Osteopathy or would like to book in for an appointment to see one of the osteopaths at our Melbourne City CBD or Melbourne Docklands clinic, please call 03 96709290 or email

This blog was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy who an an interest in strength and conditioning and exercise rehabilitation.

Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.

– See more at: