Accommodating for Injury – Means vs Methods

Accommodating for Injury – Means vs Methods

It’s not a matter of if but when regarding injuries. As allied health and fitness professionals, most of the time, we will be reacting to existing injuries with the occasional reinjury throughout the process.

I have found that a few clients and athletes focus more on the means of the rehabilitation process than the methods.

What do I mean by the “means” and “methods”?

Means – the exercise, implementation, or tool used to apply training/stimulus to an individual.

Methods – the technique or application of the means to the individual to attain a specific outcome.

When I first lay out the training or treatment of a client, I always work backwards for the goals and the primary stimulus we need to implement. Clients can sometimes misconstrue the process because they focus on the wrong part of the hierarchy.

    1. Goal – What are we looking to improve?
    2. Primary stimulus to attain the specific goal.
  • Method – what is the best method to attain the desired stimulus?
  • Means – what is the best means to implement the desired method?
  1. What means are available to the client based on their body, time, and experience?



    1. Goal – Bigger legs
    2. Primary Stimulus – Hypertropy
  • Method – Longer training sets focused on prolonged eccentric contractions to induce muscle damage and overall muscle development.
  • Means – squat, deadlift, lunge, step-up, belt squat, leg extension/curl, leg press, etc.
  1. Novice trainee with no barbell experience – complex barbell movements may not be a great starting point.

The same thought process can be applied to dealing with injuries as well. If you have a shoulder injury, overhead barbell exercises could create more damage than good.

Where the issue is where trainees give focus – they will typically prioritize the Means over the Methods. When this occurs, frustration is felt because they do not believe they will see progress without using specific exercises to attain their goals.

This is a crucial learning point to ensure that trainees understand that the specific exercise is less important than the overall purpose of how that exercise is being leveraged.


When working with trainees explaining the program is more important than the program itself. Ensure they know why they’re doing a particular exercise or why they are not doing another variation instead.

Do not put the Means before the Methods!

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Troy Wilson

Wilson Kinetic Health

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