What is being done/used?
Free weights? A parcticular machine or movement? Speciality barbell? Bodyweight exercise?
Why is it being done, what purpose might it serve?
Strength development, power development, muscle gain, conditioning, rehab? How does this exercise/technique/implement fit into my (or my client’s) training goals and long term development plan?
What context is it being done within?
Is this the primary exercise, is it a warmup, is this part of a reconditioning program after injury, or part of a bodybuilder’s program right before a competition? Do my what and why answers fit in this context? Why? Why not?
If I were to use this exercise in my program, does it really fit into the context surrounding my personal goals, development, etc? If not, can I make adaptations in the exercise to make it fit more cohesively with my personal context?
Who is doing it?
Are they older, younger, more or less experienced, are they an athlete with specific needs, an injured person, etc.
If the what, why, and context are taken care of we still need to make sure this all checks out for the person doing it. Sure the what might be a sub max effort barbell deadlift, and the why might be because this is in a powerlifting program, the context might be because it is intended to be part of peaking for a meet – BUT if we’re applying this program to the highschool basketball player recovering from an ACL injury this might not be the proper program for the WHO.
Can I do/use something that is just as effective but simpler?
We can get into the trap of more complicated = better. We can also fall into the trap of learning something new and using it ALL THE TIME. After all, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Maybe that squat didn’t need bands AND chains…maybe the same goals can be accomplished with just bands, or perhaps with just a simple barbell. I like to exhaust my simple and straight forward options FIRST before I over-complicate my or my client’s lives.