The Why

Why is a certain exercise part of your program?

By extension, how does that exercise contribute towards the clients’ goals or address a client need? Granted, this presupposes the trainer actually does program and doesn’t wing it during every session.

I read an article the other day where one of the interviewees stated that in his gym his trainers police each other. When a trainer spots another trainer making questionable exercise choices with their client they can come up to the trainer and whisper “Why?”

The questioned trainer is now required to explain the exercise selection to their peer.

Let that sink in for a second.

For the questioned trainer, one of several things comes to light.

(1) A trainer noticed you doing something potentially odd, therefore other people in the gym likely noticed it.

(2) Too many “Why?” Questions can’t possibly be a good thing.

It is my opinion that every exercise in a program must be there for a reason and be the most logical choice according to the clients’ goals, needs and capabilities.

There would be no reason for me to program accommodated resistance band dead lifts if the client hasn’t reached a decent dead lift number.

There would be little, if any reason for me to use a kettlebell if a barbell or dumbbell would do a better job.

There would be no reason for me to program plyometrics if the action does not support the goal or if the action is beyond the clients’ physical capabilities.

For the question asker, if you’re going to ask why you better come correct. I seriously consider that there may indeed be good reason “why” a certain exercise is performed by a client realizing that I am not that persons trainer, therefore do not know what their goal is or any medical/movement issues they may have.

Being ill-prepared when questioning other trainers’ methods can be awkward or socially embarrassing. I would know, I’ve been questioned “Why?” myself and it didn’t turn out very well for the question askers. (Yes, there were two of them. Between the two of them they made a passable trainer.)

Although I did provide a logical answer, I think I actually made things more difficult to understand.

Some trainers will gladly tell you their reasons, others will take offense and say its none of your business. I believe it comes down to the trainers’ character, confidence and knowledge.

For the trainers that do answer the why question you may get more of an answer than you bargained for,

A “Why?” moment that has been brought up several times here on MyTrainerChris is the now famous “Make an old lady plyo hop onto a step” exercise. Quite frankly there is NO answer the trainer could have given me that I would have found reasonable.

More recently, “Why” would you perform hip thrusts on the laying hamstring curl machine and in the same workout perform laying hamstring curls with a resistance band on you ankles?

My half answer is the hip thrust being performed on the laying hamstring curl machine would be more comfortable for the user due to the big pad. If anything, using the same machine for both purposes would be a more efficient use of time.

Take a critical and honest look at your programming and ask “Why?”


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