Today I observed a guy at the gym that clearly had no idea what he was doing, and he wasn’t even a trainer!
Newbies in most gyms across the country this time of year are not a unique thing, but it isn’t something I see in a place filled with Olympic lifters, or those with the desire to learn the Olympic lifts from a highly qualified coach.
I have no problems with new people in the gym. I’m the type of guy that offers help and free advice. I just look like a bastard.
When a person sits on an incline bench press seat backwards and tries to figure out how to bench press, I can safely guess they’ve never used it before. After a quick correction on my part (You need to turn the other way) I went about my warm up. I had no idea the guy followed me until I heard “Oh so that’s how you use that thing!”
This brings me to todays blog.
Training is defined by the needs of the individual athlete. My answer was short. “It’s how I use it, I am warming up for the work I’m about to do and taking care of my shoulder joints.” The gentleman literally followed me to every station during my session today. I made a point of telling him that I wouldn’t recommend anything I was doing as automatically suitable for him.
My session on 12.30.17 Shoulder Warm Up complex: ShouldeRok swings (30 R/L) then two sets of Face Pulls (40lbs 15 reps) superset with Rope Tricep Presses (40lbs 15 reps)
Wide Grip Bench Press (70% 1RM) I’ve started working with an AAU powerlifting coach and he suggested my using a wide grip. Today was 10 sets of 3 with a pause at a higher position on my chest to practice his suggestion. Rest time between sets was roughly 30 secs and 15 band pull-parts were super-set.
Close Grip Bench Press (50% 1RM against Mini and Monster Mini bands attached) 5 sets of 5 for speed and tricep work. Band Bench Presses are not something I use with lifters with poor technique or beginners. The overspeed eccentric action created by the bands presents a series of challenges to overcome. Rest time was also around 30 secs between sets.
Standing Bradford Press 3×10 with descending loads each set. The ability to put a load behind the head is limited to a small population of people, and the need even less. This lift has a high risk to benefit ratio and not something I program longer than three weeks before switching out. Todays heaviest loading represented only 60% of what I am capable of performing in the strict overhead press.
Seated Row 4×10-15 with Neutral Grip handle. Nothing too sexy here.
Neutral Grip Hanging Knee Raises 1×20. Definitely nothing sexy here.
Fat Grip Hanging Knee Raises 1×20, for fun I followed the second set of Hanging Knee Raises with a set of Bodyweight Tricep Dips “one rep from failure”
Since I was being observed, I am actually glad that today didn’t involve kettlebells.
What works for you may or may not work for another person. The gentleman could easily injure himself if he attempted to duplicate my session, even if loads were adjusted for our different strength levels and not recognizing the twenty-year age difference.
LOAD > CAPACITY = INJURY
LOAD < CAPACITY = REHAB
CAPACITY >>LOAD = PREVENTION (Credit: Functional Anatomy Seminars)
Use training principles to guide you. When it comes to training there a countless methods and tools to pull from, many claiming to be superior, or game changing.
Superior to what? Game changing compared to what? for whom? under what conditions or set of circumstances?
Too many people get overly attached, and outright emotional when it comes to specific training methods or tools. It’s nearly religion, or in some cases part of a cult mindset.
Training principles are relatively few, and if well understood they apply broadly.
Precision. “How can this be made better?” is a constant question in my head. This applies to my own work and the training I provide to others. Am I coaching this/ Are they performing it to the best that we can? Is this better than before?
Progressions and Regressions, Form,Style and Technique. While I like the handiness of exercise technique videos, I believe they should not be completely relied on. It is my opinion that once you’ve absorbed the visual information, the exercise technique,form and style need be defined by the individuals ability.
To absorb only the visual information provided by a video is to learn only the most superficial level of things.
Training exists on a continuum. We do not all start at the same point, nor do we end at the same point. Further, we do not share the same segmental proportions, force output capabilities, joint ranges, connective tissue tolerances,physical self-confidence,medical/injury history or the numerous other things that affect how we respond to an exercise…and thats not even mentioning goals,age or gender.