As much as I personally love to Bench Press, not everyone I coach does it, at least with a barbell.) For those that I do teach the Bench Press, I divide them into two broad categories: (1) Competitive lifters and (2) Non-Competitive lifters. This creates new rules and expectations. Then there is the matter of how I teach it. People learn differently, and I want to use the method(s) best suited to the individual in front of me.
Not everyone I teach Deadlifts a barbell off the floor, although all hinge to some degree or another.
Not everyone will have a Barbell placed on their back, or put one overhead.
Certain criterion have to be met before I decide if any exercise is a good idea or not. This is an on-going process, and one of the reasons why every session,exercise and repetition serves as an assessment.
“A.I Mulchin’s (1978) analysis of body dimensions revealed the great disparity between a lifter’s maximum and minimum anthropometric indices in all weight classes. Within the confine of one weight class, one can find athletes of unequal height and and in another, athletes who are of the same height, but have difference leg,arm and torso lengths, width of shoulders and bodyweight.
….. The data shows that the taller the weightlifter of any body type, the greater relative length of the torso and the shorter relative length of the extremities. With respect to this, athletes who are of different body structure have different technique parameters in the different periods of the classic exercises.”
Managing the Training of Weightlifts, N.P. Laputin and V.G. Oleshko
Digest version: Not everyone lifts the same. The technique may appear quite similar, but there will always be individual differences in each person, even among the highly skilled. Not only that, but not everyone responds to the same exercise the same way. I believe that athletes of higher skill are more consistent, and better compensators.
Personal Trainers. Please contact me it you’re going to tell me that all your clients exercises are performed exactly the same way. I would love to know how you accomplish this feat.
A quick glance at these hips indicates that the previous owners squatted differently. This doesn’t include the other involved parts of a squat. Femur length for example, plays a big role in a squats external view. What are the odds of getting clients with identical joint structures?
Not only that, but if such marked external individual differences were noted among top Russian athletes in a given sport and weight class, how can I believe there would not be such differences in non-athletes?
FACT: You cannot make the assumption that high performers, or even people that “look fit” (whatever that means) are showing up with high performing joint structures.
Two ladies of the same height (and likely same weight class) Left Lady: Longer Torso, Shorter Femurs. Right Lady: Shorter Torso, Longer Femurs. Do you think some of their exercises will differ in appearance? (Credit: Bret Contreras)
I propose that dedicated personal trainers take an objective-driven way of thinking instead of memorizing the broad strokes of an exercise.
I believe that a systems based approach, where you view the external along with considering the internal actions of a given movement on a individual basis to be a better way of looking at things and how you pursue exercise selections and progressions.
We tend to focus on the external factors, and we can very good it as it can be easier to measure. I’m not taking away from its importance, but our job as fitness professionals is to bring up the external and internal capabilities of the athlete.