I’ve been seeing quite a few trainers do a lot of questionable things recently and it has me wondering, “What the hell are you doing?!” Considering I’ve only been a strength coach for two years, I’ve progressed fairly quickly in terms of gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to make an impact. Much of that can be attributed to having great mentors, and I was very fortunate to have worked with like-minded individuals when I started at 24 Hour Fitness.
24 Hour Fitness – Bishop St. Honolulu, HI
While other coaches and trainers may not have had the same opportunities, that doesn’t negate the fact that they should take the time to continually improve as a fitness professional — or as I like to put it, sharpening the sword. I cringe every time I see a coach or trainer putting their clients through ridiculous workouts. I’m not one to criticize, but you’re doing a disservice to your clients if all you’re trying to do is impress them. Educating them should be the number one priority, period. Below are two stupid things coaches do.
1. Plyometric Conditioning
Movements that require a high amount of force production should be taken lightly when it comes to conditioning work. Treating box jumps as a means for improving endurance is asinine. I’ve said this time and time again, the purpose of plyometric work is to learn how to generate force — but more so, how to absorb it. Taking your clients and having them repetitively do rebounding box jumps in a circuit fashion defeats the purpose. Training should yield some positive results. I can stand right in front of you and tell you to give me 20 burpees and 20 box jumps for three rounds, but the only thing you will have gotten in return is a “workout.”
The goal of implementing conditioning work is to elevate your heart rate, and improve both muscular and cardiovascular endurance. There are types of movements that don’t require a lot of coordination and those are the ones you can have your clients grind through. Incorporating prowler/plate pushes, medicine ball stomps, battle ropes and kettlebell variations are much better choices than the former.
2. Lack of Assessment and Individualization
It amazes me how many coaches and trainers don’t even bother to thoroughly assess their clients. Joint congruency and structural integrity should be prioritized before anything else. Moreover, assessing allows you to individualize your strength program for each client. It gives you insight as to what movements are applicable to them. For instance, incorporating a boat load of mobility work with someone who is already hypermobile to begin with is counter-productive. Conversely, some may need to spend an ample amount of time doing mobility work in order to perform at a high level.
What I’m trying to convey is that completely disregarding an individual’s limitations and restrictions at the expense of burning calories is irresponsible and is the very reason why our profession still gets a bad rap. Every aspect of the training program should differ from one individual to the next — this is critical as a coach. You have to respect each and every individual’s anatomy and anthropometry. Training programs should not be the same across the board. Take the time to evaluate your clients.
As coaches, it’s our moral obligation to motivate and push our clients so that they can perform at their best and yield the results. Granted, there are much more stupid things coaches do, but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones I see most.
And please, for the love of God, stop with the kipping pull ups and burpee box jumps.