Posts Tagged ‘Strength’

Having been a fitness professional for a few years now, I’ve seen my fair share of insanely idiotic things in the gym. I’m pretty accustomed to it considering I practically live in the gym. I’m not one to ridicule anybody trying to better themselves, but it drives me nuts when I see methods of training that raises an eyebrow.



1. Skipping The Warm-Up


Yes — something as simple as warming up is often overlooked. You want a surefire way to decrease performance and increase your chances of getting injured, skipping the warm-up will do that. When you’re a beginner it’s easy to go in with guns blazing, but you have to appreciate the necessity of a thorough warm-up.  The whole idea of warming up is to create a thermic effect in the muscles.  How well you do that is going to dictate how well you’re going to perform. More importantly, though, it’s to minimize the risk of injury.

Seriously, set aside 10 minutes before you start hitting the weights. Even hopping on a cardio machine to get your heart rate up can get the dice rolling.

Sample Non-Individualized Warm-Up:

  1. Foam Roll Glutes, Quads, Lats, Calves
  2. 90/90 Hip Flow
  3. Wall Hip Flexor Mobs
  4. 1-Leg Glute Bridge
  5. Side Plank
  6. Walking Spiderman
  7. Power Skips

Rest assured you can perform these within 10 minutes.

2. You’re So Functional!




Training on an unstable surface has been the trend for a better part of the decade. What initially started in the rehabilitation realm, quickly transitioned into the fitness population hoping it would produce specific results. Question is: does it really have a carry over?

The widespread belief that training on an unstable surface will improve your balance, core stability, and strength is asinine. Studies have shown that training on an unstable surface does absolutely nothing to improve strength and athletic performance. Remember: progressive overload is a key determinant for growth.   You won’t be able to use as much weight on a BOSU ball as you would on a stable surface.  Less weight = less calories burned.  If it’s not for rehabilitative purposes, re-think your training program. Stop training for the circus.

There’s nothing good ol’ fashion strength training can’t do. Simple ain’t sexy, but it gets the job done.

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Become An Insider


I’m not going to sugar coat it.  I’m exceptional at what I do.

Majority of my time is spent on continually improving my coaching acumen.

Don’t take things out of context though. I don’t presume to know everything because I’d be lying to you if I said I’m a big deal. In fact, my first year as a trainer I made a lot of mistakes. I’m amazed that I even made it out of the trenches alive.

Looking back at it now, I wish I could travel back in time and slap myself silly for the things I did.

Come on now, we all have those moments where we ask ourselves, “What the f**k was I thinking?”

Here are the biggest mistakes I made as a trainer.

Doing Too Much Too Soon


Anybody who knows me can easily identify me as a strength guy. It’s no secret that I have a deep affinity for lifting heavy weight.

Want to get stronger? Lift heavy weight.

Look better? Lift heavy weight. 

Did I mention I love pizza?


Humor aside, in my three years of training I’ve only injured one client.  This setback happened last year and it was to one of my best female clients. It was 5:30am and we were doing Zercher Squats.  She had 95lbs on the bar and she said her low back started to act up. In hindsight, I should’ve had her warm up a bit more thoroughly.

All of my clients can attest to this — I’m a stickler when it comes to form and function, so we dropped the load a bit and I gave her a couple cues that’ll facilitate her core as opposed to her spinal erectors and passive structures doing most of the work. Unfortunately, she was still experiencing the discomfort in her lower back.

The next day she said the pain had gotten worse. I came to realize that she might’ve injured her low back.  Rather than shift the blame towards her, I owned up to it and took responsibility for it. She had about a month off before she could start training again. I referred her to my chiropractor to get things moving smoothly.

She still trains with me to this day, but let me tell you, I felt terrible about what had happened.

Progressive overload is one of the key determinants of growth, but lack of auto-regulation in conjunction with a haphazard warm up can make for a horrible training session.

Trying To Be A Jack-Of-All Trades


**Full disclosure: I know my limits as a coach. If I’m working with an individual that is in need of service beyond my scope of practice, I refer out.

This is an issue I feel a lot of novice trainers still face. While I do think it’s paramount to be knowledgeable in all realms, going way beyond your scope of practice is going to be a hindrance to your development (and for the client).

As a frame of reference, I once worked with a female who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Rather than declining and referring out, I opted to work with her.  Obviously, our training was subpar because practically any movement would induce more inflammation to her joints.  After a few weeks of training, we mutually agreed to part ways.

The man who chases two rabbits ends up with none.

There’s a lot of value in being around other professionals. Go out of your way to build your credibility and that of others by seeking out numerous experts in their field. Establishing a network of professionals that you can learn from and refer to is essential.

Working closely with my chiropractor and massage therapist has provided me with a ton of information. Most importantly, it has allowed me to do what I do best with my clients — lift heavy and look good.

The take home message here is to specialize in one area and solidify your authority.


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Become An Insider

You ever wonder what life would be like if you were on a different career path? I think about that from time to time because I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t writing programs and training people.



Here are some great reads I recommend for the month of April.

How Many Calories To Lose Weight? The Banana Effect

“A short term calorie deficit will not cut it for sustained weight loss.  In fact, going to extremes with calorie reduction (whether through food or exercise) is like putting your results on a metabolic credit card. You’ll get some results but pay steep metabolic penalties later with increased hunger, insatiable cravings and weight gain rebound.”

Deadlifts: Which Type Is Best For You?

Positioning is key, so it’s important to understand that not everyone can (and should) conventional deadlift, and not everyone has to pick it up from the floor. Mike Robertson breaks it down to which type of deadlift is best suited for your training needs.

7 Simple Cues To Improve Your Squat Form

Squat your ass off after reading this.

“Because My Boss Sucks is a Sh**ty Reason to Open Your Own Gym

Before you think about opening up your own gym, make sure it’s for the right reasons.

10 Random Thoughts Fitness On Long-Term Fitness Industry Success

I’ve been in the fitness industry for three years. Considering most fitness professionals leave the game within 1-3 years, that’s quite a career accomplishment on my part.