An Outside Eye

This past weekend, my wife and I had the privilege of giving a presentation to a weight loss group at a local church in Fairfax. The group is made up of adults primarily in their 40s and 50s, and the majority of them haven't undergone a consistent resistance training plan in years (if ever). Needless to say, it was a rewarding experience to answer their questions and help guide them along, on top of the fact that it was a good chance for Kelsey and I to practice communicating some of the intricacies of exercise science in a SIMPLE manner. Anyway, one of the points we harped on was the power of having someone assess you and to guide you through exercise technique. This is true whether you're a grandmother or an elite athlete (or both?), by the way.

I say this because we've had professional athletes walk into the doors of SAPT that couldn't do a pushup or squat correctly. And if you are reading this, chances are high you are NOT a professional athlete, so yes: this especially applies to you, big guy.

I can't tell you how many times I coach someone - athletes and Joes/Janes alike - through a squat, seated row, pushup, plank, you name it, for the first time, and their immediate response is along the lines of:

"Ohhhh! THAT'S where I'm supposed to feel it?"


"Woah, I didn't realize how HARD this exercise is when I do it correctly."

I can't stress enough how important it is to do this. For the adults we were addressing at the church on Sunday, we suggested they do this in order to reduce the likelihood of injury during their exercise programs. For example, say we told the group they should immediately start doing planks every day in order to help alleviate/reduce their risk of back pain.

Because planks are good, right? Well....theoretically, yes. But what if you do them like this?

In fact, this is why it can be so hard for me when someone (who has never had someone assess them before) tells me to just "tell them what to go do on their own in the gym."

We don't think twice before having someone show us how to scuba dive, shoot skeet, or ride a motorcycle, so why is weight training any different??

I think it's because the majority of people have been doing pushups and bicep curls in their bedrooms since age ten so we feel it'd be silly to ask for someone to show us how. I mean, how hard can it be to do a good squat, deadlift, and lunge?

I don't care if you're a bodybuilder, athlete, runner, weekend warrior, or are aging and simply trying to stave off diabetes and osteoporosis. Get assessed and have someone look at your form!!

Strength coaches aren't excluded from this, by the way. I can't tell you how many times I'll ask one of the SAPT coaches to step out of the office while I'm training to check out something I'm doing to ensure I'm remaining honest with myself. Heck, Kelsey and I drove up to Boston in October to have the staff at Cressey Performance assess us and coach us through all the major lifts.

You won't regret it.