I’ve had many conversations with family, friends, and random people about general fitness and what they should be doing. For the most part people tend to be know-it-alls and really aren’t seeking my professional opinion. All they really want is affirmation that what they are currently doing is correct. When I go on to tell them that standing on a BOSU ball doing dumbbell curls actually does nothing for their physical fitness level they get very defensive with me. Maybe they’re actually angry about the fact they spent a bunch of money on a useless piece of equipment, who knows? The other people who are actually interested in my advice tend to tell me they want to get a personal trainer or a strength coach to oversee their training. This realization they come to is a mixed bag for me. On one hand I’m excited for them that they are willing to invest their time and hard earned money in their personal health. On the other hand I’m weary of their decision. The reason being is that there are so many terrible trainers out there that these honest hardworking people are going to end up flushing their money away. I refuse to sugarcoat things for anyone which is why I tell them exactly this if they tell me they want a trainer/coach. They respond with “well, how do I figure out if the trainer/coach is good or not?” Great question! My answer USED TO BE to make sure they have a bachelor’s degree in something exercise related and to make sure they have their CSCS or CPT through the NSCA. As I’ve gone on in my career I have come to understand how WRONG I was. Since I’ve been a strength coach I’ve found that neither of these things mean you are a good trainer (it doesn’t mean you’re a bad one either, I myself have both). This lesson has been learned through life’s greatest teaching tool, experience. Some of the best fitness professionals I know have neither of these. So, what do I tell people now? Honestly, I try and keep it short but the following are some things you should find out before enlisting the aid of a trainer or coach. Without further ado; You Might Have a Bad Strength Coach or Trainer If….
- You don’t see any pull up, row, squat, deadlift, or pushup variations (because these aren’t functional movements right?)
- They use the word “functional” or “core” more than 5 times within the first 5 minutes of meeting them (“What we’re going to do for your first session is get you up on this wobbly lookin’ platform and have you squat for 2 sets of 15 reps to really help your “functional” balance and to really get you to engage your “core”. Don’t worry about that pain in your knee, that’s perfectly normal.”)
- There is any type of bicep curl at the beginning of your program (just trying to sculpt the guns BRO!)
- They have you do a cable row while squatting on a BOSU ball (two birds with one stone right?)
- They have you perform a snatch without teaching you how to goblet squat correctly (DUDE! It’s all about being explosive. Forget about the back pain, correct form is for SISSYS’!!!)
- They have never heard of a goblet squat (I feel like it has something to do with Harry Potter, am I close?)
- They have no idea who the following people are (comic book villains?)
-Mel Siff -Tudor Bompa -Leo Matveyev -Yuri Verkhoshansky
- They ever put you on a BOSU ball or wobble board and try to get you to pistol squat holding a med ball over your head (Hey guy! I thought I told you, we are trying to functionally engage your core)
- They look like this guy…
- Honestly, it’ll just save us some time if I just say… They have you do anything on an unstable surface (I know I know, we get it… It’s all about being functional and engaging your core)
- Their idea of a good deadlift looks like this… (We want to take your hamstrings and glutes completely out of it. It’s all about using your lower back and lifting the bar with a jerking twisting motion.)
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- Your workout consists mostly of ladder drills and cone drills (It doesn’t matter that you can’t squat 15lbs correctly; it’s all about working on your AGILITY!)
- You get thrown on a bench press yet still can’t do a bodyweight pushup correctly (If you can’t bench press 315lbs you will never be a good athlete…. HAHAHA! Sorry, I couldn’t keep a straight face with that one)
- They coach you on how to turn your pinky up at the top of a bicep curl (FOR THE LAST TIME! We are trying to sculpt the guns!!!)
- They tell you that the only way to get fit is to get on the treadmill everyday (Strength? What do you need strength for? Lifting weights is just going to get you bulky and then that muscle will turn to fat when you’re older. I see you have an awesome valgus collapse going on in your knees and your feet have no arch whatsoever… Sweet! Let’s go run for 30 minutes on the treadmill!)
I’m running short on time, that’s all I can think of for right now. RELAX internet warriors; I’m only 99% serious, HA!
If anyone has any other ones they want to share then feel free to post it to the comments section.