I’ve been in the strength and conditioning field for a very short time; luckily I have luck on my side and ended up surrounded by very smart people. Whether it’s coaching, watching my colleagues coach, reading, or training myself I consistently learn something new every day. With that said here are 3 awesome things I’ve learned both as a coach and as someone who trains.
If you’re an inexperienced lifter or you’re dealing with an inexperienced athlete don’t try and get to crazy; you’re not and their not as advanced as you think. Squatting (bodyweight, goblet, barbell), deadlifting (kettlebells, trap bar, straight bar), and pressing (pushups, bench press, overhead press) are the best ways to gain strength, power, and body awareness. If you are just starting out or are coaching someone who is just starting out you will be much better off refining these motor patterns, using progressive overload, and coupling them with unilateral movements like split squats, stepback lunges, bowler squats, single leg balancing. I don’t care if someone is 8 years old or 50 years old these movements form the foundation for athletics and everyday life and should be learned proficiently. Things like powercleans or Turkish getups are awesome but they are advanced. I see absolutely no need to give them to someone who cannot squat, deadlift, or do a pushup correctly. Milk the simplicity of the other exercises for all their worth; you or your athlete will be better for it in the long run.
- Get Experience Under the Bar…
In one of the first conversations I ever had with Sarah was her telling me I need to compete in powerlifting. Her reasons were it would help me learn more about strength and conditioning and it would make me a better coach. I wasn’t quite sure how competing would do both those things but I started training for powerlifting anyway. Time has gone on since then and looking back I completely understand what she was talking about. You cannot be a coach or a trainer unless you get experience under the bar. I was re-watching the EliteFTS BIG seminar with Jim Wendler the other day (which everyone should watch) and he said two things that really stuck with me. Keep in mind I’m paraphrasing here but he said something along the lines of “I have authority on the subject (strength training) because I’ve had a bar on my back, not because of a certification I have or something I read” and later “everything you want to know about lifting can be learned through training”. These are bold statements but they are absolutely true.
If you’re a coach you need to try everything out, you need to get some scratches on you or no one will take your advice. It’s like a tennis player telling you how to improve your golf swing because they read an article about it once, doesn’t make any sense. And if you’re just trying to train stop reading internet articles all day long and go put a barbell on your back and squat it, go pull something heavy off the ground and then press something off your chest or over your head. You can listen all you want to this guy or this girl but the truth is you will NEVER know what works until you do it yourself. Get under the bar!
- Don’t Ever be Content and Always Have Fun…
This is where I feel people lose it. No one should be content whether it’s your knowledge base, your numbers, the money your business brings in, your teaching abilities, it doesn’t matter always strive to be better. If you’re a coach you shouldn’t ever come to a place where you say “I know everything I need to know” because you don’t. The greatest strength coaches in the world still educate themselves and then apply it. This is what’s going to make you and your athletes better. If you’re just a person trying to get stronger that’s great but once you hit a specific goal, don’t stop there, make a new one. I’m not saying don’t be happy about what you’ve done because that’s ridiculous. You should be happy about what you’ve accomplished and you should reflect on those achievements but strive for more.
This leads into my next point of having fun while you’re doing all of this. There hasn’t been one day where I haven’t had fun training or coaching. Are there days where I’m tired and don’t necessarily feel like going to train? Yeah, but by the end I had fun and am glad I did it. And as far as coaching or teaching for that matter, if you’re not enjoying helping people get better and realize their potential than you need a new career. That has been the best part of coaching and teaching for me is that I can truly have fun. I can joke around with the clients and athletes and I can help them reach their goals. People want to be so serious and mope around all the time, I don’t get it. We have all had some bad stuff happen in our lives but its our ability to overcome that makes life great. Life is truly short and we need to enjoy it and have some fun while we’re living it. With that said, I’ll leave you with this… because it’s funny!