One afternoon in sunny Northern California where we haven’t received rain in who knows how long, I was able to sit on a metal bench and listen to; two of the greatest baseball players to play the game as they took batting practice. It was like hearing bombshells going off as the ball hit the bat. I didn’t know if I needed to duck for cover or evacuate in fear that the facility was going to collapse. I am sure glad I didn’t because what I heard next was some of the simplest most profound knowledge I had heard in a long time.
“Do not let them beat you on the inner half.” “If they come into your house you make sure you let them know who owns this house.”
That was it! Very simple and straightforward.
In the fitness industry, it would translate into “Do not lift FLUFF!” Fugly, Lifts, Under, Functional, Framework.
We tend as a fitness industry to let people into our homes and sell us on this idea that more is better or these compound movements done on a Bosu ball while juggling a kettlebell will create “core stability and improve strength”. For example, I walked into a very and I mean very nice Life Time fitness gym in Goodyear, Arizona thinking there would be some top notch training going on. Boy was I wrong. I watched a trainer evaluate his client’s overhead squat, which wasn’t too great (a one on the FMS), then proceed to have him balance on a Bosu ball and do single leg squats accompanied with jump squats. This was part of the trainer’s “ass kicking workout” that was supposed to start his client on his journey to becoming “FIT”.
I don’t get what he was trying to accomplish with this client who blatantly showed signs of movement impairments. Maybe he thought adding in a form of environmental instability and then adding in compensatory power movements would clear his clients of his poor movement patterns or maybe it was the last YouTube video he saw, but really during the first session? I guess he didn’t have book or journal article on what happens when you have inadequate deceleration stability and increase compensatory patterns.
Well being a glass half full type of guy, I stayed positive thinking that there is always room for improvement, as long as he didn’t kill his client with the next circuit which no doubt was kettlebell swings on the Bosu Ball to target the client’s “fat burning zone”. I decided to be proactive and hit the gym up the next night when I saw another trainer at the same facility have her client do a rear foot elevated squat in a TRX while holding a Kettlebell overhead. Really? Now WTF where she trying to accomplish with that exercise combination?
SHOOT ME NOW!!
I just poured out my whole glass of water and said screw it!
Can someone tell me why are we getting away from the fundamentals that we learned from the beginning? Like when we were five and we stepped into the batter’s box with no idea what we were doing but trusted our coach when he said “keep your eye on the ball at all times and just hit it!” And we did – because it was so damn fun.
We as coaches must come to a point of clarity. A point that drives us to practice what we preach and grind through the sweat and tears to accomplish something we and our clients thought might not be possible three years before. If we do, we will find hidden gems within our failures and triumphs that will give us insight into improving how we program our clients’ workouts.
If you let another trainer come into your house and sell you on a new exercise that he or she invented 6 months ago, and it is clear that he or she have gotten away from the basic concept of mastering movements, then you need to let them know who owns the house and not let him or her beat you with that inside pitch. Stay true to why you stepped into the batter’s box and show your clients what hours of mastering the boring stuff will do for them in the end.
Stay true to the game and the game will stay true to you.