The first time we visited this topic; we addressed coaches in the field who “do too much.” In my experience, this pertains to a vast majority of coaches, especially at commercial gyms. This isn’t saying there are not good coaches out there, but I have yet to see one at our local Raleigh gyms like Lifetime, O2, and Fitness Connection. What you do see is ridiculous programming (if any at all), poor exercise selection and a general lack of understanding of the specific needs of said client. This can even be true at some private facilities in the area.
Now, we come back to you as your strength coach asking, “Are you doing too much as a client?”
With 2018 beginning, this couldn’t be a better time to talk about resolutions, what you have been doing this year, and what you plan to do in the New Year.
I will always advocate for doing something active everyday. But only if you make sure you are fueling your body properly. If you are not getting adequate calories you will be spinning your wheels. This pertains to people of any body type. I will give multiple scenarios to show you how this can pertain to you.
Person A is overweight. They are currently workout out 3-5 days a week and haven’t seen any progress recently. The next decision they make is to add and additional 2 workout days and drop calories by over 1000 a week.
What happens next is their body goes into “starvation” mode. By using hormonal signals your body is now fighting to store more fat to use for energy. At this point, what do you do next? You can’t add more days. You also can’t physically imagine eating less. So now you’re hungry and stuck working out almost every day of the week to no ends.
My advice: Don’t do too much. Slowly make changes. Slowly take calories away, and then wait. Let you body adjust to changes before making bigger or further changes. Remember the smaller more consistent changes lead to a higher retention rate.
Person B is small, meek, and frail. They have a membership to every gym and do as many classes as they can. Cardio, group circuit training, running, yoga, Pilates, they hit them all in a week. Most people would see this person as “in shape”. What they don’t see is the underlying issue of nutrition and strength. With activity level that high and poor nutrition to boot; it could lead to a myriad of problems.
What we see most is joint injuries. Most if not all of these types of exercises tend to be very anterior dominant. What does that mean? Well it means that without proper stimulation of your backside it leads to hip, shoulder, knee injuries and pain. Remember your joints move with assistance from the muscles that attach to them. For example; imagine all you do is flywheel. Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise and possibility one of the best supplements to strength training. It also will stimulate a lot of hypertrophy in the quads. That constant pull from the quad and patellar tendon will lead to knee pain if your hamstrings are not strong enough to counter the pull coming from the quads. The same happens with the shoulder and hips.
I’ll break this down one more time to help further understanding. Let’s consider the “programming” at Heat. HIT training is what they offer and a fantastic supplement to strength training when needing to loose body fat. Lunges, burpies, push ups, planks etc. are all wonderful exercises and I frequently program them with my clients. But that’s a lot of pushing and not enough pulling. Sometimes you might see a TRX row mixed in there but the stimulus is not great enough to counter an already overworked front side. A lack of balance between your anterior muscles and posterior muscles is one of the leading causes of joint pain, including back pain.
My Advice: Don’t do too much. Now I am not telling you to drop everything your doing and come train at The Strength Feed four times a week, even if I think it’s the best! I am saying to optimize your performance at the other venues you workout at, you need to include real strength training. This doesn’t mean hire some trainer who is going to make you DB press while you’re on a leg extension machine (I have actually seen this at O2). It means you need simple teaching of proper motor patterns and a basic liner periodization model to follow.
I could list 20 other examples of people trying to do too much, but I will leave you with those two. The goal at the Strength Feed is to pass on knowledge. We are Raleigh’s only teaching gym. We not only have research backed training methods, we have a combined 40+ years of anecdotal evidence between all of our coaches that back what we do. We are not here to train our clients to be the next great powerlifter, we are here to build a solid foundation of your body and your mind that you can build off of in whatever direction you choose.
My overall advice for 2018 for everyone reading would be to learn and don’t do too much. Make small changes to elicit a response and gradually over the course of months continue to make changes. This way these habits will stick with you for the long haul. Ask professionals what you can do to optimize your performance. Take what they say and mold it to fit your needs. The staff at the Strength Feed is always willing to sit down and share our opinion even if it doesn’t lead to you signing up. We will always lead you in the correct direction because building a better more knowledgeable lifting community is our #1 goal.
Coaches: Are you doing too much?
Lifting will forever be evolving with new techniques, changing modalities, and cutting edge equipment. While it is great to see all of this development and innovation in the field of strength and conditioning, have some of these transformations stemmed too far from the basics, that it is actually hindering strength? Think about how many athletes or lifters you see who are doing an advanced movement or using the newest speed or strength training device, yet they can’t squat or have bad movement patterns. This happens all the time.
I think this stems from two prominent issues: coaching mentalities and mental toughness.
Strength Coaches are always looking for their claim to fame. They want to be looked at like Bill Kazmier, Louis Simmons, or Ed Coen. They want people to come to them for advice and be a leader in the strength community. While that is noble and ambitious goal, it can lead to over evaluating every microscopic nuance in a movement pattern. They then find a particular issue within a movement pattern that seems to be prominent in a sample size. With this type of critique, coaches say that the majority of all athletes have this particular issue. Taking this small problem, coaches then try and create something that fixes this one hitch. While this may be great for some who are at an elite level of strength, people who are more inexperienced athletes may be missing out on basic training. By focusing in on minor details, the athletes are missing what will help them on a broader spectrum.
The second issue is that some athletes don’t have the same mental stamina to get strong and complete workouts daily. While Strength Coaches have some responsibility to keep the athletes interested, there is a point where the athlete needs internal motivation and drive to be there. We can’t be they hype man for every single lift. As much as we want to, you can’t teach athletes the want to always be improving themselves, that is something they have to come with.
One of the ways that coaches get athletes to work harder every workout is through exercise variation. We trade in what we know is going work, linear progressions of movement patterns, to try to allow for them to be in a more fun environment.
Half Kneeling DB Press -> Tall Kneeling DB Press -> Seated BB OH Press -> Standing BB OH Press -> Push Press
(Example of Linear Progression of a Movement)
Stay away from gimmicks and push towards proper training. Block out the other noise and keep your standards high. Confidence breeds success, but success breeds confidence. Hammer home the basic movements and your athletes will be more successful at the complicated actions.
Head Strength Coach
The Strength Feed