What Your Trainer Shouldnt Have You Doing

Posted: April 29, 2013 by dannytwoguns in Articles

This is usually one of those taboo topics because someone or a fellow trainer undoubtedly gets offended because they are doing the things I say you shouldn’t be doing. From my perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to get offended. Hiring a fitness professional to help you in your fitness needs is something I take seriously and shouldnt simply be something you can find in a magazine. If your trainer is having you do something on here or you workout on your own and are doing these things, think comprehensively about it (you’ll realize it makes sense), then stop doing it or find a better trainer. It’s simple. I’ve talked about some of these before but it bears repeating…

No Form of Assessments

I have a client whose friend talked her into trying her trainer over at Best Fitness with her. That gym is another story in itself over there but regardless, when she tried out this session with their “trainer”, not only did she not get any sort of assessment but the trainer didn’t even ask her ONE question about injury history, medications or limitations she may have, but of course while making sure she knew that “the trainers over at Nautilus dont know what they are doing”…

My client, having a pretty good trainer herself, knew that this was ridiculous and low quality training because there was no personalization to her needs. She said, “How did they even know what I need or can do if they didn’t see what I could do first or even ask me what my goals were or if I had injuries?” Now if my client knew that, one would think that a so called “personal trainer” would know that also, apparently not though. And honestly, not assessing is one thing but not even asking about goals?…

There are a lot of considerations that go into a sound and successful training program. Previous injuries and physical limitations are a main one but what about mobility or stability demands or lifestyle. Some clients have a severe lack or flexibility/mobility while other clients have the “just right” amount while others have way too much (which we see in a lot of female clients at Twoguns Training Systems and in general). If a client sits all day, they have different needs than a client who stands all day, and different needs than one who doesnt do either excessively, particularly in core training.

Here’s an example. I started with a new client this past week who stands all day at her job. As a result she has a pretty noticeable anterior pelvic tilt and a propensity to slip into excessive spinal extension during a lot of movement patterns. She tried a different trainer before she ended up working with me and noted that a lot of the things they did hurt her lower back. Needless to say the trainer hadn’t assessed her, asked her anything about lifestyle or even looked at her posture apparently, to know what she needed to do or what exercises would be best for her and as a result had her doing exercises that promoted her anterior pelvic tilt and caused her back pain.

For more information check out www.functionalmovement.com

If you lift/train on your own, find a fitness professional (note: these are not found at Best Fitness…) who can take you through a thorough assessment, that should include a Functional Movement Screen and tell you what unique demands you personally have. And if you do work with or are interested in working with a fitness professional, find one who takes the time to see what you need specifically and also does the Functional Movement Screen. It is the absolute most scientific and statistically proven method of assessment and everyone should be have them done on a fairly regular basis.

More than 5-10% of your workout is on a machine

This is one that I feel like with all of the wealth of information available to people shouldn’t even have to be said and honestly I’d probably go as far to say that it should be zero and not 5-10% but I want to have some wiggle room because the weight assisted pull up is technically a machine even though it is simply a regression to a great upper body exercise. But even then, the weight assist pull up is simply a means to get someone to be able to do a band assist pull up.

Anyway, it isn’t 1975 anymore. Real world evidence as well as scientific studies have shown that lifting on machines does not make people fitter, healthier or better. There is little to no benefit on a machine doing the stabilizing for you and isolating specific muscle groups. The body is an integrated and complex unit and should be trained like one.

Heavy compound movements, using multiple joints, multiple planes of motion as well as making your body/core have to stabilize the movement should be not only the foundation but the majority of a person’s fitness program.

Here is one of my current favorites that cover all of those bases… HERE

Doing Workouts That Just Make You Tired

A circuit of push ups, bench dips, leg extensions and leg curls without rest for 20 reps each will leave a few muscles burning and make you sweat but it wont be a productive workout by any means. Getting tired is not a good workout. Getting better and improving is a good workout. I could give someone a workout that would leave them in a pool of sweat, gasping on the floor in less than 20 minutes. But that doesn’t mean the person got better or improved in any way.

There is a lot to be said for intensity in a workout and it is a must but it is not the most important aspect. Your workouts should be progressive. You should be doing more weight or reps on exercises over time. You should be progressing to harder and more intricate exercises and movement patterns. This comes with needed intensity in order to do those things but the intensity is simply the tool to do so, not the goal.

There has to be more to your workout than simply getting tired. Along the same lines as above, your workouts needs to be progressive, needs to address the total body including a lower body push, a lower body bend/pull, a lower body split stance, a lower body single leg stance, a “core”, a twist/rotary pattern, an upper body push, an upper body pull and metabolic type exercises like sled sprints or battle ropes, all covering multiple planes and compound movements.

Using Only “Dead Weight”

I was hesitant to put this in here because Im a huge fan of barbell lifts as the king of exercises like the deadlift and squat. But with all of the advancements in the fitness profession, we have so many progressive tools and equipment that enhance exercises and movement quality that if your only forms of exercises use barbells, dumbbells, machines and cable stations, you are selling yourself short.

Equipment like the TRX suspension trainers and rip trainers make you stabilize your body in a way that traditional bodyweight exercises cannot come close to comparing. Resistance bands and sandbags add a dynamic and variable resistance that forces your body and muscles to work harder through further ranges of motion as well as forcing you to stabilize and control the implement even more at ranges of motion your body is not used to.

Doing a clean with a heavy sandbag is exponentially harder than doing a barbell clean with a comparative or even heavier weight because the weight is dynamic and moving around and your muscles and “core” have to stabilize that rather than simply muscling through it.

Anyone who tells you that one tool is the answer is clueless or trying to sell you something. A whole workout on the TRX suspension trainer or with resistance bands, or any one implement is good while you are getting in an occasional at home or on vacation workout but doesn’t cover all of your needs and isn’t a permanent solution by any means. But the same goes for barbells and dumbbells. There are a plethora of mandatory fitness needs that neither the barbell nor dumbbell can provide.

That is a few of the main points I’ve seen lately and wanted to cover. If you have any questions or want more information feel free to contact me by phone at (814) 459-3033 or email at twogunstrainingsystems [@] yahoo.com, no spaces or brackets.

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