Ask any good coach or trainer, and they will agree that form matters. They will agree that focusing on the way you move, getting good quality patterns in, and not getting hurt, well that’s probably one of the most important aspects to physical training. This becomes especially true when injuring a client can be pretty bad for your career.
Because of this, I see a lot of trainers and coaches writing workouts and using movements (for able bodied clients) that would be found in the rehab room of a nursing home.
Picture this, a jacked and strong fit pro with a bunch of followers that likes to show off how tough and strong they are, but then gets a client and starts them off with “activation drills” that look like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant for the first 15 minutes, then moves them on to using weights that weigh less than their groceries, if they’re lucky they will get to use a kettlebell made out of pink plastic.
Now, I agree that throwing someone off the deep end with heavy weight from day 1 may not be the BEST idea, but there are ways to do it right. Training people who have the mobility of a dead branch to “increase their thoracic extension and posterior retraction of the scapula” is just a trainers way of throwing snake oil out there to take the clients focus off the real reason they’re there:
TO GET STRONGER.
How many times have you watched an infomercial or seen an ad that tells you about a problem you didn’t know you had, only to (miraculously) let you know that their product/service/support poodle leasing program is the ONE fix.
Too many trainers are trying to FIX you, and you’re NOT broken, they have just chosen high skill level tools to help you achieve your goals and they first have to teach you how to use those tools.
If I want you to build a birdhouse and I hand you a state of the art nail gun-o-matic and air compressor 5000 and a 30 page instruction manual, you won’t have birds in your yard for 3 weeks.
Give me a hammer and I’ll pound some boards together this afternoon and before you know it you’ll be complaining about the squirrels in the feeder.
Don’t be fooled, be smart, you’re not a fragile snowflake that has to be taught how walk correctly at the age of 43, you’re a perfectly capable human that can, and should be, moving heavy things regularly to make you more capable and resilient.
What tends to get lost when repair becomes the ONLY focus, is the the one thing that drives adaptation, and that’s HEAVY WEIGHT.
Definition of the word HEAVY: it’s relative.
If the most your body can support is 100 pounds, then anything over 80 pounds is heavy. It’s moving weights that CHALLENGE you to be stronger, because if it’s too light, yes you are reinforcing good movement patterns, but propbably not with enough weight to force change.
Let’s put this into context… the back squat. If you can squat 200 pounds, and it looks terrible because it’s super heavy and difficult, so you always stay around 135 because you know you handle it, yes you can do larger sets, grow the muscle a bit, and definitely get tired, but it’s not going to drive as much adaptation as loading that bar up to 160 plus. Your body knows it can move 135, and doesn’t have to change to be able to handle it effectively, but 160, now that’s a challenge!
Don’t know how to backsquat?
Bear hug a sandbag off the floor like you’re putting the 50lb bag of rice at Costco in your cart.
Flip a tire over a few times.
Scared of deadlifts?
Pick a few heavy kettlebells like you’re taking in the groceries in one trip.
There are tools out there you can use TODAY, and they will actually achieve the better mobility, stability, stamina, and strength that the guy with 4 college and certificate titles is claiming to “prep” you for in his 30 minute session of humping foam rollers and activating your glutes with rubber bands says will take 12 dedicated weeks of repair.
I don’t have time for that, I have stuff to do, I’m not a professional athlete, just give some heavy stuff to move around TODAY, because I have kids at home and a business to run, and life is short, I want to feel like I was a SAVAGE for 30-45 minutes because it makes me stronger and happier.
Don’t buy any snake oil claiming to make you younger and prettier.
The waters of the fountain of youth flow freely for the taking, and just because it doesn’t taste as good as what the fit pros are selling doesn’t mean it’s STILL more effective.
Here’s your homework:
Lift heavy today, you can do it.