I hope everyonehas a great weekend! Here’s is part 4 of my updates which I started posting about last week.

4. Manly title eh?! (That’s why I get paid the big bucks btw) In talking with a couple of my new clients, they’ve mentioned that they are pleasantly surprised that they get a challenging workout in without much equipment or fancy exercises. To me this is music to my ears. Plain and simple I don’t think many people need to worry about advanced set/rep schemes, exercises, or excessive volume. Taking that a step further, I think people EARN the more advanced stuff. If you’ve been training for some time, and have made considerable progress feel free to play around with some more advanced methods, but don’t apply for graduation when you’re in first year.

The basics have worked for a long time, and though they aren’t all better than more recent innovations, many are. I for one love simplicity. In terms of exercise: push, pull, and do something for legs and core. Simple. (Coach Boyle credits Mrs. Patrick Ward with saying that, and though I’ve never met her, smart smart lady). Even though its a very simple take on program design, some good effort will yield excellent results.  I believe Dan John, a noted high school strength coach in the States, said that the oldest form of fitness is picking something off the ground and lifting it up overhead. Simple and basic…and effective. The basics may be considered “old-fashioned”, but if they work, they work.

That’s the end of my updates series, so you all can breathe a sigh of relief HA!

CB

3. Glad “you” asked :) My own training has been going super for the past 8 weeks since I got out of my rut and started up again (I know, super embarassing). Fortunately in these last 8 weeks, I’ve even been able to surpass some strength I attained in the past — gotta love muscle memory!! Basically what I’ve been doing is starting up with a basic template for these two months, slowly inserting things to create a more athletically-based program rather than a typical “lifting” program. Again, this is just how I prefer to train. One of the key things I’ve been working on is to keep exercise progressions going; pretty much 3 weeks with a movement, master it, and progress it. Now I’m not going to get into progressions and how long and whens the right time to switch and who laid a finger on my Butterfinger, just that in the past I feel that I have stayed with things a little too long in the hopes of reaching a certain strength level. Alright folks, three blogs in three days, makes for one hungry me!! Thanks for reading!

CB

Back for more of the updates? Enjoy!! And as always if you have any thoughts to add, I’d love to hear them!

2. This goes along with my new job. Basically many fitness professionals much smarter than I are putting out products, articles, podcasts, etc to help educate other trainers. Currently much of this is focussed on training athletes or running fitness bootcamps/circuit training (at least most of what my inbox is bombarded with). Because I no longer work with athletes currently and I don’t run bootcamps or have access to much equipment, I’ve had to think more critically about these experts’ ideas. Instead of just trying something out because it seems like a good idea, I now also look at the idea from a logistical standpoint: Where do new exercises fit into my clients’ abilities? Do I have the necessary equipment/space/time? Can I modify an idea to make it work for my clients WITHOUT losing the idea’s effectiveness?

The point being that every time I ingest information in the hopes of making me a better trainer/coach, it can make me better at what I do and the service I provide based on whether I decide to use it or not. Because no trainers’ situations and clients are exactly the same, this not only requires critical thinking of the idea itself, but also the logistics of getting it to blend into an already successful system.

CB

Since I’ve been AWOL on this blog lately, I’ll keep it to a “random thoughts” type of post since quite a few things have been going on. Hopefully this will also kick my ass a little so that I keep up a little more regular presence here.

1. Regarding the new job, I’m in my 3rd week of duty, and so far so good. Hmmm what have I learned??? I’ve learned that personal training has been enjoyable, in fact the way I see it, each session I have the ability to work on my coaching the same way I would if I was working with athletes. Sure some training goals and focuses might be different, but its still an interpersonal service at the end of the day.

More about my new job?? I’ve realized I need to develop a system of training. I knew this already, but now that I have to create my own to get results, it is something I need to do. Now I don’t mean that I’m going to develop my system of training over the next month or so and never touch it again; what I mean is that I hate playing “exercise selection roulette” when  designing programs. How will you know something works/doesn’t work if you never program things the same way twice? A sample size of one doesn’t allow for much confidence in the results. This past Saturday I took my first step and starting typing things out on my computer. What I found was something that is a lot more difficult than it seems, and that as a result it could take more time than anticipated.

Still want more?? One thing I’ve found is that my clients don’t want to just rest for x amount of time because they aren’t that fatigued. Keep in mind my clients haven’t worked out for varying lengths of time, so I’m starting with the basics. That said, I think intensity (referring to weight lifted) has a lot to do with fatigue. Anyways, this has meant my problem is that I want my clients to rest and not rush through a program, while my clients don’t feel the need to rest and not rush through the program. Hmmm, a toughie!! Fillers to the rescue!! My solution was to make use of rest time so that I get the clients to actually give their muscle groups some rest between tri-sets. This was accomplished by attacking either mobility or flexibility for 30-60 seconds then continuing along. So far, the clients feel like they are doing something during the rest and therefore enjoying that they are not paying me to standing around for a percentage of the hour. Win-win in my opinion.

Until the next rainy day,

CB

Ahhhhhhhhh, you gotta love starting out on a new job… There’s the excitement of starting something new coupled with that uncertainty of what its actually going to be like. Last week, strength coach Elliott Hulse made a new video blog which ended with a really good perspective on many levels:  Get really comfortable being fu**** uncomfortable.

So this new job of mine…I guess its both similar and dis-similar to what I was doing at SST. Am I training athletes, not really so that’s one point of difference. The really cool thing about it though that gets me fired up and excited is that I don’t have someone else’s training system to follow, so I need to be able to apply all I’ve learned to get results using my own brain. This not only covers program design, but also other facets such as discussing nutrition, flexibility, conditioning, etc. Each session will undoubtedly teach me something which will cause me to reflect on my system of training and adjust of necessary…I LOVE this part because failure is just an opportunity to find a better way to do things.

Anyways, the line Elliott used on his video blog was so good, I’m going to close with it too:

Get really comfortable being fu**** uncomfortable

 

Enjoy your Monday, November the 9th!

CB

As I haven’t started up with the new job officially yet, my content has been lacking since its driven largely by what the people I train teach me. Fortunately I thought I’d bring up a little somethin-somethin from my own workouts and see if any discussion ensues….

Back pain. Lumbar spine. Core stability. Even those outside the fitness industry have started to hear these terms mentioned together more and more. Crunches are out and core stability exercises are in. Almost. Straight-leg situps are being talked about more and more by fitness professionals, but the difference between these and regular ol’ crunches is where the movement is occuring. In crunches, the individual’s spine is flexing whereas in straight-leg varieties the goal is to get movement at the hips while the spine is thought of as a steel rod and shouldn’t move. I’ve played around with these too as I try to be aware of what those who are smarter than me are doing.

Here’s what I’ve run into though: I’ve been doing this core stability stuff for around the last couple years in my own training, and its made a huge difference. But when I try the straight-leg situps, I can’t play by the rules — my spine starts flexing, momentum would be needed, etc. My posture is also in some degree of anterior pelvic tilt. Still. So after all this core stability training, my body/posture still isn’t exactly where I want it to be. Now because of the core training I’ve done and this pelvic tilt issue, my reflection has me pretty happy with my ab strength, pretty happy with my low back strength, and getting happier with my hip mobility, BUH-UT my external obliques seem to have not come along as much as I want. Bottom line: normal straight leg situps for me? Not just yet. The problem is now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to there, and maybe this is pretty secretive since I haven’t been able to find it in articles on the internet or even in products I’ve paid for.

Anyways, last phase I tried negative straight-leg situps. They hurt like hell when I did them, but after 4 weeks, did I notice much of an effect? Not really. Does this mean they don’t work? No, but since I break training up into 3 or 4 week blocks, maybe there is a better way out there which would allow me to follow a progression which is more timely.

Enter my current experiment: Cable-straight leg situps. Basically set up a straight-bar handle at the top of a cable machine and have at it. The point being to use weight to oppose your bodyweight ultimately making the effect of gravity less. Less gravity = an easier version. The goal will be to reduce weight each week to some degree. The other reason I like this version as a solution besides the fact that I’m performing the whole movement is that I can measure progress a lot easier since I can see how much weight I’m using each week. With the bodyweight negative SL situps, I couldn’t measure if I was going lower each week so determining progress would’ve been pretty subjective. In addition, it felt easier to maintain proper form with the cable version.

So thats my current experiment with the straight-leg situps. If you’ve found something else that works well to build these up, I’d love to hear these other perspectives.