This was one of the newer aspects of programming in Coach Boyle’s Functional Strength Coach 3, and I liked the substance for sure, but the logistics of circuits with personal training clients didn’t sit well with me. Being that I’ve been doing mostly in-home personal training for the past 10 or 11 months, the time required for set up, explanations/demonstrations of each of 10 stations, as well as correcting form on the fly with more than one client usually – this just seemed to be one of those great ideas, but not for my situation.

But I am re-visiting the idea. Here’s why:

Since I picked up the job training at one of the Y’s in the city, I have access to an actual gym, which means space. I don’t have to worry about taking up half a condo gym just for a circuit in this case.

One of my clients also mentioned that they wanted less time warming up so that I could stretch her out at the end (…another post…). The key is I had to find a way to shorten the warm-up while not negatively effecting the quality of it. This is a biggie. As a slight tangent, I know sometimes I do not think enough about redundancy in the warm-up so this was another reminder for me about spending some time re-visiting these.

Here’s another big thing that experience seems to remind me about: I don’t have to follow Coach Boyle’s circuit method only “as is”. Speaking respectfully, he is using something that works for him. He doesn’t know about my situation, so it’s my job as a professional and customer to take the big picture of what he’s saying and make it applicable to my situation. The modification I’ve been thinking and tinkering with have been shorter circuits.

Now I have to just figure out how to do isometric holds the way I would like them do within a given time constraint.

A couple more things I may need to look at:

  • A Gymboss or Workout Muse-type time management system – I hate that I always lose track of time because I’m too busy being a coach to my clients. Its surely my fault for not getting one of these systems sooner.
  • I should really look at getting a flipcam.  I’d enjoy making video posts more while also being able to show what I do versus just writing about it. Bret Contreras’s blog post today reminded me of this.

Today I had my second stretching session as per the Stretch to Win protocol created by Ann & Chris Frederick.

First, I will say it is very effective for increasing range of motion. Posture and movement both felt better afterwards. Before getting through all 5 lower body modules, my low back was no longer rounding at parallel during a squat, and I was able to perform a much better hip hinge while testing out a 1-leg straight-leg deadlift pattern. I also felt my trigger points along both iliac crests scream like crazy!!

This is definitely an area I’m interested to see where the new knowledge will take us. With an hour of time with my clients, I need to do something to address tissue length, and I am interested to see how effective can we get in a very limited time. What I like about the Stretch to Win system is how it specifies that it is about stretching fascia as opposed to muscles. Many of their other S2W sentiments also echo the suggestions Thom Myers made at the seminar in Providence this past June.

My reservations are with a shotgun approach. How is a shotgun approach considered progressive? I have no doubt that some of it can help , but I would always like to see an assessment before attempting to affect mobility. How else do you know what actually needs stretching?

One particular “screen” during one of the modules is to take the lower back into a flexed position. What reason does this serve in a personal training situation? With everyone’s knowledge of sit-ups, hanging leg raises, etc and their lack of knowledge of core stability, I’m not convinced it NEEDS to be checked. Does going after core stability ever present a concern? I’m doubtful again.

Overall it seems like an effective, but time-consuming protocol. I think the next step will be to take from it what needs to be used to garner the desired result (increased range of motion and therefore, better movement/reduced injury risk), while cutting away any excess which is not helping to achieve the desired result.

Just to finish off, I also dislike the fact that you need another person to administer the stretches; do we need better self-stretches? Can PNF be modified for self-stretching? There also seems to be a lack of thought given to the short vs stiff classification…. (Although perhaps its just covered as a separate workshop/certification…hmmm)

Lots of food for thought, and for the most part it’s tasty.