I recently was subjected to watching the biggest load of crap I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing, which can be viewed below:
A couple of my clients sent me this video pretty much trashing it because they know better and can’t believe how much of a joke the word vomit was that comes from her mouth. I can’t agree enough. I usually don’t personally target anyone, but hey this is my blog, so I can do what I want.
Tracy Anderson is EXACTLY what is wrong with the fitness industry. She is sending the wrong information, with none of her information even being relatively correct. I don’t feel like going over all of the information that she says and what the correct information is, so click on this post by Dean Somerset titled, A Logical Argument Against the Tracy Anderson Method.
Dean does an awesome job breaking down a lot of the flaws in Tracy’s supposed “Method”. There is very little benefit from following these protocols. Tracy implying that women will get bulky from lifting heavier weights than 3-5lbs is the biggest load of crap ever. First off ladies, I know a majority of your purses weigh over 5lbs, yet I don’t see any of you “bulky” and you are lifting that for hours. Don’t forget that when you go shopping you are carrying bags that exceed well over 5lbs in total. Carrying a kid? That would be out of the question as well, especially as they get older and begin to weigh close to 30-40lbs! You WOULD definitely get bulky from that…..Oh wait, you didn’t?!?!
Here are videos of three women who consistently weight train with heavy weights and as you can see by the videos below none of them are BULKY.
This is my girlfriend Deadlifting for the first time ever, she was excited how easy 115 and 135 felt, so wanted to try heavier. Managed to get 6 reps at 155lbs, well above her bodyweight. A few things to clean up on form, especially with the head and upper back (both of which looked good at lighter weights), but a great effort nonetheless.
Here is Nicole at 125lbs trapbar deadlifting 225lbs for her 1-rep max! She is a distance runner and has been destroying all of her runs since we started lifting. Prior to us training she would just do cardio and never felt strong when running.
Here is Rosalba trapbar deadlifting at 129lbs her 1-rep max of 245lbs! Rosalba has been lifting heavy for over 20 years now and has a body most would kill for. She is an extreme case and has always pushed herself yet, even she is NOT bulky!
Three women; three examples! Women get out there and lift some heavy stuff! By all means, make sure form is correct and reach out to someone who knows what they are doing if you are unsure. Don’t let people tell you that you shouldn’t lift heavy, if they are saying that here are the reasons:
1) It is a guy who doesn’t want you to lift more than him.
2) It is someone who has NO IDEA what they are talking about.
3) It is another woman who has no idea what she is talking about, but heard about it from another person who has no idea what they are talking about, i.e. Tracy Anderson, etc…
Ladies, you will love how awesome it feels to be STRONG, trust me!
I don’t think I have been able to go to a seminar this year and not have some type of bad luck involved. As everyone is aware, unless you have been living under a rock, Thursday Night into Friday Morning of last week was a little intense if you live near Boston. Jason and I decided to leave earlier than we had planned and headed down to Mike Boyle’s Strength & Conditioning in Woburn, MA to pick up Kevin Carr and Brendon Rearick for our trip to Physique in Manhattan for Neurokinetic Therapy Level 2.
Jason and I had actually never been to Mike’s place, which is really weird since it is so close. Brendon took us on a tour of the place while Kevin was finishing up with his client. If you haven’t had the chance the check the place out, you are missing out. Talk about an awesome facility. I took a few photos, but accidentally deleted them while transferring videos over to my laptop. Once Kevin was ready, we headed out and prayed that we wouldn’t run into that many issues, especially since pretty much all of Boston was shut down! Aside from a little bit of traffic, we made it with no problem. (We will forget to mention that we pretty much stayed in a hole in the wall. Lesson learned, never try to shop for a deal in NYC)
When I attended Neurokinetic Therapy Level 1 in Detroit in October 2012 I wrote a review of Level 1 titled: My NKT Experience If you haven’t had the opportunity to read up on NKT, do so with the level 1 recap, as it will speed you up-to-date. Now that we got that underway, time to dive into the meat of Level 2.
Day 1: 7-10pm — Advanced Core/Subsystems
There are 5 subsystems, understanding each and how they work makes it much easier to start to get a handle on where to look when someone comes in with a problem. If the basics (level 1) isn’t working, you can start checking accordingly or based off what history shows.
Intrinsic Subsystem (We covered this as the last topic on Sunday)
Deep Longitudinal Subsystem
Posterior Oblique Subsystem
Anterior Oblique Subsystem
For further review of these Subsystems, you can check out this article HERE, which covers these topics perfectly.
Important Key Notes:
Test strongest subsystem to weakest subsystem. If you find a problem in the strongest subsystem, there will be an issue in another system for sure. Fix that subsystem before moving on and investigating, may clean up if higher system is functioning properly.
Never assume that due to symptoms provided that there has to be a problem in the subsystem you would normally find or expect.
Treat/work with what you find.
Posterior Oblique Subsystem is important to take into account when dealing with athletes, common to see this system being a problem.
Use Level 1 material first with your thinking, but if no luck, then begin to investigate the core subsystems next.
Day 1 finished off well. This is a whole new piece to the puzzle that has already helped clear up some issues I had been having with current clients. Definitely material that I will be able to use with a lot of clients that I am currently working with and it will save a lot of time investigating problems with new clients. At this point in time, knowing that we had lots more to learn, my brain was already on overload. Clearly, the wisest decision that could be made would be to head into Time Square for a little fun.
Day 2 – 10am-5pm – Functional Opposites, Rotation, and Gait Patterns
Let’s begin to look at the body as it is meant to be looked at, with movement and not just separate muscles that are dictated by what an A&P book tell us that they do. You know what, during movement, pretty much every muscle is involved. Yes, some muscles much more than others, but nearly every muscle still involved nonetheless.
For example, a runner is having tons of knee pain. That said runner has been to the doctor and all tests come back clean, Dr. says take time off, but even after following the advice there is still knee pain present. At this point, one would get frustrated. Quad tests weak by normal muscle testing standards, could this be the issue? A few sessions of treatment from a Physical Therapist help, but still some knee pain. Improvement overall, but still improvement. Where has all the focus been so far? The knee and quad? Any venture away from there? Not in this example. Venturing our viewpoint of movement, what if the quad is weak as demonstrated, but being compensated by the hamstring, popliteus, or calf on that same side. Both anterior and posterior sides of the leg are involved and have the opposite actions during this functional movement, i.e. running. Releasing the compensating muscle followed by quad activation drills in this case would yield the proper pain relief.
LaVack Fitness Note: Not slamming PTs, just using an example of what is commonly done in many PTs offices when they only treat the source of the pain. If you are only treating the source of the pain, catch up with times!
Realize how the body is moving and don’t just take one major body part into consideration, but rather it’s functional opposite when problems arrive. It will help solve many of the problems that you have been having.
Now this is a fun one! When all of the other options don’t account for too much and you are still struggling to make progress with your client, where should you look? Rotation! Even in the simplest of activities, walking for example, rotation is involved and needed. The more advanced and challenging the activity, especially as we begin to start to think about weekend warriors or athletes, the task of assessing rotation becomes even more important.
Assess Thoracic Spine First
If limitation is both sides, test spinal segments at t-spine then try either spinal segments at cervical or lumbar spine. If a spinal segment needs adjustment, remember to stay in your scope of practice and refer out.
If one-sided, first check for involvement of cervical or lumbar spine.
One t-spine cleared, check lumbar then cervical.
Investigate further if needed.
This is the fun stuff! Talk about taking movement testing to a whole new level! I deal with a lot of runners, so being able to learn this assessment was awesome. It really made a lot of things make much more sense. Muscles can hold in certain patterns and completely fail in other patterns. We looked at Left Rectus Femoris and tested by itself, it was a good hold, but then tested in lower limb gait pattern and it blew out and then some! This is a huge connecting piece that now thinking about and looking at really begin to make a lot of sense when a client is having issues, but the standard tests and treatments are not helping.
Look at Gait in all it’s patterns
Start with typical pattern, use sport-specific if needed.
Gait patterns will expose a problem that otherwise might test strong when tested alone.
Lateral Gait matters and can expose a lot of issues as well.
I could ramble on about everything from Day 2 for hours, but that would equate to a very lengthy post and take away from the fact that you need to experience Level 1 and Level 2 for yourself. Once the seminar was over, we (Boston crew) went out to dinner with a few more people people from class, along with David Weinstock and Perry Nickelston. It was a great time getting to chat and pick their brains outside of class. I forgot where we went, but the food was good and the conversation was great.
Day 3 – 10am-5pm – Joint Compression/Decompression and TMJ, Diaphragm, Pelvic Floor
If a muscle isn’t able to compensate to help out, there isn’t many other options. In level 1, we learned about joint capsules being able to help compensate and dug into a little bit with hip compression as a form of compensation. We decided to look at other areas and begin to piece together when these would normally come into play during compensation. Very interesting to see how much compression can help out in order to keep the body going. Doesn’t matter where the joint is in the body, it is capable of helping out.
The Lumbar Spine loves to compress in relation to hip and core musculature.
The Cervical Spine can be a compensator anywhere in the body.
If limited stability in thoracic spine, the cervical or lumbar spine may compress.
Use client history, this will help suspect if a compression issue in many cases, especially when dealing with compression of other joints outside of the spine.
TMJ, Diaphragm, and Pelvic Floor:
The three major intrinsic muscles of the body are now finally being talked about. If all else fails and the issue lies from a muscular standpoint, there is likely some compensation occurring from jaw clenching, breathe holding, or pelvic tightening. It is unbelievable to see how powerful these three can be. Clicking of the jaw or a lateral shift of the jaw can both be linked to muscular compensations a majority of the time. If nothing else has worked, testing these powerful muscles can be that missing link.
Lateral Shift in the jaw can explain a lot about what may be going on with the body.
If Pelvic Floor is facilitated doing Kegals will NOT be beneficial rather actually cause more problems.
A lot of improper breathing patterns can be fixed along, if remove compensation.
Always test with a soft vision, always look for clenching and holding breathe.
Getting a good client history will help with figuring out if testing the Pelvic Floor is needed or not.
Overall this course took the information learned from Level 1 and blew all that information out of the water. Knowing level 1 is important, obviously, but taking that information and expanding with the new insight from level 2 is going to be able to connect the pieces much more easily, especially with the clients where there was some help, but still some snagging issues that couldn’t just quite figure out.
David’s way of teaching is unlike many when it comes to teaching. His passion and love for what he does shows through with every single word. You can definitely tell how much he wants to help and he realizes that he can help more people by teaching others. Thank you for everything that you do David! It is always a pleasure to learn from you! The information during the course is very well laid out and thanks to the awesome assistants for helping answer questions, especially while David was with another group during our practice sessions. Very much appreciate and definitely awesome!
Very excited to be a part of the first ever level 3 course come late June in NYC again! It is going to be an awesome experience, but I have some work to do because everyone that is going to be there are top of the line!
I would like to take the time to thank Will Davis for this guest blog! I feel that this is a very important topic that doesn’t get covered often enough. Many times we are so wrapped up in impressing other fitness professionals, that we sometimes skip the basics. Will does a great job in this blog tackling some different thoughts that need to be taken into consideration when just beginning a workout plan and learning how to structure your workouts properly.
The beginning of one’s training should be the most simple of their entire training career. It’s also the time during which they will make the most progress and get the best results. However, a poorly designed programme in the early stages can prevent the trainee from getting a great head start in their training, thus slowing down the time it takes for them to optimally reach their training goal.
Long-term, the training programme must reflect the needs and wants of the trainee, which ultimately will be for one of the following:
To look better (more muscle and/or less body fat)
To perform better (more strength, speed, power etc.)
To feel better (greater range of movement, less pain, improved mental clarity etc.)
Short-term, regardless of the aforementioned goals, the main objective is getting the trainee comfortable in the gym.
Now, if they’re a true beginner, after a few weeks of training they will inevitably perform better and feel better, and if they’ve been using an appropriate diet for them, then they’ll look better too. But the real key to this is making sure that the initial programme is suitable, hence the topic of this post.
One of the principles of training is that ‘individual differences’ exist – essentially, what may work for one person may be completely useless for another.
I discussed some of these differences in a recent post on my own blog, which include, but are not limited to age, mobility, stability, job, current level of strength and current level of conditioning
Initially, we can probably assume that the number of sets and repetitions will be a constant variable amongst all trainees; however the above factors will determine the exercise selections and the rest periods.
Exercise selection and continuums
Remember that the goal for beginners is to make them more comfortable in the gym, therefore they need to be exposed to a number of different movement patterns, which are as follows:
Now, despite a large variety of movements available, you still need to take into account the goal of the trainee. For example, if hypertrophy is the reason for their training, it’s unlikely that they’ll need to do any ground work.
So now the beginner knows which categories of exercises to choose from, now they need to know which exercise to choose.
Many exercises lie somewhere on a continuum from simple to complex. For example, take the following exercise continuum for the hip hinge:
Broomstick hip hinges Pull-throughs Romanian deadlifts Conventional deadlifts
The key is to know whereabouts on the continuum the trainee should begin and then master that movement before moving on. The further to the right the exercises lie, the more demanding the exercise, which will typically bring the trainee to their goal quicker, thus it is important that they continually try to progress. With the help of a good coach/trainer, the new trainee can start higher up the continuum than they would if they were training alone as they can be taught how to do the exercises properly with good form.
Time absolutely must be spent at the beginning of training mastering technique in the key exercises including. Most specifically, this pertains to the more complex exercises such as squats, deadlifts and press variations, but even with the more simple of exercises, great technique should be encouraged from the outset. The beginning is also a great time for the trainee to learn about muscle activation. Time should be spent learning to ‘feel’ muscle contractions, so that when they train the exercises, they are able to activate the appropriate muscle groups.
The key muscles that time should be spent learning how to activate would include:
Essentially any muscle that is likely to be inhibited in today’s modern society should be taught how to contract and done so during the warm-up. The exercises don’t need to be loaded up heavy – remember that a small stimulus is enough to evoke an adaptation – so using lighter weights will teach confidence and also allow the trainee to really hammer in on being able to perform the exercises correctly. If time is spent nailing technique early on, it will pay dividends in the long haul.
In order to move closer to one’s training goals, one must always train to get stronger in the exercises that they’re training. Training for strength usually means training with an intensity of 85% of the individual’s 1RM, however, for a beginner that would be far too much loading and will only end in disaster. So how does the beginner get stronger? Well, fortunately there are 2 great facts about beginners that give them an easy ride (initially):
Beginners can get stronger using loads of 20-40% 1RM (thanks to neural adaptations)
Beginners will have a fantastic recovery and should be stronger from session to session
So beginners can get stronger each and every session without having to actually train specifically for strength. Awesome!
The training volume will vary from person to person, but a key rule is that beginners do not need a huge variety in their training as it will confuse their body. Depending on the training goal, 3-6 exercises would be all that is necessary. The more exercises, the fewer number of sets and vice versa.
In terms of repetitions, I personally follow 2 rules:
Lower reps (5-6) for the more complex exercises (squats, deadlifts, chin-ups etc.)
Moderate reps (6-10) for exercises that aren’t too complex but will fatigue easily under load (single leg work, upper back work etc.)
Higher reps (10-15) for exercises that require less co-ordination and involve muscle groups that the individual needs help ‘activating’ (glute bridges, trap-3 raises etc.)
Using too many reps for complex exercises means a drastic reduction in load (even though high loads aren’t necessary for strength development in beginners, you still need to provide as much of a challenge as possible) and can also allow fatigue to kick in and compromise proper motor learning.
Using too few repetitions for the more simple exercises means that it’s unlikely that the muscle group has received a training effect.
Unless the trainee is very deconditioned, lengthy rest periods aren’t always required. The time in between sets should be used to evaluate performance of the previous set and prepare for the next set. As soon as they’re good to go, they should do. With time should come strength development, thus longer rest periods will be warranted as each set becomes more and more demanding.
The more one can train, the faster they’ll progress. Although someone new to training can make progress from just one session a week, they’ll see much faster results from training at least 3 times a week. More training sessions also permits the number of exercises to be spread out over the week so that each session can be devoted to a smaller number of exercises, giving the individual a more simple stimulus to adapt to.
As stated earlier in the post, regardless of the goal, the trainee should be training with the intention of getting stronger from workout to workout. As the trainee develops more confidence via increased co-ordination and strength, more appropriate loading schemes can be applied to bring about their goal faster. For example, sticking with hypertrophy as the goal, once they’ve fully mastered the squat and developed a decent level of strength, utilising higher repetitions (8-12), will elicit faster improvements in muscle size than continuously sticking with lower repetitions. In addition to changing the weight; rest periods, tempos and exercise selections can all be manipulated to accelerate progress.
For most males who start training, the goal is most probably to get massive ‘guns’ and a huge set of ‘chesticles’, thus a programme full of biceps curls and bench presses is likely to ensue. However, the trainee can get these results much faster and have them more sustainable long term, should they practice a bit of proper planning. Better yet, they can just hire someone to do it for them and remove all guesswork!
About the Author
Will Davis is personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist based at Strength London – a London based gym that delivers first class personal training and nutritional consulting services, where his aim is to make every client he works with look, feel, and be awesome. You can read his blog at www.wdtscrapbook.wordpress.com, where he uploads his thoughts and ideas concerning the never-ending quest to achieving a lean, strong and healthy body. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/willdavistraining1
I haven’t had a guest blog in a while, so I reached out to one of my clients, Amanda Patti, to write a guest blog of her choice since I really enjoyed the 2-part blog she wrote on Gluten Basics: Part 1 Part 2
Amanda has been in the Yoga world for many years and has experienced a lot of what that world has to offer, but has also seen many flaws that have come about from being too engulfed in moving and not on movement. I really enjoyed this piece as she does a great job diving in to where she sees flaws in the yoga studio-based community. Like anything, there are people that focus on moving well than moving more and others who just focusing on moving more. I encourage everyone to exercise, but lets make that exercise safe, so we are not out of commission for weeks, months or years, depending on the severity of the injury. I can’t speak too much about the Yoga community as I have never dived in, but Amanda has experienced the field from both a teacher and a student perspective. This piece will really get you to open up your eyes on how quality of movement matters, enjoy!
What is yoga all about? Yoga means “to yolk” or “union.” It is a practice by which the student unites body, mind, and soul. There are many aspects to yoga and for the purpose of this blog, I’m focusing primarily on asana – poses, the physical practice of yoga and how we can begin the process of bridging the gap between yoga and movement (after all, yoga is a form of movement). I’ve had the pleasure of seeing both sides of the coin: from admittedly having been a bit of a yoga snob, to studying the Alexander Technique and questioning everything I saw in yoga class – alignment, what was missing, and why people were working so hard to “get somewhere” – to viewing yoga from a movement perspective. I’ve jumped both sides of the fence and have visited both countries. Having seen what they can both offer, I hope to be a bit of Switzerland – a neutral zone between the two communities, bridging the gap, and eventually offering techniques and experience to both sides.
What are some important points of consideration from both a yoga and movement perspective?
Completion of a 200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training used to mean something. Being known as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) used to mean something. Now it’s little more than a piece of paper and a chunk of change in “the governing body’s” pockets.
People became yoga teachers because they were compelled to do so. It was a calling. Nowadays, there are as many 200-hr. Yoga Teacher Trainings as there are Dunkin Donuts – practically one on every block. Becoming a yoga teacher has become “the cool” thing to do.
What happens? Instead of that cup of joe that’s full bodied and complex, you get either sludge that’s been cooking on the warmer all day, or coffee that’s little better than dishwater. Don’t get me wrong, not all teacher trainings are like this, nor are all teachers like this. There are many good ones. However, it does require some effort to find that great cup of coffee – that great yoga teacher and great teacher training.
So, why is finding and working with a great teacher so important? People aren’t lifting heavy weights or putting themselves at risk by flowing through various poses and attempting to turn themselves into pretzels, right? Nor are they potentially putting themselves at risk if they have medical issues and are doing a heated vinyasa (flow) class where the temperature can exceed 90º, and you’re so close to your neighbor that you’re not only swimming on a beach towel soaked with your own sweat, but you’re also swimming in theirs. Quite frankly, I don’t want to be that intimate with anyone else’s sweat unless it’s in the throes of great sex, but maybe that kind of sweat pool floats your boat.
Where does the danger come in? Are you, or is your yoga instructor, inquiring about your student’s medical conditions, injuries, and limitations prior to working with them? If you are – great! If not – start!
You are taking your students/clients through a large range of motion (past the end range), often known as “drive-by yoga,” where the students don’t have the time to think about alignment, let alone feel it, because with each and every breath they’re moving on to another pose. Why? They want to sweat. They want a workout. Tell you what – if they are fully engaged in what they are doing, they will create their own sweat – their own internal fire (known as tapas), and they will get a heck of a workout.
So, maybe things get slowed down. Maybe they don’t. Ask yourself the following questions:
-Do you know alignment?
-Do your students know alignment?
-Are you actually teaching?
Oftentimes what I see in studio classes, in gym classes, and people practicing on their own are common misalignments. What can misalignments lead to?
Is the red flag going off yet? It should be.
Let’s look at three common yoga poses and see what happens when the body isn’t aligned…
Alignment is key in keeping your students/clients safe. What happens when we’ve gone over and over proper alignment and the student is not or cannot “get it”? Is the student being ego-centric – “this feels right and I’ve been doing this pose this way for years so why should I change?” Honestly, at times, yes. Yes, yogis do have egos. Some have mighty big egos. Or, is the student struggling with whatever particular action or movement you are asking of them?
The yogis and yoga teachers reading this blog are probably asking what a functional movement screen is and how on earth it can benefit them and their students. Right?
What is FMS/SFMA? FMS and SFMA (and Assess and Correct – I’m trying not to leave anyone out) are just that – movement screens. They are movement screens/graded systems, like the overhead squat and rolling patterns, designed to evaluate how you move in key assessment areas and identify areas of asymmetry and/or dysfunction. Sounds good, no? If you’re not sure what the overhead squat is or rolling patterns are, I’ve included links at the end where you can learn more about them.
NKT is an assessment and treatment modality that specifically addresses those areas of asymmetry, dysfunction, and the root – the why – of your or your students’/clients’ pain.
Put them together and what do you get? One heck of a killer peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
1. Identify the areas of dysfunction using a movement screen.
2. Address the areas of dysfunction.
3. “Move better then move more!” ~ Gray Cook
Is this directly applicable to yoga classes? Truthfully told, no. Let’s face it, no yoga teacher is going to take the time and effort to screen every single student that walks in their door. It’s not going to happen.
What this is directly applicable and extremely beneficial to are yoga therapeutics. Yoga therapeutics are often taught one on one between instructor and student, specifically addressing either student’s goals, etc., or as more often the case, injury, chronic pain, alignment misunderstandings…Applicable? Hell yes!
Scenario – yoga student comes in for a therapeutic session complaining of shoulder pain. You watch the student move through a few postures, perhaps do a little manual therapy, then fully address using principles of alignment. Maybe the alignment principles clarified in the student’s body were all they needed to feel better. Maybe they weren’t.
Let’s say the student’s problem was improperly engaging shoulder loop. You have them “do” shoulder loop ad nauseum. Did you stop to discover if the shoulder was actually the issue? Maybe the issue is somewhere else and the pain decided to camp out in the student’s shoulder. Maybe that pain is from the student using their shoulder muscles to compensate for another set of muscles that aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Hmmm….
So, by engaging shoulder loop ad nauseum, you may be addressing one issue, but are you hitting the nail on the head? And, are you potentially creating another compensation pattern that will rear its ugly head later on down the road?
Scenario – Do you have a student whose head always collapses during backbends? Have you been harping on them about engaging shoulder loop, then skull loop, and their head still collapses? Maybe the issue isn’t a lack of understanding about the alignment principles. Maybe their neck flexors aren’t working in relation to their neck extensors, for example. Maybe their Deep Front Line is shot to hell and their entire intrinsic core is offline.
Lastly, your student has tight hamstrings, a Type A personality, and tries very hard in class. You assume they need more organic energy – extension out of the body (a type of mobility, if you please). Energetically speaking, perhaps so. But, anatomically? Perhaps your student’s hamstrings are tight because they are busy trying to stabilize his/her body. Stretch them and what are you doing? 1. Potentially tightening a knot in a necklace. 2. Potentially removing the only stability they have.
Would you really know if you’re not digging deeper?
“If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.” ~ Alwyn Cosgrove
What does all of this mean? It’s time for a cease-fire and to drop some knowledge bombs in Switzerland.
Both movement professionals and yoga teachers have a lot they can learn from each other. Why? What better reason do you need than the fact that you will be helping your clients and your students feel better, move better, and move more. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
Lastly, for rolling patterns, check out this video by Dr. Perry and Chris Flores from Flo Fitness:
Amanda Patti, BS Bio, has been a licensed massage therapist for the past 6 years. She has over 500 hours training in Anusara and Hatha Yoga with world-renowned teachers Marc St. Pierre, Desiree Rumbaugh, Andrew Rivin, Sianna Sherman, Lynne Paterson, and Sara Davidson Flanders. In the past two years, Amanda has been invited as a guest teacher at local 200-hr Yoga Teacher Trainings, instructing Basic Traditional and Functional Anatomy for the Yoga Teacher. She also immersed herself for one year at the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge’s Alexander Teacher Training Course – a truly amazing and incredible experience. While new to the movement scene, Amanda hopes to begin to bridge the gap between two incredible and amazing game-changing worlds.
In this edition of Exercise of the Week, I will be going over the Dumbbell Goblet Squat. I personally prefer the Kettlebell Goblet Squat, but I realize not everyone has access to Kettlebells or if they do might not have KBs heavy enough to make the lift beneficial.
Who Will Benefit From It: This exercise is great for individuals that are just beginning to learn how to squat, individuals that I am teaching how to activate their lats during a squat pattern, pretty much anyone that doesn’t have any injuries preventing them from squatting. I use this with my clients who are squatting some solid numbers as well, even though they wouldn’t have a DB or KB heavy enough to match, I like the depth they can hit with this move fluidly.
Why I Like It: This exercise is one of my main exercises when I am first really teaching someone how to Squat (assuming that I have already taught them how to distribute the weight properly). Many people when first working out have mediocre control of their core and when squatting, the upper body drops. When using a weight either, DB or KB, in a goblet squat position it activates the core and allows for the individual to begin to “groove” a more fluid squat position and begin to properly use the core during a squat motion. This also allows me to be able load up a squat pattern with my client without increasing too much unneeded compensation.
Key Points and Cues: - Range of Motion is important, but if the hips are locked up and you feel your tailbone tuck under as you lower down, don’t go any further.
- In the video, I take my elbows to mid-to-lower-thigh, this will be about parallel for most people. If this is easy and form still maintained, take a wider base and aim for the elbows to hit inside thigh.
- Keep the arms pressed into your ribs, this will keep the lats engaged, helping to create stiffness for the upper body.
- Keep the glutes squeezed on the way down and when coming back up SQUEEZE them hard! Use the glutes to drive you back up to the starting position.
- Your body better be maintaining a upright posture, as this is one of the main points, if you find yourself tipping forward squeeze your core and make sure you are getting those lats involved!
- Point your toes slightly out, this will help open the hips up a bit, allowing you to get deeper.
Let me know how it goes! You can go pretty heavy with this movement and reap a lot of benefits. I usually like to include this in after Barbell Front or Back Squats. It is also a good exercise that you can do on your non-leg days for a couple sets if you are really trying to help clean up or improve on your squat performance.
I don’t think I have been able to go to a seminar without something happening that makes me realize my luck is always a little off. I stayed in the Bronx on Saturday night with a couple friends from college and in the morning took the local “6″ train from the Bronx to Union Square, except 4 stops into the 18 stop trip it broke down. At this point, I had no idea where to hop onto another train or where to find a bus. I had to take a taxi, but had limited funds on me, as I wasn’t expecting to need cash, so I ended up falling short and got dropped off 3.5 miles away from the seminar. Luckily, I left with plenty of time so took a very brisk walk down Broadway, etc.. and caught up on some scenery:
A small hiccup to the day, but a nice time to pretend to be normal for a bit and not just a knowledge seeking junkie. I arrived on time and ready for the seminar to begin, which took place at Physique. The two presenters consisted of Perry Nickelston of Stop Chasing Pain and Emily Splichal of Evidence Based Fitness Academy, needless to say, I knew that I was going to be learning a lot. I can’t speak highly enough about how well these two are able to take complicated assessments and make them much easier to understand. Their passion, willingness to always be better, and love for teaching is clearly evident with every single word that comes out of their mouth! Now it is time to dive into the recap!
Movement Never Lies! – Perry Nickelston
- “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” – Bruce Lee
- The ground is the great equalizer for everyone, can’t cheat.
- Everybody has movement dysfunction….they just don’t know it….yet!
Discovery Process: 1. Subconscious Dysfunction
2. Conscious Dysfunction
3. Conscious Function
4. Unconscious Function – This is where we want everyone to be!
- Fear Factor is HUGE and can be very limiting!
- Safety and Stability —- We are inherently unstable beings — always seeking to be stable.
- Mobility isn’t always needed or should occur.
- Realize what the Punctum Fixum is.
- The body is NOT stupid and will go into compensation if needed!
- Strategic Efficiency — it exists and your body will use it!
- Safety and Stability above anything —- Primal brain vs Prefrontal
- Your body takes the path of least resistance.
- Loaded vs. Unloaded — Huge difference! If body can’t handle an unloaded position what do you think it will do loaded?
- Intrinsic Core (Diaphragm, Pelvic Floor, Transverse Abdominis, Lumbar Multifidus, Deep Neck Flexors, and Posterior Fibers of Internal Obliques) are most important!
- Deep Core is 2nd
- If you Single Leg Stance (SLS) sucks — Your Lateral Line is compromised. Example: Knees come in during squat — Peroneals and Adductors Effected.
- If SLS sucks —- Don’t run! Own Single Leg Stance stability before running or you are just asking to get injured!
This is where the fun happened. It’s always great to hear what the presenters have to say, but using that information in a hands-on session was awesome! Really gets those neurons firing!
Perry led us through Upper and Lower Body Rolling Patterns, both supine and prone. Along with modified birddog and the diagonal sit. All of these proved to be valuable tools when assessing certain subsystems in the body. It was great to hear how Perry cues and the different information that was provided while we were practicing was awesome and extremely valuable!
Overall, an awesome presentation! Very valuable and I have used a lot of that information this week to work on my clients!
.Lower Extremity Functional Movement Assessment – Emily Splichal:
- During the day the average person walks 5,000-8,000 steps.
- Walking results in 1x-1.5x Bodyweight in Ground Reaction Forces
- Running results in 3x-4x Bodyweight in Ground Reaction Forces
- Plyometrics results in 10x Bodyweight in Ground Reaction Forces
- The foot is the foundation to human movement.
- Closed chain muscle activation patterns begin from the plantarfoot up.
Possible Causes for The Ankle Joint to be Locked Up:
- Tight Gastroc and/or Soleus
- Bony Blocks, Spurs, Fusions
- Soft Tissue
- Musculotendinous, Fascial, Scar Tissue
- Joint Instability, Spasm
Compensation of Ankle Joint:
- Around Joint —- Eversion of Subtalar Joint
- Quick Heal Lift
- Late Mid-Stance Twist
- Assess the Subtalar Joint from Behind
- The 1st MPJ – At least 30-35 degrees, but best at 60-70 degrees
- More Hip Extension = More Greater Toe Dorsiflexion
- If limited Great toe dorsiflexion – stop pushing, pidgeon toe, or fall out to side of foot.
- Lateral head of gastroc – pulls out of external rotation
- Cadence: Step Rate – 109-122 steps per minute
- Stride Length: Distance between 2 consecutive contacts of same foot, 4 feet.
- Stance Phase 60% vs Swing Phase 40%
Emily did an awesome job here! She went through step-by-step different aspects of Closed-Chain, Open-Chain and Gait Assessments that she goes through on a daily basis to get an idea of what is going on. Obviously in some cases you are not going to know exactly what is going on, especially if a bony block, but begins to give some insight into how exactly the foot is working. Understanding movement here begins to shed some light on what is happening further up the chain. It was awesome to watch her mind at work, especially when she looked at some of the trainers while we were doing assessments on each other! Love to see different view points on helping people out! A lot of great assessments to look at and take into consideration and very helpful especially since I work with a lot of runners!
Overall, I would definitely recommend ANYTHING that Dr. Emily or Dr. Perry teach for a course! You will learn a lot and have a bunch of take home information, which will make you better and continue to set you apart from the competition! On that note, Dr. Emily will be having a Barefoot Training Specialist Course at Kiki Pilates in the Beverly Athletic Club on May 11th, which you can find more information about HERE: The nice thing about that is I don’t even need to leave work in order to learn!
By no means are these the only 10 mistakes that new trainers will make, just some common ones that we see. I teamed up with Jason Mason for this post!
#10 – Lack of Passion
Jason: This is usually seen in the first couple weeks. Someone who liked to workout and thought just because they were in shape they were going to be able to kill it in the fitness industry. Friends and family telling them day in and day out that it would be awesome for them. However, they lack passion, which shows up in their talent, much like the singers in the first round of American Idol. This also comes from those who just can’t seem to find what they want to do and personal training has a cheap upfront cost to get into the field if your a good reader and test taker. I personally hope this changes in the near future, so those who lack passion will have a slightly harder time receiving the certifications to deliver something that so important to people’s health!
#9 – Burnout and Scheduling
Jason: This is something that is learned as time goes on. If the personal trainer or the manager does not notice when someone is burning the candle at both ends it is bound to be a short road. It is often seen at the beginning, the trainer wants to please everyone and make a good paycheck so they push themselves and fill their schedule. However, they forget to take care of themselves. How can we tell people to take care of their bodies and mental state if we do not do it ourselves? It works both ways. We all have a set number we would like to hit financially, as well as goals to hit mentally in order to feel achievement. We need to work smarter not harder to achieve the same end result.
#8 – Fear of Losing Clients
Brandon: So you are a personal trainer? Well guess what, you are not in the fitness business, you are in the people business. People come to a trainer for help to reach a goal, but not just to be given a bunch of exercises. We live in the world of Google, muscle mags covering shelves, and terribly written cookie-cutter programs everywhere, so if the client was coming to you for exercises alone….why would they pay $99 for an hour if they can get their information for free? Your client is coming to you because they are seeking help, but will STAY with you because of YOU.
Some clients will leave after a few sessions, as there are some who are only looking for a program to be built for them. Realize that this is going to happen and don’t be offended when it does. If you build a quality program for them and let them know it will only be good for 4-8 weeks depending on their current fitness level, they will be back to get a new program. Assuming they are following good nutritional practices as well and seeing good results, they will rave about you!
#7 – Lacking a System
Jason: A system is what keeps both the personal trainer and the client on track with the end result. Without a system we cannot achieve new PR’s (personal records), understand the milestones that have been hit, and see what types of training are working for the individual. Such as HIIT, slow endurance, HR training, etc. There are many ways to do this, but there should be a way for you to check in with your clients and the progress of your training program!
#6 – Using Cookie Cutter Programs
Brandon: We have all seen them, the trainer that has one client that is seeking weight loss with knee issues do the same program as another client who is looking to gain muscle and has no health issues or pain. These types of trainers don’t make it in this industry. There needs to be some sort of program in place that focuses on individual considerations for each person. If you are training 1v1, each of those clients should receive an individualized plan. If you do a group environment, there should be properly regressed or progressed exercises depending on the person, but won’t be as individualized as the person who comes in for the private session.
If you currently are dealing with an injury, it would definitely be in your best interest to seek a few private sessions with a trainer who is used to working with individuals with injuries. Just because you are injured doesn’t mean you should stop training. There is countless research out there providing a lot of insight into the benefits of exercising while injured. Clearly we want to keep you away from movements that the injury will not enjoy, but there is still a lot we can do. The worst thing I could see is someone not working out when injured (unless very severe).
#5 – Use of Too Many “Smart” Words
Jason and Brandon: This is usually done as soon as a personal trainer gets out of school. It is good to use smart words or words that relate to the body, but make sure you explain them. You do not want to just forget about the human body, but the average person is not going to understand the “latin origins” of muscles. They will understand front & back. Not anterior and posterior, but if you explain it they will then be able to understand other fitness information, maybe even be able to decipher the difference between what is worth reading and what is…..well not worth the ink or paper it was written with/on. In our combined experience in the personal training industry, only 2 people have ever asked any anatomy based questions on origin and insertion. You should know it, so you know how the body operates, but your client is just trying to reach their goals and will rarely be concerned with some A&P lessons.
#4 – Lack of Gym Awareness
Jason: We get out of a class or certification and we feel we know it all. We tend to do only the things we are good at. If we were to venture off into other parts of the gym and learn how each piece works, it would create many other opportunities. Just think of the conversations you could have with a member or client if you could show them how to use a piece of equipment that you did not believe in. It would then be up to you to gently give them something else to do, without making them feel like an idiot! Sometimes it helps to have someone start on something they like in order to make them feel more comfortable, even if there are better ways to meet their fitness goals. I remember a client a few years back who always used the elliptical and that’s all she did. One day I approached her and just asked her to increase her strides per minute. This was after a brief conversation about her goals. Within one week her results already were on the up & up. She then approached me on how to keep up the results she was seeing. We started weight training and from there she went from someone who never painted her nails or looking in the mirror to doing both. I will admit the day she came in with painted nails I had to turn away and wipe my tears of happiness!
#3 – Intimidated by the Client
Jason: Answer the questions clients ask. Don’t feel like they are attacking you. It is the way some clients learn. They ask questions. If you can’t answer them then why are you running them through the program that you are? If it’s not related to the program then find them an answer or direct them to a source where they can become more educated.
#2 – Lack of Personality
Jason: Would you ever talk to a wall (ok some of us would), but honestly when our clients are looking to relieve their stress from a bad day or need some extra motivation to push for a new PR (personal record) or the last rep they need someone who can acknowledge them, speak up, and do something. You don’t have to jump off walls, but you should be able to hold a conversation if your client happens to need it. Yes, we should have little to no time to talk because our clients are dominating their workout, but let’s be serious here. They need us to listen to their problems, console or give feedback where we can!
Brandon: You may have entered the job as a personal trainer, but you also entered the job as listener and therapist without even knowing it. I am not expecting you to solve their problems, hell neither are your clients. They trust you and just want to be heard and maybe get some feedback. I have heard more stuff from my clients then I would care to ever hear, but I am fine with that because I know that it helps my client by being able to express their emotions. If your client is having a real rough day, spending 5 minutes in the beginning of the session figuring out what is going on and any ways to defuse the situation a bit will be worth it if their entire hour isn’t negatively effected, 5 mins of no exercise with 55 mins of awesome exercise or 60 mins of crap exercise…you pick!
#1 – Lack of Sales Experience/Expectations
Jason: This all starts with a trainer needing to know they are selling a service (themselves). As trainers, we must believe in ourselves before we can gain the trust of our future clients. We must believe that our services are worth every penny that a client will spend. We are in fact giving them a healthier life. This comes in many forms. (ie. lower cholesterol better movement, higher confidence, etc.)
We very often expect that a future client will just buy. I’m not saying you have to be like a “car salesman”, but you must build value. You have to show the client that you can listen and deliver. They have to believe in you. Did you show them that they are going to move in the right direction if they meet with you? If they come up with objections at the end, their is an 80% chance it’s because you either gave them an out or you just didn’t fill your cart with enough reasons for him/her to check out.
This process comes down to everything from the words we use, body language, and of course “you”. As a trainer, it is recommended that you know your craft, but take a few courses on sales, read a couple books, or latch on to a mentor who can start to carve your path (this could be multiple people as we all do not sell the same, but can be successful)
One of my clients I currently train has bunions on both feet and has had both plantar plates repaired. Needless to say, being up on his toes during most exercises is pretty miserable. So what do we do? Continue to keep him up on his toes and create more tension and discomfort or find a way around it so he is still about to reach his goal? Option #2 sounds way better to me! Some exercises he can be on his toes and not create many problems, but others are miserable. We have found that advancing the plank beyond a standard elbow front plank, even into a RKC Plank, which calls for a longer lever position (aka reach your elbows out further, which in return lengthens the body….creating more stress on the mid-point of the body) was pretty painful. At this point, I remember seeing Bret Contreras do a whole circuit for the core using a Foam Roller, so snagged this move called the Bodysaw!
Who I Stole It From: Bret Contreras. The Glute Guy always coming up with great stuff, love following his blog, as he does a great job blending research and his experience with clients.
Who Will Benefit From it: Anyone, as we can modify how far the lever gets. This is challenging and form is the top concern. I could careless how many reps you do, it doesn’t impress me if the form looks like crap. Focus on strict form and begin to bust them out from there.
Why Should We Do It: A standard plank is a waste of time if done for more than 20-30 seconds, assuming done properly. The core is a reflexive muscle group and used to reflexively stabilize you during movement. Can we bust out a 2-3 plus minute plank? Sure, but why waste the time. Figure out how to get more out of the core in a shorter period of time. The Foam Roller Bodysaw allows for the core to stabilize while we are constantly lengthening and shortening the lever of the body, this adds a new variable to a standard plank.
Without waiting any longer here is the Foam Roller Bodysaw:
LaVack FItness Note: I apologize for my pale white skin, the sun and I do not get along too well.
Cues and Tips: - Squeeze Glutes, Lats, Quads, and Core tight the entire time.
- Make sure to keep that back straight, shouldn’t see the hips drop when extending.
- Move as far as you can with proper form. Once again, it is about the quality of the reps not the quantity.
Let me know how this exercise goes for you! Enjoy!