Friday, November 22, 2013

The Educating of a Trainer: Getting Better

As you may know over the past several months I have been going out and taking various training courses through different organizations in the fitness world. I've been taking these courses to not only enhance my knowledge but also enhance my clients experience while training to provide optimal results. Since this past June I've taken two different qualification through TRX, level 1 Group Suspension Training and level 2 Sports Medicine, and as I'm writing this, it's5:35 am and I'm traveling home from San Antonio Texas having just completed the Level 1 CrossFit Trainer certification. Over the course of theses seminars I've learned a lot of different training methods and philosophies that all have two commonalities. First, and very obviously, they're designed to make the participant better than they were. Second, and in my opinion more important of the commonalities, the importance of a strong core. I'm not talking about your core just for the case of having that ever coveted six pack, but a strong core to have a strong squat, deadlift, or standing overhead press (the three key weight lifting moves, and their progressions, CrossFit based their weight training on). 
Now yes I did learn a lot of real impressive moves at these different certification. With TRX I learned how to do a single leg burpee push-up with an explosive high knee all with one foot in a TRX strap. At CrossFit I learned how to do kipping pull ups, strict muscle ups, and a full Olympic snatch, just to give a couple examples. And that was all amazing and informative, but despite all that the two things I learned at each separate seminar, that I think everyone knows and yet it is often over looked, is (1) this funny little trick called scaling and (2) the importance of full range of motion.
Scaling, is making an exercise doable for everyone whether they're the most advanced athlete or a 100 year old woman. To give an example, let's say we're to do a workout that consisted of burpees, but grandma Rose Mary, who is 78 years old, can't handle getting up and down time and time again, so what do we do? Do we let her skip the exercise? No, instead have Rose Mary squat as low as she is physically capable, if that means squatting to a high plyo-box that's fine, and then doing push-ups on an angle that challenges her. All a burpee is, realistically, is going from a standing position to a push-up, the only way to get from standing to push-up is to squat after all, and true burpees require your chest to come all the way to touching the floor, so we make the exercise doable for everyone and then progress. Maybe next time grandma comes to a greater angle on her push-up, adding difficulty, or maybe she gets down lower on her squat, that's called progression ladies and gentlemen, and that's how we get better.
Now I mentioned earlier the importance placed in the seminars on full range of motion, and yet I just talked about having grandma squat to a high box, so that might have you scratching your head confused, so let me clarify. What's important is using a full range that you're capable of. Grandma might not have the physical strength to initially squat her own bodyweight to a point where her hips are back and femur at parallel to the floor and that's ok, with proper progression she eventually will, however, if she can't get to hips back and femur parallel to the floor at her own bodyweight there is no way in hell I'm putting a bar on her back and telling her to squat.
How often have we seen someone 'squat', barely any hip flexion (butt back) and barley any knee bend, then they stop way too high and come back up, count the rep and loading more weight on? Yes we get it, you want a real intense workout we all do. Here's the biggest thing, and something I hope everyone takes away from this blog, intensity is a relative term. CrossFit defined intensity as doing what you are physically and psychologically capable of doing. If you have 225 on the bar and can't squat to parallel with it because of fear of not standing back up or because you know you can't squat deep enough with it, drop the weight down and get a full range of motion. There's no shame in going lighter and having perfect form, especially when you start to get stronger with perfect form. Plus you're going to get a far more intense workout coming down deeper into a squat with a full range of motion at a lighter weight than you ever will doing a quarter squat with a heavy weight. What I'm really trying to say here is, get over your ego and lift with perfect form and intelligent weight choices not just going heavy because it's heavy, that's how we lose form and cause injury. No matter what your goal may be, a strong core, a full range of motion, and the intensity to do a workout to the best of your physical and psychological capabilities is going to reap the best results.

Jack Lazarus

No comments:

Post a Comment