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Tag: coaching (page 1 of 3)

Learning How to Fix Lifting Technique

Humans are complex, and movement can be complicated. Why does your client always bend over when they do squats? Why do they do that weird thing with their back on some days? How can they understand it more simply?

Fixing movement is simple: make the wrong stuff look right.

Okay, smart guy, but how do I know what is wrong?

THAT’S the hard part.

Fixing movement is simple for me now that I’ve coached for roughly a decade. But that’s only because I’ve meticulously dissected thousands of reps. Now I can identify what I like and what I don’t like.

  • That squat looks like a deadlift. I don’t like it for this person.
  • That push up looks like they’re doing The Worm. I don’t like it.
  • That deadlift looks like it hurts. I don’t like it at all.

Deciding what you DON’T like is easy… but only once you know what you DO like.

For example, there might be three dozen different squat faults you could identify…

  1. Forward shift
  2. Right shift
  3. Right-forward shift
  4. Left shift
  5. Left-forward shift
  6. Backward shift
  7. Right-backward shift
  8. Left-backward shift
  9. Knee collapse
  10. Knee splay
  11. Foot collapse
  12. Arching back at the top
  13. Never neutralizing back position
  14. Arching back at the bottom
  15. Rounding back at the bottom
  16. Collapsing chest at the bottom
  17. Looking too far down
  18. Not setting eye gaze
  19. Wearing poor shoes for squatting
  20. Limited ankle mobility
  21. Squatting too deep
  22. Squatting too shallow
  23. Shifting forward only at the bottom
  24. Shifting backward only at the top
  25. Shifting forward only at the top
  26. Spinning everything on the way up
  27. Squatting with the bar too low
  28. Collapsing one foot but not the other
  29. Collapsing one knee but not the other
  30. Not finishing with glutes
  31. Not driving out of the bottom with the legs
  32. Losing ab tension on the way up
  33. Losing upper back tension on the way up
  34. Looking too far up
  35. Thinking about too many things
  36. Being weak out of the bottom

That took me about 6 minutes to list. But how long did it take to build that database of squatting mistakes?

It takes a long time.

And that’s necessary. Experience begets competence. That’s how you can become a master of your craft.

But there is a quicker way. It’s not easy, but it is quicker.

You want to understand what “normal” looks like.

Think about how much simpler it is to simply say, “That doesn’t look right. If I do _________________, then it might look right.”

That’s it. It’s not, “You’re losing your upper back at the bottom of the lift. I want you to keep your upper back tight. Oh that didn’t work. Well… think about squeezing your shoulders together while you squat. Squeeze harder! Yes yes yes! Eh, no. That’s no better.”

Hey! Some of that is just coaching. It’s an art. You play with cues you like and sometimes they don’t work.

But let’s say you have a group of twenty people. Can you cue them?

Some would say no, but I think you can. I’ve done it. But your cues have to be dialed in. So does your exercise selection, but that’s a talk for another day.

But now the burning question: how in the world do you find out what “normal” looks like?

THAT’S the hard part.

And that’s also why I put together this mentorship.

I think I can teach you most of what you need to know is roughly 24 hours of hard work. NOT 24 hours of daytime, but 24 hours of focused, deliberate practice. 24 hours of nose to the grindstone. 24 hours of well slept, highly caffeinated attention.

At least, I think we can do that if you’re a somewhat experienced coach. You have some coaching reps under your belt. You’re already familiar with the process of seeing movement and giving cues. You probably just need some re-focusing. And more coaching reps never hurt either.

How does it work?

I think most people get into the fitness industry because they learn well by doing. We have to get our hands dirty. We have to coach each other. We have to look at movement in a new light. And we have to have reasons for the cues we give.

You can say, “Chest up!” But if the problem is in the hamstrings, that cue probably isn’t going to work.

So we work together to identify “normal”. Then we can use our instincts, harness our creativity, and come up with cues that work for us.

First, we become scientists. Then, we become artists.

Will you join us?

My Biggest Programming Pivot Since Moving to the Bay

It’s important to identify what you cannot do.

This post is NOT a comparison of private sector coaching and collegiate coaching. I have not worked in a collegiate setting.

This post is NOT a comparison of training athletes general population clients.

What’s the biggest change I’ve had to make? How has my career shifting after leaving the private sector (and Indianapolis) and moving into corporate wellness (mostly).
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You’re a Trip, Man

Have you ever gone on a cross-country road trip? Just you, a bag of clothes, and a car?

Have you ever spent extended time alone? On purpose?

A few years ago, I got in my car and started driving west. I’m a creature of comfort. My family is easy to be around. My friends and I have great discussion. I was coaching in a gym that meant so much to me and was a HUGE piece of my development… both as a human, and a coach.

But I needed to break the cycle. I needed to get more UNcomfortable. If I didn’t, I would never grow… at least as much as I expected from myself.

I drove out to Denver, CO from Indy in two days. I stayed at a sketchy hotel on the way out there (there was a sign that said, “Best Western is not responsible if your things are stolen”). I met some Airbnb people and finally saw what mountains look like (this just in: they’re gorgeous). I even went HIKING.

Now that trip… THAT was an experience.

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What to Do When Your Knee Hurts While Deadlifting

Knees hurt sometimes. It’s okay. Try to improve your form. If that doesn’t work, try a different exercise.

Sometimes our bodies don’t hold up as well as we wish they would. Even just last night I went for a walk and limped the last half of it because of my knee. And I’m 28 years old! (at the time of writing this)

Why is pain such a pain? Cruel world…

I kind of specialize in training people with achy joints. Specific cues have been important for a lot of my clients. Poor technique can place stress on your body that your mind just doesn’t like. So first, when your knee hurts, get a tenured coach to take a look. Their practiced eye might notice something that you haven’t. Fix that issue and see if it clears up.

Now, though I love cuing, I need to tell you a secret: sometimes it ain’t enough.

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What to Do With Your Exercise Science Degree

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