Friday, 8 August 2014

Rant of the Day - Gimmicks Vs Coaching Tools

I regularly am pissed off by things I see in the fitness industry (I use that as a global term to cover all things gym related) so this is as much for my benefit as it is yours.

Here is my thought for today....

I have seen a lot of trainers recently who, the second they come back off a course, (teaching them how to use items like TRX suspension straps or the Power Plate for example) they forget all other training they used to do with clients and solely focus on their newly found 'passion' for one specific type of training.  It is my personal belief that you should not trust a trainer who marries him or herself to a specific training system and tells people that their (very blinkered and equipment specific) training system is all you could possibly need. 

For example, Kettlebells and suspension training systems like TRX, are just examples of tools you can use  with your clients as part of a well rounded approach. Do not trust someone who tries to offer sessions almost exclusively on one piece of equipment. There is nothing wrong with being versatile and using equipment for multiple purposes but you need perspective and to understand that no one thing is the answer. Too many trainers fall in love with one style of training and subsequently push their clients to do this exclusively. 

A good coach should just view these things as tools, not the be all and end all. Gimmicks are ok but 9 times out of 10 they are just reinventing the wheel and are often poor substitutes for barbell compound movements and bodyweight exercises. They can have their place but do not be fooled by someone who attempts to convince you that you can dismiss all your other training and just train with their system and you'll cover all your bases.  

Largely trainers like this are trying to simply maximise their earning potential having paid out for the cost of the course. I cannot blame them for this, but I believe that any new information, coaching skills, or equipment usage should be introduced and used when appropriate and not simply dominate that trainers repertoire suddenly.  It shows a fickle nature to the trainers approach, and I believe that whilst developing new skills and acquiring new knowledge a coach should have some consistency and rather than jumping from one fad to the next, they should build some knowledge and ability to coach what should be the fundamentals.

In my opinion these fundamentals include (but are not limited to) the following...

Squats, Deadlifts, Bench, Overhead Press, Vertical Row, Horizontal Row and Power Cleans (for more advanced individuals). 

Yes there are thousands of variations of these movements and as a coach you should be able to pick the appropriate variation for your client to match whatever stage they are at with their training.  With this in mind I will reiterate that doing a course on using TRX straps and then subsequently all your training sessions, with all clients, becoming largely focussed around TRX shows that you are trying to apply the same training style and method to everyone and not treating each clients individual needs. 

Bottom line, to the coaches and trainers, try to recognise the things which are simply gimmicks, or rather realise that whilst some of these things can be implemented in small doses as part of a full training programme, they are not the be all and end all.  A coach needs multiple tools in his arsenal but should have a good understanding of basic movements which all weight training programmes should be based upon.

To the individuals considering using coaches or trainers to assist them, beware of coaches who sell one specific gimmicky training method to you.  A coaches job is to filter and apply a multitude of information and use it appropriately.   Don't believe everything one coach says automatically either.  There are too many 'gurus' in this business and people with aggressive social media tactics who try to make themselves infallible with the backing of their almost fundamentalist true believer fans who will shoot anyone down who challenges their guru's 'wisdom'.  

Thats all for now.