Call it a hiatus, but I took a little break from writing to focus on some other things progressing in my life. Travel, more reading and learning, more conversations with great coaches in the same boat.
I wanted to post a write read for those of you loyally following along to remind you that each and everyone of us are different and therefore should have unique differences in the way we train. The person next to you might be able to do a variation of squatting that doesn’t match well with your body type or ranges of motion. Doesn’t mean you can’t squat, but it does mean you have to find one that fits you better. It takes doing some assessing before you start so you can take out some of the guesswork and be more precise with exercise selection.
If this conflicts with your trainer, fire them. Any trainer that doesn’t want a little more information to help adjust for your specific measurements or doesn’t know how to do an assessment to find this shouldn’t be training you anyway. As much as I want to write about lazy coaches that copy & paste the same programs and charge you money, I need to stay on message.
You are not the person next to you
It’s important to address this right away because it is the gist of everything I want to discuss. Too often we see magazines, instagram, television where someone else has the things you want right now. You might be working towards it and because they seem to have what you want, you try to learn what they are doing in hopes of it working for you. Monkey see, monkey do.
“They have what I want. So, if I do what they do I’ll have what I want”.
This happens with professional athletes as much as anyone.
“If that guy did this new program online where he throws weighted balls for 2 months and is throwing harder, I should too.”
This leads athletes to try out exercises that aren’t best for them eventually leading to injury or a decrease in performance. Again, if you fall into this I get it. It makes sense. I aim to explain why this doesn’t actually work after you follow it. As with everything else in life, good things come most of the time after a period of delayed gratification. There is a long period of boring, day in day out work that goes into most success stories.
Apple did not become Apple because of the iPhone. Fortune 500 companies did not buy a building, slap a logo on the exterior and become who they are. It takes time. These companies had years and years of trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t for them. Apple’s marketing strategies and research may not work for Choice Hotels. They have found what specifically works for their industry. You need to be this same way about the way you choose exercises and train your body. However, we don’t have the luxury of trial and error that may lead to learning through injury. So, we need to take out the guesswork and be precise from the start.
Make your gym routine about you
Imagine I saw a snapshot of what you did in the gym today. Now, imagine I ran you through a full physical screen/assessment to find out the things you struggle with the most. Would the snapshot of your workout reflect you training your biggest weaknesses? How many exercises would I see that only reinforce problems? I’m not trying to point fingers, but I am trying to make a point that leads to change.
This is the point of the article. Stick with me here.
If your top three personal goals are weight loss, “6 pack abs”, and having a 225lb. bench press, but your assessment shows that your shoulders have limited range of motion and you have a rounded upper back, is the bench press important for YOU? Are there other things we can change in your program to match what’s most important for your body instead of what society says you should have? Are abs the most important thing to focus on right now when it will only pull your shoulders forward more and lead to more issues later? If we can get more people to realize this, we would have some serious progress made and less injuries occurring for no reason.
If an assessment shows limited range of motion in the shoulder and ankle these are things you have to consider when choosing certain exercises.
Doing this will find the right exercise for YOU and lead to faster progress.
In an effort to keep this from being a long read, I’ll wrap this up with the take home message.
- Get an assessment to find out what limitations your body may have with a professional.
- From this, start to think about what goals are most important for YOU.
- From your assessment, pick specific exercise variations that will help you reach your goals AND fit within what your body can physically do.
- Once you have tackled a majority of the things hindering you physically and you are balanced, you can go back to things like “bro I want huge biceps”. But, all while maintaining the things you worked to improve on.