Happy Humpday everyone. Now that pleasantries are out of the way, whoever the hell is making my summer disappear faster than Usain Bolt leaving work on a Friday, please knock that shit off now! I mean I have nothing to really coerce you with except beer and some useless sports knowledge, but come on!
Alright I'm done, on to the thing you're probably here for. Letting your clients pick their poison is not laziness, in most cases, if you have a decent coach and worth at least half of what your paying them, then it’s probably not. When writing programs and coaching clients I will often let clients do a little bonus work after they’re done their finisher (conditioning) at the end. I believe this to be something that both, does me good in terms of retention and in moving the needle for a client towards adherence.
I mean some smart guy, that’s been doing this for longer than me, said this not too long ago. I’d say there’s something to this line of thought at the very least, no?
Example, a client was looking for a more chiseled (and scary) upper back, some of you may call this yoked. To help get them there, they would finish their program and I’d put together a circuit of upper back exercises to help that sucker grow. After the first few times of writing the circuit myself I started to give them options of adding in favorites. Sometimes I’d make it a mystery box and tell them to pick circuit A, B or C on the white board. In any case, it wasn't too long afterwards that she got started getting compliments/people started getting petrified when they saw my client's yoked-ness, success!
Performance goals need a little extra work to be met within a reasonable, not so frustrating, amount of time too. Again, I’ll put together a little something that helps them move toward that goal and after a few sessions, let them contribute to the cause.
Now if I start letting the client have input and they seem to be suggesting one too many exercises that aren’t doing them any favors AND their program adherence goes sideways, I get the override. I’ll probably take back full control for a week or 2, then bring them back in on it. I've rarely found that I had to do this, never for longer than a couple weeks.
Like I said before, this system plays into both adherence and retention (they usually go hand in hand). With the client having the input at the end, kind of like a piece of candy or desert. They get to include something they like in the session too. Thus, when they like what they’re doing, they are much more likely to adhere it. The more adherence to a program for a client, the results begin to show and thus they continue to come back to keep chasing that goal or look.
There's also the added element of trust with this. My client is already trusting me with their programming and improving their quality of life. I think it's best I give a little trust back and believe they will pick the BEST options for them. Around and around we go, my client becomes the most awesome version of themselves while enjoying it, simple right?Sometimes they might pick one they just like, and has no value to what they're working for. That's OK, as I stated before, just sprinkle it in sparingly.
To sum this up, as a client if a coach is asking you your thoughts on your training and what you want to do, get excited and contribute with your goal in mind. As a coach, don't do this out of laziness, have a purpose to it, your clients will thank you later for your trust. That's what I got today everyone, go out there and get after it!
Happy Opening weekend to all you Premier League fans, if that match yesterday is any indication, it's going to be a bananas season. Apologies for not having this section for you all yesterday, but I still have some good stuff for you to thumb through so don't worry.
Now here is the Insta post of the week, bit of sentimental one here;
Tony Was a Weirdo, So Mark Started a Gym- Huge fan of MFF, Tony and Pete, so basically this article is a trifecta. The summarize without giving away too much. Pete see's value in not being too tight on silly things for the biz and it helps more than just those within his facility.
Do it Better: Back Squats- Squats are a pretty awesome exercise, I mean if nothing else, they help you get off that dam toilet no? Alright so if you want to find out how to do them a bit better, go ahead and give a flip through this piece by Jen Blake (JVB) on Jen Sinkler's site. You won't regret it, promise.
Brandscaping and the Fitness Industry- Eric Cressey (along with Pete from the first article) has built a nice little empire. For those that might be thinking about that next step towards getting themselves out there, maybe read this first. It might not be quite time, or you might be going about it wrong.
Happy August everyone, yeah I know what you're thinking and no, nobody stuck you in a time capsule (I hope), it IS August. Everyone always seems to pack their summers with things to do, weddings, vacations, family reunions and so on. I'd say this is probably the reason it feels like time flies in the summer, nicer weather probably helps too. Enough of that, let's get to the good stuff.
Do your hip flexors hurt or constantly burn? Do you stretch them? Do they feel better? Do you know what the definition of insanity is? For those that don’t get my point, stop stretching your damn hip flexors. Odds are, if you've stretched them a bajillion times, with no relief, they’re not tight, your hip flexors might not be the problem. The problem is likely that something else is weak and/or your hips in general are unstable.
The hip flexors are the new(ish) hamstrings, everyone's are tight, and it's the thing that is causing everyone's pain. Just like the hamstrings of yesteryear, it's not that simple. Stretching isn't going to solve 90% of those issues (that's what we call a SWAG), might aide some of them, but won't truly fix the issue.
A client of mine during her assessment brought up that her hip flexors were burning while we did some basic squat drills. Now I didn't completely rule out that they could be tight, until she told me she stretches them a bunch. Even went through the right way to stretch them, yeah no relief came. We did a single leg squat variation and there was zero complaint about pain or burning feeling. Lightbulb! With no relief whatsoever after stretching, plus no issue present with the single leg variation, it was clear, it's a stability or even an alignment issue. While some people may just avoid the squat altogether, I'll explore every option to see if we can find a bilateral squat that works, and if not, no shame in single legging it for awhile (or forever).
In cases like this I will truly hammer the hip area with activation and strengthening, also looking elsewhere to what else could be contributing to the problem. Things like ankle weakness or instability, which can cause all sorts of issues going up the chain were considered (and addressed). We also looked at glute strengthening of all sorts and making sure the core was actively working throughout the squat.
My favorite thing to do to in this case, besides a single leg squat variation, is the hip thrust. I prefer to do the banded variation with new lifters and then go barbell once they've got the hang of that, or if they're a bit more experienced. My reasoning, isn't so complexed;
Another favorite I tend to gravitate towards as an accessory, is some sort of clamshell variation. I particularly like the variation shown above by Mr. Michael Anderson, when it's appropriate. Here's why I like this one;
I actually have paired these exercises as a superset, with the Hip Thrust being the main, big bang for your buck, exercise and the clamshell variation being a tweener/filler/more-productive-than-sitting-around exercise during the rest.
To summarize, if you think your hip flexors are tight or the like, and you've stretched them more than a dungeon master, they're probably not tight. The answer is likely something to do with weakness or instability, start working on a strategy to correct that instead, cool?
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS