Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I  mentioned in the past that I've offered beneficial advice to a young lifter in the gym in reference to his squat technique.  I suggested to get a little bit lower (break parallel) to effectively activate the glutes and recruit the hamstrings.  My advice was shrugged off with the response, "I can't get lower, I have bad knees".  I ended up leaving it alone once my explanation looked like I was speaking a foreign language.
When I see this, it's hard to keep my mouth shut!

I usually don't give advice, unless asked, in the gym.  I'm too busy training myself and taking my wife through a training session and I don't want to get into a long, non-relative conversation and end up wasting my time in the long run. That's one of the nice things about working and lifting in different gyms, when I'm lifting all I have to focus on is my workout.

I have taken my fair share of advice in the gym over the years. From back in the teenage years when I was told the only way to hit the "peak" on the biceps was to do concentration curls, and around 2 years ago when I was informed that if I moved my feet closer together and tucked my hips down I would  improve the starting position on my deadlift.

Two very different categories of advice.  One was by your typical bodybuilder guy in the gym with cannon balls for biceps.  The other was by a former competitive Olympic lifter that is probably a little heavier in the midsection now then when he competed. I still deadlift with better form, and let's just say that I pretty much forgotten about concentration curls. I only wish I met the former Olympic lifter in high school, all the concentration curls in the world wouldn't have been as beneficial as a big deadlift! 

When I go to seminars, conferences, and clinics I take all the advice I can get my hands on.  Some of it will benefit me right away, some will remain on the back burner until I feel it's useful.  A small amount of advice will be neglected or forgotten because it didn't pertain to what I was trying to accomplish for myself, clients, students, or athletes. 

I think I was pretty lucky to have attended some hands-on clinics with some of the best in the profession.  I also was able to lift at the University of Florida weight room under the eye of a few of their Assistant Strength Coaches and receive a few coaching pointers.  Another time in my life I received some "lifting" advice was at the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach Certification, which I thought was really a great experience- actually having to move and lift for a certification (what a concept).
A pretty good weight room for lifting advice, even for a Hurricanes Fan!
Now I am at a commercial gym where I look around and I see people of all ages lifting with horrendous form and performing exercises with little to no benefit.

So what should I do?  Should I help out that young kid rounding his back on deadlifts?  Should I explain that you should "tuck" your elbows on a bench press instead of flair them out?  I really don't know.... Chances are my advice would be shrugged of and ignored.  Maybe if I did a cycle of Deca and wore a wife beater and a stocking cap I would be taken more seriously.
"Drop-sets of Tricep kickbacks will add thickness to your horseshoe".

Or maybe helping that one kid out with a little improvement with technique can improve his strength and could possibly keep him from injuring himself.  Maybe that one piece of advice opens up a conversation and offers few recommendations regarding books or other useful forms of information instead of the typical Muscle & Fiction information so many people are brainwashed with.  This is what I hope for, but it's hardly the case.

Whatever route you or I decide to take remember these things, if you can't demonstrate a movement or you look like the only thing you can lift is a cream filled doughnut- keep the suggestions to yourself.  If you use the term "peak" when describing biceps or "horseshoe" when describing triceps- your better off staying quiet.  Lastly, if you've spent the last 5 years "juicing" up, have the needle marks on your ass to prove it, and the only thing you've read in regards to lifting if FLEX magazine, then the advice you give is about as relevant as Charlie Sheens advice on marriage.

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