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Somewhere in your past, you were introduced to a particular tool, method, philosophy, or system. Intrigued, you invested a lot of time and energy in this new passion. Perhaps you even started writing articles and teaching workshops. Eventually, you even started a business based on whatever system or method you’re now considered an expert in.
 
Tomorrow, you’ve got a new client scheduled. Guess which tool, method, philosophy, or system you’re likely to use? Whether or not your client needs your preferred approach is irrelevant. You’re going to use it anyway, because you’re a hammer. Every client who walks in looks surprisingly like a nail.
 
It’s understandable, of course. If you’ve invested fifteen years of your life becoming a kettlebell expert or a yoga instructor, you’re obviously going to do what you do best, whether it’s the best thing for your client or not. And after all, you’re not going to teach something you’re not very good at, right?
 
See yourself in any of this? It's a phenomenon that exists in most industries, but is especially prevalent in the fitness world.
 

A Concrete Example

Olympic weightlifting instructors often offer strength and conditioning services for local high school athletes who compete in volleyball, football, baseball, and other sports. By claiming that Olympic lifting is the best (or at least a great) way to improve strength and power, these coaches can attract new clients from local schools. The hope is that at least a few of these kids will eventually become competitive weightlifters.
 
The problem is, weightlifting drills involve a fairly prolonged learning curve, which means it will be weeks, if not months, before the athlete can use enough weight for the drill to be useful for the purpose of strength or power development. If simpler drills such as squats, leg presses, or sled pushes were chosen, the athlete could be getting stronger and more powerful from day one. 
 
squat cues
Are the cues and methods you use appropriate for your clients, or just what you're used to doing?
 

Use All the Tools Available

The difficulty in facing this issue head on is that we all have our favorite methods, and that’s a good thing. The trick is knowing how to match your competencies with your client’s needs. In my mind, there are at least two ways to accomplish this, and better serve your clients in the process:
 
  1. Broaden your scope of expertise. Even though you may have 1-2 primary skillsets, you’ll also have a handful of other methods or approaches that you’re highly competent in.
  2. Don't be afraid of referrals. When approached by a client who is poorly suited to your pet paradigm, refer him or her to a more appropriate coach. While this may seem like financial suicide, in reality, this approach will encourage cross-referrals as well. 
 
I’ll close this discussion by assuring you that I’m not lecturing anyone here. I’ve been guilty of this myself, and am constantly on guard about not repeating the mistakes of my past. I’m simply encouraging you to do the same.
 

This Week’s Training:

Volume: 77,585lb (Last Week: 54,235lb)
 
Significant Lifts:
  • Bench Press 225x5
  • Deadlift: 430x3
 
This was a pretty solid week, even though I started off with a tweaky low back that put a damper on my squatting on Monday. That said, one of the main things I worked on was my leg drive in my deadlift, so it’s less of a stiff-leg deadlift, which is my tendency due to weak quads. I think I accomplished this in large part. The cue I’m using is “Chest up, hips down.” I’m focusing on leg drive, rather than thinking of the movement as a pull.
 
Another recent theme for me is working as hard as possible on hack squats (and to a lesser degree, leg presses). I've found all types of barbell squats are basically useless for me in terms of quad strength and hypertrophy, so I’m emphasizing hack squats. If you’re got a nice upright posture and can maintain safe lumbar posture on a barbell squat, it’ll be a great tool for you. But if not, you’ll need alternatives. Don’t let your ego deter you from making smart decisions.
 
Finally, I got a rowing session in this week. The Concept2 is challenging, and feels healthy and productive for me. I’m looking to work toward doing this twice a week on a consistent basis.

Monday, February 15, 2016

 
Bodyweight: 200.2lb
Volume: 22,315lb
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 30lb × 10
  • Set 2: 60lb × 10
 
Low Bar Squat
  • Set 1: 45lb × 5
  • Set 2: 45lb × 5
  • Set 3: 95lb × 5
  • Set 4: 95lb × 5
  • Set 5: 135lb × 5
  • Set 6: 185lb × 3
  • Set 7: 225lb × 3
  • Set 8: 275lb × 1
  • Set 9: 275lb × 1
Notes: Low back feeling dicey so moved on to leg press. A good decision, as it turned out. I was walking around like an old man the next day.
 
Leg Press
  • Set 1: 90lb × 8
  • Set 2: 180lb × 8
  • Set 3: 225lb × 8
  • Set 4: 270lb × 8
  • Set 5: 315lb × 8
  • Set 6: 315lb × 8
 
Standing Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 200lb × 8
  • Set 2: 200lb × 8
  • Set 3: 200lb × 8
  • Set 4: 200lb × 8
 
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 200.8lb
Volume: 21,865lb
 
Bench Press
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 95lb × 8
  • Set 3: 135lb × 6
  • Set 4: 185lb × 4
  • Set 5: 205lb × 2
  • Set 6: 225lb × 5
  • Set 7: 205lb × 5
  • Set 8: 205lb × 5
 
Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Set 1: 100lb × 8
  • Set 2: 120lb × 8
  • Set 3: 140lb × 8
  • Set 4: 140lb × 8
  • Set 5: 140lb × 8
 
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 60lb × 8
  • Set 2: 70lb × 8
  • Set 3: 70lb × 8
  • Set 4: 70lb × 8
  • Set 5: 70lb × 8
 
Tricep Pushdowns
  • Set 1: 150lb × 8
  • Set 2: 150lb × 8
  • Set 3: 150lb × 8
 
Hammer Row
  • Set 1: 90lb × 8
  • Set 2: 140lb × 8
  • Set 3: 140lb × 8
  • Set 4: 140lb × 8
 
Thursday, February 18, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 199.6lb
Volume: 23,250lb
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 30lb × 10
  • Set 2: 30lb × 10
  • Set 3: 30lb × 10
 
Deadlift
  • Set 1: 135lb × 5
  • Set 2: 135lb × 5
  • Set 3: 185lb × 5
  • Set 4: 225lb × 5
  • Set 5: 225lb × 5
  • Set 6: 275lb × 5
  • Set 7: 275lb × 5
  • Set 8: 315lb × 5
  • Set 9: 365lb × 5
  • Set 10: 405lb × 5
  • Set 11: 430lb × 3 (Video Below)
 

 

Hack Squat
  • Set 1: 90lb × 8
  • Set 2: 115lb × 8
  • Set 3: 140lb × 8
  • Set 4: 160lb × 8
  • Set 5: 180lb × 8
 
Seated Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 90lb × 8
  • Set 2: 90lb × 8
  • Set 3: 90lb × 8
  • Set 4: 90lb × 8
 
Friday, February 19, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 200.4lb
Volume: 10,155lb
 
Military Press
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 75lb × 8
  • Set 3: 95lb × 6
  • Set 4: 115lb × 5
  • Set 5: 115lb × 5
  • Set 6: 115lb × 5
 
Pull Up
  • Set 1: 5 reps
  • Set 2: 5 reps
  • Set 3: 5 reps
  • Set 4: 5 reps
  • Set 5: 5 reps
 
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 60lb × 10
  • Set 2: 60lb × 10
  • Set 3: 60lb × 10
 
Saturday, February 20, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 200.4lb
 
Rowing
  • Set 1: 0.5km in 0:01:49
  • Set 2: 0.4km in 0:01:31
  • Set 3: 0.3km in 0:01:07
  • Set 4: 0.2km in 0:00:44
  • Set 5: 0.1km in 0:00:21
Notes: 60 sec rest intervals, damper at 6.5
 
More Articles to Add Tools to Your Box
 
Teaser photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo 1 courtesy of CrossFit Empirical.
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