Bad Form Is Better Than a Bad Day

You probably know I’m picky on form. Honestly, one of the things my gym is most known for is our attention to detail and focus on tight form and clean movement. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “every rep under this roof should be perfect!”

Although I often write and make videos about how to exercise with correct form, today I want to write about a time that it may be ok to have bad form.

Have you ever been running a group training session and you have that client that is just all over the place? Their hinge looks like a toe touch, their squat is a perfect hinge, and their pushup looks like they are doing some sort of snake type dance? I know I have, and I’m positive beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have as well.

I have to mention that this circumstance happens less and less now that I have a system to screen each client and place him or her in an appropriate progression with very little guesswork. However, even with the best screening system on earth you still have people that need more coaching than others. So that brings me to my point.

image courtesy of

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The Difference Between Bootcamps and Group Personal Training – Webinar

Check out this webinar that we did a while back on the difference between bootcamps and group personal training. Even though we shot it two years ago the content is just as strong as ever. Training and programs design can always change, but some philosophies will always remain.

If you are running bootcamps or any type of group exercise program you will want to watch this video. You may love some parts and you may hate some parts, but I think that you will understand it’s true.

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Do You Strip?


If you breathe out of your mouth or have ever struggled with breathing during physical exercise, you will definitely need to listen. And if you have never heard of the importance of conscious breathing while training, this article could make a dramatic improvement in your movement quality and performance.

Breathing has been a hot topic buzz word for the past few years. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on how we should breathe. If you’re anything like me, I don’t care who is right, I just want consistent information that is going to help my clients and me get results the fastest most efficient way possible.

Like every exercise, it’s always super easy to make things harder. But the real genius comes with the regressions. To me there is nothing more regressed than taking in a breath. It’s the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die. You will take hundreds of millions of breaths in a lifetime. Are they making you healthier or are they sending you to an early grave? Dun…Dun…Dun!

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Learn 4 Quick Ways To Clean Up Overhead Pulling


Building a balanced program is half the battle when it comes to developing strength training routines. Creating balance within the routine will only help your client’s performance and keep them healthy over the long haul. In our programs, we really emphasize the posterior chain. In other words, we really want to develop the backside. Each program we write has balance; however, we usually add additional back exercises to each phase. [Read more...]

Better is Better

by Dean Carlson

"That was a great workout coach!"

"We really got after it today!"

"Love it when we sweat like that!"

It’s kinda funny. I hear those kind of comments far more often than I will hear something like:

"That nasal breathing really helped me focus today"

"Love doing those hip flexor mobs"


"Boy when we get in there with that hip scrubbing it makes all the difference in the world"

And that is what I kind of expect, particularly from newer students to our training facilities, because let’s face it, 99% of us figure if we feel trashed coming out of the gym then we must be getting better, right?

I’ll give you the same answer I give to most questions.

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Slowing Down

It makes me proud when I hear a client say something like “That’s enough for today, I’m only going to do half of the workout. I didn’t get any sleep last night”

Our clients know that their lifestyle outside of the gym affects their progress more than their training.

I put this video together where I quickly explain the most overlooked concept in the fitness industry →

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Okay, I’m Ready

When a client is done with their breathing exercises, I can hear their nervous system submitting; "Okay, I’m ready to learn."

This response is quite an improvement from the initial, "I have no idea what I’m doing here, I’m just trying to survive!" that I hear from their nervous systems when clients first arrive.

I feel a connection with the nervous system, like it’s my job to calm it down. I want to make it feel safe and receptive to learning. At J&M, we also focus extensively on setting our clients up for successful training by starting them off with a solid foundation.  

What I need from my clients is concentration. There are two different types of attention, purposeful attention and reactive. If I’m trying to change the way my clients move, it’s important that they’re giving me their purposeful attention. Purposeful attention only occurs when the body feels calm and safe. This is when the body is able to access learning.

Reactive attention, on the other hand, is reached through fight-or-flight. When our clients walk in it is their reactive attention that is most active, this why I hear their nervous systems yelling, "Get me the duck out of here!"  

The only thing the client’s brain is concerned about in this state is surviving.

So what do we do? How do we get people out of Fight or Flight?

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5 Killer Manual Cueing Techniques


What’s up SGT family? Today I want to share the five best hands-on cues to get the quickest possible result for your client. If you’re in a city that doesn’t allow you to touch your clients to correct form, then I’ll apologize now because these five are the bomb. Hands-on cueing is such an integral part of how we coach at CFR, I’m not sure I would know how to train without it. [Read more...]

My “Tight” Hamstrings

Hi, my name is Coach Jared, and I received poor training advice in high school.

It’s not a support group but it should be; there would be a lot of members.

Let’s flash back to when I was in eighth grade. During a basketball practice, I drove to the basket for a lay-up when a teammate attempted to block my shot.

We bumped knees, and I suffered a subluxation of my knee joint. My knee dislocated and relocated by itself.

Let’s just say it didn’t feel very good.

X-Rays showed no structural damage, but the sports medicine physical therapist informed me my hamstrings were tight and I needed to stretch them every day to loosen them up.

So I spent the next five years of my competitive career stretching diligently. Not only did my hamstring mobility fail to improve, but also I continually re-injured one or both knees.

Still, every time I returned to see my physical therapist, he told me I must continue to stretch my “tight” hamstrings.

That same injury occurred at least six times to both my right and left knees over the next eight years.

I thought I was simply doomed to become a sedentary ex-athlete reminiscing about my youth.

Flash forward to today.

I now train hard three to four days a week and compete in Olympic weightlifting. These movements require massive amounts of stability, mobility and force absorption – the same actions the previously resulted in injury.

So what changed?

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Educating Your Clients Requires Homework

I’m not going to lie, I’ve always hated school. Especially homework! I used to do everything in my power to get out of homework when I was a kid, eventually conjuring up some great systems to get people to do it for me. Honestly, I just didn’t care about the subjects in school, and it’s still hard for me to focus on things I don’t care about to this day.

My how things change……

After obtaining a GED and dropping out of 3 colleges I realize that I still hate school, but I love education more than anything, and I love HOMEWORK!

Before you conclude that I’m un-educated and weird, let me explain.

Sleeping Student

Instead of going into my entire life story about how health and fitness changed my outlook on life, I’ll just summarize with; I’ve changed. Part of that change was experiencing all of the benefits of eating right and exercising, but another big part was focusing on what I really cared about. Once I cared about something, education became the most important part of my life, and homework…..well, I’m working from home right now, for free, and I love it.

The point of this article is not to talk about my history of hating school and my transformation into an education junkie. The point of this article is to talk about how that journey has led me to being obsessed with educating others, and also to share my experiences of how education is only good if the person being educated truly cares about why the education matters.

Lets face it, if you want your clients to get the results, they are after they need a solid education. There are so many myths, misconceptions, confusion, and just plain WRONG information in their head that they just need to buy in to a consistent source…YOU!

There’s one problem….HOW DO YOU EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS IF YOU DO GROUP TRAINING???? I’ve been obsessing over this for years, and I got you covered.  Here are some things I do to make sure our clients have a clue what we are tying to do with them, and how we make sure they have all aspects of a program covered.

Teaching Students

Give them a daily routine: We give ALL of our clients a daily routine. This routine is a corrective exercise progression based on the weakest link we found when doing the clients functional movement screen. We have handouts and videos for our go-to correctives and we make sure we give them at least 1-2 exercises that we ask them to do 1-2 times per day. This is the best way for them to clear any dysfunctions on the screen so they can progress they training from movement based to performance based. We only see our clients a few hours per week so we need to make this homework is done consistently. Those who do it get better results, period.

Give them workouts for the times they are not with you: Again, we only see our clients a few hours each week. A lot of clients will do other forms of exercise when they are not with you that could be damaging what you are tying to accomplish with them. It’s your job to make sure you talk with your clients about their entire program not just the workouts they are doing with you, and make sure that YOU are the one dictating what they do outside of your gym. If I don’t want my clients running for a while, I damn sure better provide an alternative. I will write my clients conditioning workouts for home, corrective programs, or whatever it takes to make sure they are doing the right thing when not in my presence. Advise them if yoga, spinning, or Zumba is currently a good idea for them and if not, provide the necessary education as to why and an alternative to make them happy. If this is tough in a group setting, film a few workouts that you can host on your website and have some low level modifiable templates that you can give to your clients. 

Challenge of the week: Each week we have a new lifestyle challenge that we ask our clients to do. We write the weekly challenge on a huge chalkboard and have people sign their name if they completed the challenge. It could be things like sleeping 8 hours each night, meditating once each day, trying 4 new veggies, no booze for a week, etc. These are simple ways to get clients to learn by doing, and it takes almost no extra time from our trainers.

Challenge of the Week

Exercise of the week: Each week we start our group training workouts by going over the exercise of the week. This is 2-3 minutes that we use before each workout to highlight an exercise that could benefit most people or to talk about form on a certain highlighted exercise. We have also used this time to teach the Turkish get up in stages week after week. It’s a great way to focus on learning something new each week. We also post a blog that week with the exercise of the week in order to highlight that learning topic even more. Which brings me to my next tip…..

Write blog posts and print them off: The stuff that you really with all of your clients understood are your blog post topics. Make sure you post blogs, send newsletters linking to the blogs, and print of the blog posts and make them available as handouts.

Have a philosophy poster: Put your Top 10 Things Your Clients Should Know on a poster and hang that bad boy where everyone can see it. An example of the poster I use at Complete Fitness Results can be found here:

CFR Training Program

Have a goal board: Its pretty tough to keep track of all your clients goals when you do large group training and have hundreds of clients. This has been the toughest part of group training for me personally. I know that goal setting is the key part that most people are missing from reaching their goals. They don’t have them!!!! They are just existing and going through the motions of life without real goals. It’s important to do everything you can do make goal setting a part of the culture of your gym. One of the many ways that we do this is having a basic goal board. We have a huge board with each persons name on it and they write in a short and sweet goal at the beginning of each month. It’s not perfect, but it helps, and in conjunction with constantly talking about having goals when coaching, it adds up.

Tell stories while coaching: When I’m coaching and form is tight, I’m telling stories. These stories always have a moral that teaches our clients something. I tell lots of stories, and often hear how certain stories really resonated with a certain client and made a huge difference.

Make it the culture: Make the education of your clients and/or employees a major priority and people will grow. People want to grow. If you give them the right information consistently, and in different formats, they will not only grow, but they will thrive!

The moral of this story….I hate school and homework to this day, but if I find a benefit in something or find it interesting I’m ALL IN. Find ways to get your clients interested by showing them the benefits that they truly care about and they will be all in as well.


Steve Long