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:

http://smartgrouptraining.com/10-things-your-clients-should-know-about-your-group-training-program/

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

 

 

Fine Tuning Your Rolling Patterns

Wow! It’s so cool that I never stop learning. I’ve been working on improving rolling patterns for years, and honestly…I feel I’m pretty damn good at it. Even though I’m good at fixing upper and lower body rolling patterns, I knew I was still missing something.

How is it that someone can have good, clean rolling patterns but still fail the rotary stability screen on the Functional Movement Screen. Generally speaking, if you nail the rolling patterns, both upper and lower, you’ll clear the rotary stability screen. However, every once in awhile, I’ll run across a scenario that someone looks to be rolling effortlessly but yet his or her rotary stability is still off. The right side and the left side just aren’t communicating like they should. What gives???

If you’re unfamiliar with rolling, let me explain the pattern before I go any further. Rolling was one of the first movements you did as a baby. After birth, we learn to breathe, we learn to move our arms and legs while on our backs, and eventually, we need to go find our Mom when she runs off, so we roll on our bellies and eventually learn how to crawl. Rolling is a foundational movement engrained in each and every one of us. Nobody showed us how to roll. We just did it. There wasn’t a coach standing by your side when you were 3-6 months old coaching you how to roll on your belly. It just happened naturally.

Fixing rolling patterns took me some time to develop, and adding the new tip I’m about to share with you will help you hone your skills as well. There’s always room for improvement.

A couple weeks ago, Dave Vitamix Wilton (Yeah…I said Dave Vitamix Wilton. The bro is a juicing fool) showed me a little tool to add to my toolbox, and I’m extremely grateful. It’s pretty simple too, so this makes it even better.

So what’s the tool to help improve rolling?

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Breathing: The Missing Puzzle Piece in Your Training

I’ve talked about why nasal breathing is so important, the guys have a video on how to cue it, and I also gave you three simple ways to incorporate it into your client’s training.

I am now going to explain why breathing is the missing puzzle piece in your client’s programming.

The act of breathing is a functional movement.

When you were born that was the first movement you performed.

Babies breathe beautifully, moving their bellies up and down. Their natural body mechanics are amazing! There’s a quote that I’ve been looking for to no avail, so to paraphrase, babies are born geniuses and the act of living de-geniuses them. Which is totally true! We’ve all seen the picture of a random baby squatting:

Breathing

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3 Simple Ways to Incorporate Optimal Breathing in Your Clients Training

So, you’ve read 5 Reason Why You Should Be Cuing Nasal Breathing with Your Clients. Now, how do you start incorporating it?

The first one is pretty obvious.

Start Cuing It!

Just slowly start doing it. Your clients might not even notice, and they’ll follow your lead. Hopefully you have curious clients like we do at J&M Strength and Conditioning. Encourage their questions! Educating your clients is extremely important. How else are you going to sell the concept of breathing like a 3 month old or convince them to roll around on the floor like a baby?

Optimal Breathing 1

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Turkish Get Up – Roll-to-Hand

Going from the elbow to the hand in the Turkish Get Up used to be my least favorite step while performing the Get Up. Personally, I struggled with getting into proper position due to a limitation within my thoracic spine, but we’ll get into that in just a minute. This piece is going to be designed around breaking down what’s going on in the Turkish Get Up in what we call the Elbow-to-Hand, or Roll-to-Hand.

The Roll-to-Hand is the third step in the process of doing the Get Up. If you haven’t reviewed the first three articles on the Turkish Get Up, I’d take a minute to get caught up on “how to address the bell properly”, the “roll-to-press” phase, and the “roll-to-elbow” phase. You should be owning each one of those phases before you ever get here. Taking your time with the Turkish Get Up and piecing it together over time is the best way to learn it. If you’re experienced with the Get Up, let’s dive right into the details and common faults or restrictions we see in the “roll-to-hand” phase.

By now you’ve learned how to get to the elbow with the kettlebell overhead. You should’ve been practicing shoulder position, body awareness, proper placement of the kettlebell while overhead, and all the other little details we taught in the “roll-to-elbow” phase. The next step in the process of finishing the Get Up is going to change the primary base of support from the elbow to the hand. Also, your torso is going to become more erect in this position by simply extending the elbow and using the hand for your support on the down arm. Check out the video below to see how to perform this phase.

Now that you’ve gotten a chance to review the video, you should have a better idea of what I’m talking about as I begin to break down some of the common errors you’ll see in this phase.

The first thing you’ll notice with this phase is the amount of thoracic extension it requires. You won’t think about it that much if you’re not limited here, but if you are, this phase will definitely point out any restrictions within the thoracic spine. Also, if you’re limited within the T-spine, you’re probably going to find subtle ways to cheat during this phase as well. Here are some of the common cheats I see with people doing the Get Up when there is a possible shoulder mobility or thoracic limitation:

Not being able to lock out the elbow on the down arm – If you or your client can’t lock out the elbow on the base of support, you’re going to ask the supporting arm to do a lot more than it should have to. Performing the Get Up is more about position than it is about pure strength, but if you don’t have adequate mobility, you’re probably going to compromise by keeping the elbow flexed a little. Creating a little bit of elbow flexion takes some of the demand off the thoracic extension needed to be here, but it will force you to work harder than you should have to on the down arm.

Anterior Glide of the Humeral head – This is another main fault you’ll see on the down arm. After changing the base of support from the elbow to the hand, you’ll need to ensure the shoulder stays compressed and packed throughout. Letting the humeral head glide forward will only put stress on the labrum and structure of the shoulder. If you can’t maintain good shoulder position here, I’d recommend using the tip I’ll show below to fix most of the common errors seen in the “roll-to-hand” phase.

Positioning the hand too close to the body – When we teach the Get Up, we usually teach people to simply extend the elbow of the down arm to change the base of support from the elbow to the hand. If you choose to do this, your hand will always be positioned in the same spot. However, what we usually see is that people tend to move the position of the arm and they’ll position the hand much closer to the body. We prefer to just keep the hand in the same position so you can get used to being in that exact same spot. If you change the hand position, it’s highly unlikely to find that exact same position each and every time you do a Get Up. Keeping the same hand position will help your body learn this phase through consistency. It’s going to be in the same spot time-after-time, and this consistency will help dial in the form on this particular phase of the Get Up.

Now that I’ve explained the common faults seen, I want to cover one of my favorite strategies to help build this phase and keep them from happening. As I’ve previously discussed, many of these common faults will come from a limitation within the thoracic spine. Before working on this phase, be sure to hit the foam roller on the T-spine, lats, teres, and pecs. Ensuring to hit soft tissue work in the shoulder complex can help improve overall position in the “roll-to-hand” phase. Also, try adding a couple thoracic extension corrective exercises to your warm up. A couple of my favorite exercises that help increase thoracic extension are:

Bench T Spine Extension

Quadruped Rockback

After you do the proper soft tissue work within the shoulder complex and the corrective exercises designed to improve mobility within the thoracic spine, you can start trying to work on roll-to-hand phase of the Turkish Get Up. If you’re limited by mobility, you can still work on this phase of the Get Up, but you just need to know how to make an adjustment to ensure you’re in the proper position.

Turkish Get Up - Roll to Hand

After you complete the roll-to-elbow phase, instead of trying to work your way up to your hand, start propping up the elbow to slowly begin to extend through T-spine. You can start by simply rolling up a mat to create a 2-3 inch height increase. You’ll still be on the elbow; however, now you’re starting to get some extension through the thoracic spine. Go through some breathing, neck clocks, rotations, and “juice the movement”. After your comfortable there and can maintain good form, start adding more height to the prop. You can continue to roll up the mat, switch to using a yoga block, or finding other unique ways to increase the height of the down elbow.

Simply adding rolled up mats or yoga blocks is a great way to work on getting thoracic extension without compromising form. Only go as high as you can before compensation occurs. If you’re doing the soft tissue work and the corrective exercises listed above, you’ll be able to get up to the hand in no time. Don’t let a mobility problem stop you from owning this movement. Own your mobility and then learn how to stabilize by using the Turkish Get Up.

 

Train Hard & Train Smart!

Steve & Jared

 

 

Featured Exercise: Supine Breathing

For our featured exercise we decided to build off of Lucy’s article yesterday on nasal breathing.

If you didn’t catch that article check it out here:
http://smartgrouptraining.com/5-reasons-you-should-be-cuing-nasal-breathing/

Today we have the first video from our product Building a Foundation

The first exercise that we use with all of our clients is Supine Silent Breathing. Lucy talked about this in her article but we wanted to expand on it with some great coaching cues and video footage to help out even more.

Learn the basics of breathing in workouts by watching the video below.

 

For more information on breathing progressions, check out the resource that this video came from…..

Building a Foundation

sgt_foundation_total_mockup 450 wide

http://sgtfoundation.com/

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Cuing Nasal Breathing with Your Clients

We just got back from a great seminar this past weekend in Lexington KY called the Train Like a Girl Seminar. This was a really great seminar, featuring some of the best coaches in the industry. The cool thing was all of the coaches were really on the same page, so the attendees left with a great action plan, instead of confused on conflicting information. I really recommend you check out the next one, I’ll make sure to send out links when it happens.

Of course we talked about the FMS, and our good friend Lucy Hendricks did a hands section on breathing. Lucy has really focused her education on restorative breathing, and even though she doesn’t claim to be an expert, she really knows her stuff. So while we were there I asked Lucy if she could contribute some information on the basics of breathing, and she was glad to help!

Check out Lucy’s article below, and learn the basics of nasal breathing. This is an intriguing topic, but we have seen AMAZING results working with people on this. You’re going to love it!


5 Reasons Why You Should Be Cuing Nasal Breathing with Your Clients

Belly breathing has been popular in the fitness industry for quite some time, but what about nasal breathing? I know for some people this isn’t new information, but, this really needs to start getting out there. It’s a complete game changer.

I’m going to give you 5 reasons why you should be getting your clients to shut their mouths and start nasal breathing throughout their workout.

No one should mouth breathe unless they’re getting chased by a tiger or pushing 400lbs on the prowler.

  1. Better Sleep
  2. Your client might be getting 6-8 hours of sleep at night, but, are they getting the restorative sleep they need? Probably not! If they’re mouth breathing, then, they’re not belly breathing. Your diaphragm is the only muscle that isn’t paralyzed during REM sleep. This means if you’re using all your accessory muscles to breathe, your body is never able to completely shut down. You want your body to completely shut off at night. How else are you going to recover?

    Get your clients nasal breathing! It will help them recover faster from their workouts, which will give them get better results!

    Nasal Breathing
  3. Increased T-Spine Mobility and Lumbar Stability
  4. This one might be a little tricky for clients to understand. This is when I tell my clients “We’re turning a muscle on that hasn’t been working, so other muscles can finally relax”. Now I know it’s not that simple, but, at the same time it kind of is. If you get your diaphragm working optimally, your accessory muscles will no longer have to do take over and breathe for you.

    How often do you have clients walk in with locked up upper backs, or stiff neck and shoulders? Almost every day, right?

    Getting your clients to breathe optimally will get them moving better, which will make your job remarkably easier

  5. Your Blood, Muscles, and Brain Need All the Oxygen They Can Get
  6. When you mouth breathe, you breathe too much and too fast. You are probably breathing in a lot of oxygen and recycling it right back out. Your body needs enough time to do that exchange the right way (Of course you’re observing some or you’d be dead ;) but definitely not optimal levels).

    When I have my clients do 2 minutes of nasal breathing on the floor, some say they feel high, melted, or completely relaxed. Those people just got oxygen into their muscles and brain. How cool is that?!

  7. No More Stuffy Noses
  8. The number one complaint I get from clients is that their noses are always stuffy. These clients believe nasal breathing isn’t an option for them. However, mouth breathing is most likely causing their stuffiness! When you mouth breathe, you over breathe, taking in too much air. Your brain wants the air flow to slow down. As a result, it will send signals down to your goblet cells in order to produce mucous and slow down breathing.

  9. Fight or Flight.

This one is most important. We all know the difference between the Parasympathetic Nervous system and the Sympathetic Nervous system. If someone is huffing and puffing after deadlifting 200lbs for a few reps I will let that go. Is it optimal? Ehh.. that could be a pretty long discussion, but, as long as they’re keeping good form and not hurting themselves, I’m okay with it. What’s not okay is if someone is mouth breathing, shallow breathing, and holding their breath during the dynamic warm-up. I don’t want clients to be in a fight or flight state while they’re doing something as simple as knee circles or bird dog.

Cue nasal breathing as much as you can. Let your clients go all out on the prowler or on their heavy lifts, but always finish with nasal breathing. Don’t let your clients leave until they turn on their parasympathetic nervous system on. Get them down on the floor and have them nasal breathe for about 40 breaths (I say 40 breaths because, let’s be honest, we know they’ll only actually do 20).

The list can go on forever, but I think these 5 reasons should be enough to start cuing it! Next time I’ll be talking about how to incorporate nasal breathing with your clients, and methods you can use if they are struggling with it.

 

Lucy Hendricks

 

 

Featured Exercise: Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean is a great exercise for power and strength, but sometimes requires some finesse to perfect your technique.

Ever have trouble beating up your forearms??

Whether you are an experience expert with “kettle bumps” on your forearms, or you have never even tired a clean, we think you will like this video.

Check it out below:

 

Love kettlebells and love Smart Group Training? Check out SGT with Bells by clicking the banner below.

sgt_bells_total_mockup_resized

 

 

Breaking Down the Turkish Get Up: Roll-to-Elbow

by Jared Woolever

The Turkish Get Up has been one of our favorite exercises for quite awhile now. I know I’ve been using it myself, and with nearly all my clients, for a little over 5 years now. Even though I’ve been doing Get Up’s for many years now, I still haven’t quite perfected the motion yet.

I know what you’re probably thinking… 5 years and you still haven’t mastered the Get Up?

Yeah… 5+ years later and I still work on dialing in the technical aspects of this move. Going through the full movement will certainly challenge you, and if you continually work on the fine details of the Get Up, you’re mobility, stability, and coordination will drastically improve.

This is actually the third piece I’ve written on the Get Up. I’m working on putting together an article for each phase of the Get Up. Learning the Get Up in phases is the ideal way of teaching this move, so I figured I’d break it down into the distinct phases we use ourselves, and with our clients, on a regular basis.

The phase I want to discuss here will be the Roll-to-Elbow. This is the third phase I’ll be covering, so be sure to catch up if you’ve missed the first two articles. You can check out those here:

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Featured Exercise: Split Squat

We realized that one of our strengths is teaching exercises, but our blog doesn’t really have a whole lot of exercise demo’s.

So……We’re going to fix that with our Featured Exercise Section of the blog.

With our first video we bring you the split squat.

I know, you already know everything about the split squat right? You may be surprised actually.

Check out the video below to get some great cues for the “hip dominant” (kinda) split squat.

 

Check out SGT 365 for over 300 high quality exercise demonstrations and MUCH MUCH more!!

split squat

http://smartgrouptraining365.com/

 

Train Hard & Train Smart!

Steve & Jared