Adding Additional Revenue Streams to Your Fitness Business

If you’re in the business of training, you probably know that there are going to be ebbs and flows when it comes to revenue generated. You’re going to have some clients that will vacation for the winter. Some people reduce the amount their training in the summer since they’ll be outside doing the activities they actually train for all winter long. If you coach youth athletes, they’re going to have a sport season that chews up a majority of their time and typically this means less time with you. Since the clientele is going to always have some turnover, you better make sure you have income coming in from more than just one place. Adding additional revenue streams shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury to add more money; it should be viewed as a necessity of doing business.

 

Historically, we’ve always had pretty good retention. You can’t build a gym that does well over a half million a year in sales without keeping a heavy chunk of your clients. Also, you usually can’t make that type of cash with training alone. Having multiple revenue streams has been a lifesaver for us many times. There have been multiple months that training income wasn’t as high as it should, but the expenses sure as hell don’t budge. Those expenses are going to be there month in, month out whether you like it or not.

 

So what are you going to do if you lose a few clients?

 

How are you going to pay your bills if this happens?

 

If you’re smart and proactive about making sure your business is successful, start thinking of additional ways you can generate some income. Some of these revenue streams will be very miniscule in comparison to your training numbers, but when you start to add each revenue stream together, you’ll see how that can easily be another 5 figures or more added to your bottom line. Even if you’re only making a couple hundred bucks each month from something new you add, over the course of a year, that additional revenue source will be a couple grand in the bank. Add 3-4 easy to implement ideas, and you could easily be looking at giving yourself a $10,000 a year raise. Doesn’t that sound nice?

 

Here are a few different revenue steams we’ve added over the years. Some of them have done more than others, but it all adds up in the end. Check out the list and start thinking about a few ways to add some additional cash to your bottom line:

 

Digital or Physical Products

Thinking all the way back to the start of the gym, both Steve and myself always wanted to share our knowledge via a product of some sort. We kicked around the ideas on how to create fat loss products. We threw around golf training and making a DVD to help add distance to your drive. We literally had at least 10-15 ideas being kicked around before we came up w/ Smart Group Training.

 

During our travels, both Steve and myself kept getting asked the same questions. Over and over…trip after trip…the same questions always popped up.

 

How do you guys do it?

 

How in the hell do you FMS everyone in your boot camp program?

 

On the way back from a Mastermind meeting or educational seminar, I forget which one it was, our product finally came to us. It didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. It all stemmed from getting asked, “How do you do it? How do you incorporate the FMS into your group training?”

 

We’re both pretty passionate about this topic and apparently…there’s a market looking for this information. We threw away our idea of High Performance Fat Loss (actually had a logo created, Facebook page, and were taking the steps necessary to get it off the ground) and we went all in with Smart Group Training. Needless to say; the rest is history. If you have a good idea and can create a digital or physical product, this could be a good way to add some additional money each month. Don’t be foolish and think it’s a turnkey, done-for-you, easy to implement system. There will be work behind this. There will be some customer service that has to be dealt with. But…the additional revenue stream can help take you and your training business to the next level if you’re ready for it.

 

More Than One Type of Training Option

            When I first opened my gym, I only had group training as an option. After quitting the box gym I worked at for 4+ years, I started my training business by renting out a dance studio and the local senior center. I had a traveling gym in my Ford Explorer and went from place to place to provide the best possible workout for the people that believed in what I was doing. Group training was the only option.

 

At this point in my career, I only had one revenue stream. I quickly realized that adding another service or providing the current clients with a little more was not only wanted…it was necessary to keep moving forward. This led me to opening my first training facility. As soon as I had my own place, semi-private personal training became another option. A year or so later, we had youth sports performance. Today, we have group personal training, semi-private training, a ridiculously high priced one-on-one option, and we also have a couple add-on’s to give our clients an option to do both personal training and group training. Having a few different options will help minimize any losses if one program or service has a bad month.

 

Supplement Sales

            Ever since we’ve opened our doors to the gym, we’ve been selling supplements. This additional revenue stream should be a no-brainer as long as you have a little extra cash flow to supply some inventory to put on the shelves. We’re in the business of delivering results, and supplements can definitely help our clients achieve them. We try to keep a handful of supplements on our shelf in order to make things easy for the client, and to provide them with a quality source to get their supplements.

 

They come and train with us to get help, so having a few supplements only made sense. We don’t go overboard on supplements, but we do carry fish oil, probiotics, whey protein, meal replacement shakes, post-workout concoctions, and a multi-vitamin. We’re not necessarily trying to get anything else on the shelf, but these few supplements really help us provide our clients with the missing links in their daily nutrition. If we can start filling the missing links in their diets, replace some of the bad for good, and get them more concentrated on what goes in their mouth, they’re going to get better results and you’re going to make a little extra cash each month. Win/win right there!

 

Specialized Nutrition & Goal Setting Sessions

We’ve had this option at our gym for more than four years now. Nutrition hasn’t been a huge revenue generator; however, it’s pulled in multiple thousands of dollars each and every year. Without this little revenue stream, the business would make a little less each month, and our clients that want and need the extra help may begin to look elsewhere. It’s our mission to create a holistic program that gets results and covers each component of health and wellness.

 

One thing that most gyms and trainers suck at is goal setting. More than half the trainers I talk to don’t even have their own set of goals written on paper. Don’t try to start this program if you fall in that group. First, start by setting your own goals and realize the power of writing them down and reviewing them daily. After you’ve had some success with this, create a system to deliver results to your clients. Create a goal setting workshop you can take one person, or a group of people through. Start to work with them on gazing into the future to see obstacles they’re going to encounter. Create action plans for when those obstacles actually arise. Finally, package all of this into a powerful session and program you should be charging for.

 

Our pricing, especially for our group training, just doesn’t allow time to meet individually with people to go over goals and create action plans for success. We can do all the education we want, but some people are going to want the extra attention, and they’re not going to bat an eye at the additional cost. This program is definitely a winner and will only help improve/enhance the results you’re getting with your clients.

 

So there you have it…four additional revenue streams for your training business. If you’re not doing these, you should be. Don’t try to overextend yourself for a couple hundred bucks, but think about a good system to deliver these programs without making your schedule and staff go crazy. If you can deliver these programs or offerings with ease though, you definitely should. These programs will bump your monthly revenue and enhance your clients’ results. Anything that puts extra money in my pocket while improving the results of my clients is a worth looking into. If you have a revenue stream that pulls in some good money each month while improving the results of your clients, I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Drop a line in the comment section if you have a revenue generator that’s enhancing your clients’ results.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Check In Contest – How to Verify Check Ins

Facebook Check In Contest

After my most recent blog post, I quickly found out that finding the number of Facebook check in’s someone has on Facebook was tricky. It’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. I’m going to show you a simple way to check how many times you’ve checked in to a business.

Facebook Check In prizes can create quite the hype in your business. It’s pretty cool to get on social media on a daily basis and see your gym on the feed ALL THE TIME! It’s very simple to do this as well. Check back to the post I’m talking about to see the prizes we give to our members.

You can find it here:

http://smartgrouptraining.com/3-ways-to-generate-leads-enhance-results-and-build-community/

Here is the simple step-by-step process to find out how many times someone has checked in. I’m going to keep it real simple, so just pick up your phone and follow along.

Verifying a Facebook Check In

  1. Go to your Facebook App and open Facebook on your cell phone
  2. Go to the bottom right hand corner and tap “more”
  3. Next, click on your name to go to your personal profile
  4. From deer, go to the about tab and give it a click
  5. Scroll down to the places section and click on it
  6. BOOM! Check the “Visited” section and you’re all set.

This is a simple step process to give your business some Facebook exposure. Set it up tomorrow, confirm your clients are actually marketing for you, and get yourself some new clients from this little tip :)

Do you currently run a facebook check in program? Have you in the past? Let us know your experience with running facebook check in contests or programs with your clients. We have had great success with what we have done, but I’m sure someone can add to this? What are your thoughts?

3 Ways to Generate Leads, Enhance Results, and Build Community

It’s always fun to talk about training.  I can sit here and talk training for hours upon hours.  However, if you don’t have people staying, paying, and referring their friends, training may have to take the backseat for a while.  Don’t take that statement the wrong way.  I am by no means saying to stop your education.  It will help you get better results with your clients, but today I want to talk about 3 different strategies you can use to ensure that you always have a little buzz going around your training program.  Not only do we want to provide them with a great, safe and effective workout, but we also want to get them talking, sharing their experience on Facebook, and creating a culture around your program.

 

  1. Transformation Contests – I’ve gone back and forth on transformation contests over the past 5 years. Why is this?  The reason is that transformation contests generate amazing results; however, some people get absolutely devastated if they don’t win.  They bust their ass for 6-10 weeks to get a close 2nd or 3rd, or hell…they may even get 5th.  They take the “If you’re not first, you’re last” quote from Ricky Bobby a little too seriously.  Some people will sink into a state of depression and put the weight back on right after the contest is over. 

These are our outliers though.

This is not the norm.

While some people get upset that they didn’t win, most of the participants will get amazing results (better than they would’ve if there wasn’t a challenge or contest), have a good time working out, bring more intensity to each session, and start talking about things to their family and friends.  This “buzz” going around is a great thing.  You need to take advantage of this if you’re a trainer.  Use the buzz, use the hype, use the results to help fuel your marketing and ability to get new clients.

During our 8 week challenges, the average weight loss is somewhere around 10 lbs.  Some people drop 25-30 lbs. and lose more inches than your typical footlong sandwich from Subway.  We need to capitalize off these results.  We need to get that information out on social media, put before and afters on your web page, and build a strong sense of culture and community.

If you haven’t done a challenge or contest before, don’t fret.  It can be a little overwhelming to put one together, especially if you’re all by yourself.  However, the money you make from it, the results your clients will get, and the referrals throughout the contest will far outweigh the work it takes to set one up.

I’m a big fan of the saying, “don’t re-invent the wheel.”  It’s already been done by hundreds of trainers around the world.  Take what works for them and simply apply.  If you’re looking to save time and still have a challenge that generates hype, check out the done-for-you transformation challenge product my friend Ryan Ketchum put together.  Awesome product that gives you plug and play material for making your next, or first, challenge a breeze.

Transformation Success Manual HERE

Transformation

 

Whole Food Detox Program – A couple years ago, we decided to spice things up around the gym.  We don’t like having workout-based challenges and contests too frequently.  If you do, you’ll have deal hoppers trying to take advantage of every special you have, but shy away from actually working with you year-round.  So after thinking about things for a while, we decided we wanted to do a challenge that was based around nutrition, and nutrition only.

This is where the 21-Day Detox program came into play.  After hearing about the success my friend and SGT Advisory Board Member, Justin Yule, was having with his program, we decided to give it a shot.

BOOM!

Instant success!

Justin put together a detox program that is based solely around eating whole, unprocessed foods.  It’s an elimination diet to rid the body of sugar and processed foods.  I’m sure it goes a little deeper into the science than that, but to keep it simple…the detox dramatically changed the way people eat and how the think about food.  It made our clients more aware of what was actually going in their mouths.  Most people already “thought” they were eating well.  It wasn’t until they went through the detox program before they realized the sugar content and processed foods were in their diet much more than they originally thought.

Just like the Transformation Contest listed above, you’d think there’s a ton of time needed to pull this off.  WRONG!

Justin and his wife Jannell put together the program and decided to package it for other trainers as well.  Overall, I think it took me about 2-3 hours to get this set up and enrolling people into the program.  The 21-Day Detox is a done-for-you program that you plug into an autoresponder system.  Basically, you cut and paste the stuff from their product, add it to an autoresponder email system, create a Facebook page, and that’s about it.

We typically do this twice a year.  Once in the winter (after or during our transformation contest) and once again in the fall.  To be honest, we’ve been running these contests for ourselves.  Even as trainers, it’s easy to fall into the habits of eating like crap and not doing EXACTLY as you preach.  By adding a detox into our annual calendar, we’re able to lock down our nutrition a couple times a year, and this generally spills over for much longer than the 21 days.  Personally, after doing a detox, my nutrition habits are pretty much perfect for at least 2-3 months.  By the time I start to slip back into old comfort food habits, we’re kicking the detox promotion back off again.  Love this program…can’t say enough about it.  Try it out.  I guarantee you’ll make your money back, plus more, and have some “buzz” going around your gym.

21 Day Detox Challenge HERE

Detox

Facebook Check-In Program – If you truly want to generate some buzz around your gym and develop a culture from within, you better be embracing the power of social media.  I’m not a big Twitter guy personally, but whatever social media platform you and your clients use regularly, a check-in program will help get your gym’s name out there and constantly in front of people.

Everyone likes to get free stuff.  Give people an opportunity to earn free stuff, and you’ll be surprised what they’ll do.  Checking in on Facebook is a pretty reasonable request, so a heavy majority of our members check-in at our gym each and every workout.  We probably have about 2/3’s of our members doing this.  Take 2/3’s of 250.  That’s 165 people checking in each week on Facebook.  Now multiply that by the average number of sessions completed each week, we’ll be on the conservative side and say 2 workouts done each week, and you’re looking at a whopping 330 impressions each week.  Stretch that out to the month, and we’re looking at about 1500 posts about our gym.

The beautiful thing about this one is that it’s not you promoting your own gym or training program.  It’s your members!  Harness the power of social media and give your clients a reason to talk.  We recently changed our check-in prizes, but this is what we’re doing now, and will be doing for years to come :)

  • 25 Check-In’s – $10 Whole Foods Gift Card
  • 50 Check-In’s – Free Premium Tee Shirt (Gym Branded of course :)
  • 100 Check-In’s – $50 Gift Certificate to the gym (no restrictions on this)
  • 150 Check-In’s – One free massage or float
  • 250 Check-In’s – Gym Swag Bag w/ Tervis Tumbler, water bottle, T Shirt, Bag, Hat, and Sweat Towel)
  • 500 Check In’s – Polar Loop or A300 Activity Tracker
  • 750 Check-In’s – 6 Months of massage or floats
  • 1000 Check-In’s – All Expense paid vacation to anywhere in the domestic US

We obviously don’t have an issue with giving away this stuff.  If it generates one client in the process of them getting 1000 check-ins, it pays itself off.  You get a ton of exposure, you’ll probably get at least one referral if they’re signing in 1000x, and you’ll have a client that’s been staying, paying, and telling their friends for years.  It’s a solid program that does a good job at getting your gym’s name out there.

So there you have it…three of my favorite things that we do to generate buzz and new leads coming in the door.  Hope this helps spark some creativity, or at least gives you the resources to buy one of the plug-and-play options listed above.  If you’re not doing any of these, try to work them in your marketing calendar.  You won’t be disappointed.

Building Your Training Program From the Ground Up

Building a well-rounded training program that’s designed to get major results is a ton of fun. Program design is honestly one of my favorite things I do on a regular basis; outside of actually training the client. I absolutely love training, and if you’re reading this article, I’m sure we have a common bond in how we feel about training. That’s probably why you got into the field of strength & conditioning, personal training, or rehab. Most of my colleagues all say the same thing, “I just want to help people. I want to be a driving force in their success and help them achieve things they never thought possible.”

If you truly want to help people, the concept of “From the Ground Up” should be well understood and utilized on a daily basis in the gym.

What exactly does it mean?

Training from the ground up simply means that it’s best to start on the ground before working your way to your feet. The floor is the safest place for you to begin. While on the floor, gravity has less of an effect on the body. Since we’re able to take gravity out of the equation, basic stability tends to improve. The floor is giving extra support and stability, so learning basic moves becomes easier if you start on the floor.

I pretty much have all my clients start there…on the floor. After foam rolling and knocking out a couple quick corrective exercises based around their weakest link, our clients all start on the ground. Exercises will vary from individual to individual since we’re all unique and we all have our own little quirks we need to work on, but the concept of starting from the ground and building our way up is apparent in each training session.

Have you ever heard of the 4×4 Matrix?

Dr. Greg Rose, one of the top guys in the FMS, SFMA, and TPI, created this little nugget of information that I use ALL the time. At least that’s where I caught wind of the 4×4 Matrix. Whether Dr. Rose created it or not, the concepts of the 4×4 Matrix has allowed me to get outstanding results in less time. I’m going to list out the 4×4 Matrix and what it means, but I’m really only going to elaborate on the left side of this table.

4×4 Matrix

Position Level of Resistance/Assistance
1. Supine/Prone 1. Core Engaged Assisted
2. Quadruped 2. Bodyweight
3. Kneeling (1/2 or Tall) 3. Core Engaged Resisted
4. Standing 4. Resisted

 

If you look at the table above, illustrating the 4×4 Matrix, you’ll see “position” on the left side. Notice how the position starts on the ground, moves to quadruped, then kneeling, and finally standing. This is where the concept of “From the Ground Up” begins. We must first be able to perform an exercise well on the floor before we’re going to have success in the next position…usually.

After the movement screen, it’s time to start training. We customize the warm up’s. We customize the strength and power portion of the training program. We tailor everything they’re doing to push their limits whether that’s simply learning how to move an arm overhead with control or progressing all the way to something as complex as a push jerk. So, the next time you’re building a training program, remember the 4×4 Matrix. Remember that starting on the ground and building up will enhance results.

We have two resources to check out to help explain this concept a little better. First, there’s going to be an in-service Steve did at our gym a couple years ago. Steve covers breathing by position and takes you from the floor, to quadruped, to kneeling, to standing. You’ll be able to see that left side of the Matrix in action and start to understand why we start on the floor. Build the base and start to go more vertical.

The next resource we’re going to provide you with is a snapshot of our current warm-up we’re using in our group training program right now. Notice how we begin with the breath on the floor (the most basic, most supported position), we stay in supine, then we move to quadruped, then kneeling, and finally standing. The exercises build in complexity and follow the Ground Up approach. So, the next time you’re building your training program, start to think about building the foundation on the floor and progressing from there.

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If you’re looking for more info on how to build your training program based upon the results of the Functional Movement Screen, be sure to check out our resource: Smart Group Training Volume One – Screening and Corrective Exercise. In this resource we’ll show you an exact, step-by-step implementation plan to incorporate screening and corrective exercise into your group training program. This is much easier than you probably think, but no need in re-creating the wheel. Check it out!

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Assessment in Fitness Training

Question:

I am working on tightening up my assessment process. Making a quick version of a movement screen and a more detailed assessment for special cases. I work alongside a massage therapist so we need a process that covers both of our needs so we can communicate about certain clients. The FMS is great, but definitely not enough in some cases and too much for other cases.

What general or specific assessments have you guys found helpful that are often overlooked?

Answer:

I’m just going to break this question down piece by piece to be more accurate. Here we go.

Creating your own assessment process is a bad idea – I can tell you from experience that this is a bad idea. I’ve made many screens that, at the time, I thought were better than the FMS. More details, easier, no kit needed, etc. However, after using these screens, I’ve seen the light and understand that the FMS is the standard for a reason. I will make my point with your questions below.

Need to communicate with others about results – This is why the FMS is so amazing! It gives you a baseline to communicate, it gives you a scoring system that tells you about the movement, and it’s the only system that defines what good movement is. If you can’t define good movement than what are you assessing? The Functional Movement Screen and the SFMA were designed for movement professionals to communicate with clinicians worldwide. Why reinvent the wheel?

Not enough in some cases – I can’t think of a case where the FMS is not enough to screen functional movement.  What movement is not covered by the FMS that wouldn’t be considered a performance test or an assessment that a clinician should be doing? If your client is in pain you should refer out. Know your scope of practice. Can they do they movement that you will be asking of them in the gym? The FMS is the best system to tell you which patterns you train, which patterns you correct, and which patterns you avoid.

0 – avoid and/or refer out

1 – correct or avoid

2 – Process with caution

3 – Feel free to rip it

Additionally, the FMS Level 2 workshop has many breakouts for each movement on the screen so you can dig deeper into correcting each pattern. I also have started a series on the SGT blog that shows breakouts for each movement. Between the screen and the breakouts, that should be more than enough information.

Too much for other cases – The FMS takes 8-10 minutes to perform with a client. I don’t’ know how to get this much reliable information in 10 minutes any other way. Doing some of the movements and not all of them gives you an incomplete picture of how someone moves. The FMS is basic movement, you will be doing basic movement with your clients, shouldn’t you at least look at those movements at a basic level without load before training them?

Also, you can always default to the Active Straight Leg Raise and Shoulder Mobility if someone is elderly or severely obese. I can’t think of any situation besides that where the FMS would be too much.

All of that being said – I completely understand that you want to learn more about assessment. I read and watch everything I can get my hands on about the topic and I also tweak my breakouts all of the time. You should always keep learning and questioning the status quo, so I commend you for that.

I’d check out the following resources to learn more:

Assess and Correct by Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartman

Functional Stability Training by Mike Reinold and Eric Cressey

SGT Building a Foundation

I do however strongly believe that the FMS should come first so we all can be on the same page with what movement is, and we all can communicate on how to make it better. Great question!

Stress Response – Why Less is More

We live in a world where more is better.  The “ Go Hard or Go Home” mentality takes control, and we end up pushing ourselves to the limit…ALL THE TIME.  We treat each day like a special event, and we treat each workout like it’s a competition.  Pictures with sexy women get posted all over Facebook with cheesy motivational quotes that make me want to throw up.  All of these images seem to tell us that if you’re not busting your ass day in and day out, then you’re not really trying.  So is this the mentality it takes to get great results?  Do we really have to train like we’re competing for the Olympics on a daily basis to improve our bodies?  I don’t think so.  Actually, I know we don’t.

I’ve been able to help people build bodies they’re proud of, get off medications, drop tons of weight, and blow their biceps up like balloons so they’re pretty to stare at in the mirror.  I’m not trying to say it doesn’t take hard work to get results.  I’m not saying that having discipline isn’t a factor.  Both hard work and discipline are major contributors to achieving your health and fitness goals.  The more elite the status you’re trying to take your body to, the more hard work it’s going to take.  However, if we’re going to train our bodies and push them to the max, we need to understand the stress response and how stress actually affects our bodies.  Stress is inevitable, and the same response will happen whether it’s a good stressor or a bad stressor.

“Eustress” is the term for positive stress within the body.  Working out, falling in love, getting a big fat bonus at Christmas time from work, getting a massage, and taking your first vacation in years are all examples of eustress.  These are all good things and I’m sure if you’re reading this, each example of eustress would be desirable.  Not all stress has to be bad.  Stress can be a good thing.    It is inevitable, so we need to learn how to control it.

“Distress,” on the other hand, is a stress in the body that is negative in nature.  Some examples of distress can be training through an injury and ignoring your body’s warning signs to stop, having a parent pass away, losing a job, having your favorite critter decide to take a week long stroll through town and go missing, and working from sunrise to sunset.  These are all forms of distress and our lives would be much better if we didn’t have to deal with such things.  Eliminating distress from our lives sounds awesome, but it’s an impossible task to achieve.  We’re always going to have some distress whether we like it or not.  Understanding the difference between eustress and distress, and how these two forms of stress affect our bodies, is crucial to achieving world-class performance.

I’m going to reference the book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers when referring to the stress response.  If you’re interested in learning more about stress, how to manage it, and the responses you can expect within your body when stress comes about, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a not the easiest read, but it helps paint the picture on what stress is and how it affects our bodies.  Without going into the science of stress and the responses it produces within the body, I’m going to give a very quick recap and show you how sometimes doing less can elicit better results than doing more.

If you’re sick, should you follow your planned training program?

If you’ve recently experienced a tragic event in your life, is it going to affect your workouts?

What if you plateau?  Is working harder and picking up additional workouts going to help you break through the barrier you’ve been stuck at?

How about the crazy travel schedule you have coming up?  Have you thought about the response you may have from jet lag, time zone changes, altered sleep patterns, etc.?  Is your body going to be able to adapt, recover, and grow from the hard work you’re doing in your training?3D Character with head in hands, sitting on the word Stress

The fact of the matter is that our training load and intensity need to be altered when stresses begin to add up.  If your life is anything like mine, I’m sure you have periods of intensity followed by normalcy.  I may have periods of time throughout the year that my stress loads build up.  For example, I just got done with a buildout at our new gym.  To save some major cash on the build out, we did as much of the work ourselves as we could.  Adding a gym buildout to my normal routine definitely added some stress to my plate.  My nutrition wasn’t as good as normal.  My sleep patterns were altered and I was averaging a couple hours less each night.  I was working from sunrise to sunset on a daily basis.  Simply put, my stress levels throughout that three-month period were much higher than normal.

The excessive stress in my life caused me to change my training program.  If I would have kept the same planned routine I had written out, I’m almost positive I would have regressed that quarter.  However, with the tweaks to my program, I was able to continue working towards my goals throughout that intense period of time.  Understanding the stress response was a major benefit in this situation.  Knowing that outside stressors were wreaking havoc on my nervous system, I decided to change my plan from getting strong and building work capacity to working on technical aspects of my goal.
MOUNTAIN CLIMB I’ve been rock climbing for a little over a year now, so I’m still pretty new to the sport, but I LOVE it!  My goals over    the past year have been centered on improving my climbing abilities and how to take my skills to a new level.  Being  pretty new to the sport, I still have a lot to work on, so I decided to  rework my initial training plan when the outside  stress levels increased dramatically.  If I was following my initial plan, I would have been focusing on strength  development, intensive grip work, and repeated bouts of moderate to high intensity work coupled with moderate to  minimal rest to build my strength/endurance capacity.  My overall relative strength, grip, and endurance have kept  me from accomplishing some routes or taking some unnecessary falls.  If I were to follow my original plan, these  would have been some of the focal points of my training this fall.  However, this type of training is also pretty stressful  on the nervous system.  Like I said, I’m still new at this.  I still have a lot to work on to improve my climbing.  Making  the change from strength and conditioning focus to a technique focus allowed me to limit the overall stress my body  was facing.  Flagging, heel hooks, bumping, and back stepping are some of the moves I’ve toyed around with, but  there is a lot of room for improvement on the technique side.  Changing my focus allowed me to make gains without    ever experiencing any burnout or major fatigue.

A build out doesn’t happen overnight.  Stresses were going to build up and my body was going react accordingly.  Changing my program helped me control things.  What would have happened if I didn’t make a change?  Let’s look at some of the side effects of what stress does to the body and some of the responses you can expect to see from chronic stress.  Here are a few examples:

  • Decreases in Memory
  • Poor Judgment
  • Accelerated Heart Rate
  • Decreased Digestion and Absorption of Nutrients
  • Constriction of blood vessels, primarily in extremities
  • Lack of Sex Drive and Ability to get an Erection
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Increased Muscle Tension and Tone

chronic stres

Chronic stress will build  up over time.  Generally, this comes with distress versus eustress.  Eustress still creates the same responses within the body; however, we typically don’t worry and stress over the good things in our lives.  This is usually saved for distress, whether the stress is real or imagined.  Both stresses elicit a cascade of events to happen and certain hormones to be released.  Cortisol levels rise, blood sugar levels are altered, and your body starts to react to the stresses you  put on it.  The stress can be from training, or it may have nothing to do with training at all.  The fact of the matter is stress is stress is stress.

Talk to your clients and athletes about what’s going on in their lives.  Are they going through an intense period of stress right now?  If so, what are you going to do about it?  How are you going to alter their program to ensure they can continue to progress even with the increased stress load?  This is something you need to take into consideration if you want to be the best and provide your clients with the best results possible.

Taking a quote from my good friend and SGT Advisory Board member, Jim Laird, “We’re not strength coaches.  We’re stress management specialists.”  He’s spot on with that one.  Training is a stress, but it’s only one of literally thousands of stresses people are dealing with on a daily basis.  Manage stress.  Manage training.  Get superior results!

If you’re looking for more information on how we use tactics like this to personalize your training programs, check out the Elite Training Mentorship.  We’ve been contributors to this site for two years now.  Along with two years of SGT content, you’ll also have amazing info from Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Dave Schmitz a.k.a “the Bandman”, Tyler English, and more.  Get a sneak peek on what goes on in our gyms on a day-to-day basis with Elite Training Mentorship.

 

elite training

7 Productivity Tips for Trainers

If you’ve been in the fitness industry long enough, you should know it’s not as glamorous as some may think. A lot of my friends and family initially thought the training world was filled w/ jokes, hanging out in your PJ’s, and shooting the sh** w/ your clients all day. Don’t get me wrong; a good chunk of my day is just that. However, if that’s all I did each day, I would have a tough time getting new business, keeping the current clients I have, or having a personal life whatsoever.

I spend the first 4-5 years of my career with terrible hours, little to no-money, and absolutely zero personal life outside of the traveling I did for continued education seminars and events. If you’re looking for longevity in this field, you need to figure out how to make the trainer lifestyle sustainable. Staying productive throughout the day is one of the key factors into making a lifestyle you dream of a reality.

Nobody ever hit massive goals and aspirations by sitting on their butt. The ability to block out distractions, staying productive throughout the day, and narrowing your focus are all key steps in improving what you can or can’t accomplish each day. With that in mind, let me give you my top five productivity tips that have helped me own multiple businesses at the same time and churn a profit in the process.

  1. Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail

I use this saying all the time when it comes to clients and their piss poor efforts at eating a clean diet, showing up for a workout, and making excuses for why they’re not achieving their goals. Planning out your calendar, laying out your pre-determined obstacles, and creating structure in your day, week, month, and year is step number one in hitting goals and staying productive.

After you’ve taken the time to reflect on some good, SMART goals, planning a timeline for their success and determining the necessary actions that are needed to accomplish said task/goal is vital. Without this step, you’d simply be winging it day-by-day in hopes that you’re moving closer to your goal. Do you think most fortune 500 companies got to their level of success by sitting back and hoping each day moved them closer to their goals. I highly doubt it.

I’m sure they did something similar to me. Each night, before I go to bed, I start to review and fill my calendar for the next day. Each and every day, I’m sure about 20 percent of your actions lead to 80 percent of the outcomes. Pareto’s law, also known as the 80/20 rule, helps me identify what HAS to be done versus what NEEDS to be done. Each and every task does not have the same importance or value. As you begin to fill your calendar, start to think about Pareto’s law and start weighing the importance of each task on the never-ending to-do list. Take care of the tasks that lead to the greatest impact first. Don’t fiddle around with cleaning out your inbox, doing a mindless task, or knocking off something that only leads to that 20 percent.

Prioritize! Each day I start with at least two tasks I’d like to complete for the end of the day. With proper planning and spending 5-10 minutes the night before, you’ll be able to accomplish the MAJOR tasks on your list and have each day moving you closer to your goal versus staying put…or even worse…moving further away from the desired outcome.

  1. Eliminate Distractions – “Blackout Mode”

In this day in age, it’s pretty tough to block out all the distractions in the world. We are constantly bombarded w/ stimulus that pulls our attention from what we’re doing. Texts, emails, television, and other advances in technology have made a high amount of stimulus the norm. It WILL be the norm for you as well, unless you do something about it.

Years ago, I decided to take off all notifications on my phone, minus texts. No more Facebook updates chiming in, no more emails making my phone buzz or ding constantly, no more notifications were allowed to interrupt my focus. This was an awesome sense of relief. After a few days, I finally started to feel the freedom of not being a slave to the phone or other constant stimulus blocking my focus.

This is what I call “blackout mode.” When I go into blackout mode, I turn my phone on airplane mode to block out all phone distractions. I lock myself in my office and block out as many distractions as possible. When I’m completing the important tasks for the day that are moving me closer to my goal, I typically want to reduce the amount of stimulus that enters my senses. I want to be laser focused. Something as simple as putting in some headphones, locking yourself in an office or visiting a coffee shop to change scenery, putting your phone on airplane mode, and turning on some quiet music that helps block out all other noises and distraction can drastically increase your overall quality and output of the work you’re doing. Give it a shot, ignore as many distractions as possible, and take your productivity to a whole new level.

  1. Eliminate > Automate > Delegate

This one I got from Tim Ferriss and the Four Hour Workweek. I love the concepts of this book. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The ideas of this book are to eliminate useless, monotonous work, that will surely slow you down, steal your attention, and let you forget what life is all about. Life is all about people, relationships, and experiences. Tim does a great job of freeing your mind from traditional thinking about career and life.

In order to completely take control of your life, you’re probably going to have to get some of the tasks you do regularly eliminated from your life permanently. If you’re just starting out, this may not be an option from day one; however, if you don’t lose sight, you evaluate the importance of each task, you create simple systems to get those tasks done, and you hire a team of competent people around you, you too can achieve a lifestyle many will be envious of.

Goal number one is to eliminate all wasted efforts or tasks that pull your focus, chew your time, but only produce a portion of your overall results. Going back to the 80/20 rule, try to eliminate tasks that chew up time and energy, but only drive 20 percent of revenue, time, or effort. Test it out. Find a task that can potentially be eliminated. More often than not, the changes will make no effect on your overall production or results. After you eliminate what’s possible, the next step would be to automate as much as possible. Try to find online services that can automate tasks. I currently use autoresponders for immediate response to someone that shows interest, I’ve set up Google Ads before to help market for me while I sleep, I use EFT to collect all of the payments from my clients to automate billpay, and I also do several other things that enhance productivity, but are completely automatic after the initial set up. Finally, delegation is the last step of creating ultimate freedom without sacrificing results. If you find the right people to do the things you don’t like to do, things that aren’t necessarily in your wheelhouse, or things that you just can’t keep up with, you’ll take your productivity to an all new high.

  1. Chunking or Batching Related Tasks Together

This one should really go with #3. This is really the final step in my process with getting sh** done. A few times a year, I’ll start to list out the activities I’ve been doing on a regular basis. After I get a good laundry list of tasks that are my responsibility, I do an audit. Can I eliminate this task with minimal repercussions? Can I use technology to help me put this task on automation? Can I use someone in my network to get this done to open up more time? Can someone else do this job much quicker, and probably better (web design, accounting, product fulfillment, etc…)? If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to start game planning.

First, follow the step above and get as much of the things off your plate as possible without moving you away from the end goal. After you’ve done that, you should be left with a list of responsibilities you still need to do on a regular basis. I use this list and start batching or chunking similar tasks together. Being a major focus within a couple businesses and managing multiple people, my time and effectiveness is vital to the team and overall success we’re going to have. When I’m in my planning mode (#1), I batch computer tasks with other computer tasks. I batch emails, writing, video editing, uploading blogs, and all computer tasks together. It’s a lot easier to move from writing to emails than it is to move from writing to teaching an intern something about a dysfunctional straight leg raise. I chunk and batch my gym activities. I devote a couple days specifically for one business versus the other. I chunk my time together to help improve productivity. This works like a charm if you apply it.

  1. Monitor Progress Constantly

Are you moving closer to your goal? Or further away? You should do an evaluation of your time on a regular basis. Whatever task you’re doing, you should ask yourself, “Is this moving me closer to my goal?” If the answer is no, stop immediately, re-focus, and get moving on a task that will. Time is the only thing we have in life, so we need to embrace it. Use your time wisely and put more efforts into what’s working versus spinning your wheels and wasting time on efforts that produce minimal results. If it doesn’t fall within that top 20% find a way to ditch it. Use that time to focus on improving the 20% instead of trying to do it all. You won’t know this until you evaluate.

Run a report on your big spending clients. Take care of them. Do the things necessary to find more people just like that. Don’t waste your time on the things that chew up your time, create stress and hassle, but don’t produce much towards to end result. Eliminating those things and doubling your efforts on what’s working is a sure fire way to enhance productivity.

  1. Stay Current w/ Technology

I’m going to keep this one short. Technology is advancing on a daily basis. We live in a world where computers are outdated within weeks or months and technology advances happen at lighting speed. This is awesome if you’re willing to stay up to date. I have technology sync my calendars to eliminate time on scheduling and messing around w/ my calendar. I have filters in my email that help sort important email and batch things together to help make sorting a breeze. I use Evernote to take notes, snap pictures for later reference, create to-do lists, and a bunch of other tasks. I call it my elephant brain (their logo is an elephant head :) It syncs with my phone and computer automatically, so if I’m on the road 500 miles away from home, I can take notes and get things done without having to worry about the accessibility of the info. It’s all automatic. Technology is great. Stay current or you’ll soon fall behind and reduce the output you can do without losing your sanity.

  1. Exercise Regularly!

Since my audience here is coaches, therapists, and trainers, this one should be a no-brainer. Exercise is important. Sure, it takes time out of your day and sometimes feels like you’re killing your output to squeeze in a workout. This is definitely the wrong mentality. Getting in a workout and taking care of yourself will actually improve your overall output. After exercise, you’ll be able to think more clearly, you’ll have more energy to get things done, and you’ll reap the rewards for the minimal time spent on taking care of your body. Don’t be like a client that sits back and makes excuses about being too busy to workout. Make it a priority, even during periods of intensity and pressure. You’ll get more done, you’ll feel much better, and you’ll be practicing what you preach instead of being a big, fat hypocrite.

If you want to master your schedule and get the most out of your time, you’re going to need systems. Don’t re-create the wheel. Take a system that’s been done before and learn to replicate it to re-produce the results in your favor. That’s working smarter versus working harder.

Depending on where you’re at currently, group training may be the best way to master your time. You’ll be able to reach more people in less time. If you use a system like Smart Group Training, you’ll be able to take a done-for-you system and plug and play it in your own training business. Check out Group Training University for more help. We helped co-create this product, and if you follow the systems in the product, you’ll be managing your time well and improving your profit for each hour worked. Check it out!

GTU

 

 

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting in Group Fitness Training

I’m proud of the way we train our groups.

I know that we do a great job of getting health history, workout history, goals, FMS, designing a program, and implementing workouts that have amazing exercise selection and beautiful form. The screening and training process is spot on.

BUT….

There is a part of our large group training that keeps me up at night. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t think about ways to easily improve the thing that certain people need the most from a personal trainer, accountability.

Obviously, the biggest issue with group fitness training is that with more people working with a fitness pro, each client gets less personal attention during the training session. With private personal training, I can use time during the training session to ask my client questions, educate him or her, talk about nutrition, etc. With a group of more than 3 or 4 it gets harder, and even harder with groups of 20.

I know that working with a fitness pro should be more than just great workouts. I know people need things like:

  • Progress Tracking
  • Regular Goal Setting
  • Education
  • Accountability
  • Coaching

CFR Progress Tracker Sheet

I know that since it’s impossible to easily do this when your client load gets high you need to have great systems to make sure you can keep up with all of your clients needs. Honestly, we have some pretty great systems at Complete Fitness Results. Currently, and in the past, we have done things like:

Members Only Websites – We have had sites that have off day workouts, educational materials, recipes and more. We got away from it when we started focusing more on facebook groups, but this is something I want to revisit.

Educational Workshops – We still do these, but not as much as we should. This is a great way to educate many clients at once and have a chance to talk shop before and after.

Check in Calls – We suck at this, period. It’s tough with 300 clients, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done. You just more voicemails than anything, and sometimes calling people can be very inconvenient for them.

Off Day Workouts – You have to make sure people are taken care of with a plan when they aren’t in you gym.

Client Events – BBQ’s, Trivia Night, Pumpkin Workouts, Tasting Events, etc. This is a great way to spend some time with your clients without being in “coach mode”.

Blog Posts and Handouts – I feel this is a necessity to make sure you are educating your clients. Write blogs and have a newsletter, and print those out and hand the out after workouts.

Goal Board – This idea didn’t really work for us. We made a big board with people names and told them daily to write their goal on it before or after class. About 10% of our clients actually did it. They don’t have goals. This is the problem!

Challenge of the Week – This is something we would ask our clients to do outside of the gym in order to learn or experience something new that could possibly help them grow.

Education Lessons in Class – You’re not just a coach you are a teacher. Use the time when teaching a class to do more than just yell “good job!”, and tell some stories that have a point.


 

Our Current Solution

Although we still do quite a few of the things I mentioned above, I know we need to do more. Here are some thing we are recently added in the last few months.

Results + Program – What really pisses me off is racking my brain trying do all of this extra stuff for people that don’t even give a shit. That is why I’m going to start charging people a small fee of $50 per month to join our Results+ program. If you are in the program we know that you want more attention, if you aren’t, it means that you at the gym for great workouts only. I don’t know if this will be a profit center, but it do know that it will allow us to do a better job with the people that need it, and at least be able to identify who want a check in call or who will be annoyed by it. This program includes:

  • One Monthly Small Group Nutrition and Accountability Session
  • One Monthly Check in Call or Email
  • Unlimited Email Support with a Wellness Coach
  • Access to our Online Results+ Support Group
  • Weekly Nutrition Lesson via Email
  • A Little Extra Attention from our Training Team

This program starts in a few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Leader Board – This is for our competitive people or people that don’t have aesthetic goals. Personally, I’ve wanted to do this for years, and I’m so glad that we finally have one!

CFR Leader Board

Daily Recall – Just having our clients fill out a recall sheet has been huge. We are now starting to get in the habit of having our semi private clients fill out a recall sheet before each workout. That way we at least have a glimpse of what they are eating, how much water they are drinking, and how much sleep they are getting. It also makes them stop and think, which sometimes can be the only time they actually think about what they have been doing.

Progress Tracking – A lot of the same things that are on our leader board we track in our client’s files. We pick 3-5 indicators to use to track clients to make sure we know they are progressing. We make sure we do progress checking at least monthly. This includes body comp and FMS, all the way to performance tests like vertical jump and 20 yard dash.


 

I know this is decent system, but I still feel that people will fall through the cracks. I know people will always fall through the cracks at times, but those are the clients that keep me up at night. Not the assholes that complain about everything, but the people that need more help than we have time to give. I know I could help, but there is just too many people.

That’s why I am genuinely asking for your help. For my clients and the clients of everyone reading this post. Smart Group Training is more than Jared and I telling people that we are smart and cool. It’s about finding what works in group training better than what we were doing before and sharing it with everyone possible in order to make the group fitness training industry better. To help make people better. To help make the world just a little bit better.

So please share! What are you doing to help bridge the gap between private personal training and group personal training in the world of goal setting, progress tracking and accountability. Lets do this together! What works for you? Please share below.

My personal favorite idea will get a free SGT product of your choice, AND the feeling of helping make the industry better. And that will help me sleep at night.

 

– Steve Long CPT, FMS, TPI

Self Limiting Exercise

A few years ago, I heard about a concept of using self-limiting exercise while training clients.  Gray Cook was at the Chicago Perform Better Functional Training Summit delivering an amazing experience to hundreds of fitness professionals and therapists.  His talk was not solely about self-limiting exercise, but the concept of using self-limiting exercise within my programming has been prevalent ever since that presentation, so let me explain why…and how.

For those of you unaware of what “self-limiting exercises” are, let me explain in my own words.  A self-limiting exercise is an activity or exercise done that promotes good posture, strength, control, needs minimal coaching, AND is blatantly obvious when you do it wrong.  On many of these activities, the exercise itself falls apart completely if posture, balance, control, or function is lost.

Jump rope is one such activity.  Think about it, when you lose posture and get all schnarffy while skipping rope, you’re going to trip it up on your feet and be forced to re-start.  When you re-start, you generally set up with good posture, regain mental focus, and do the necessary things needed to get more skips on the next try.  Jumping rope is one of the best examples of self-limiting exercises.  It really helps paint the picture of what activities should be classified as self-limiting and what should not.

One of the biggest reasons why I use self-limiting exercise is the fact that there is minimal coaching needed to perform these exercises.  I’m a big fan of choosing exercises that need minimal coaching and allow the body to react to the stimulus in a positive way that promotes good posture, balance, control, and function.  If you have to over-coach a certain move, you should probably ask yourself if there’s a different exercise selection that will benefit the client more.  With many self-limiting exercises, the exercise itself will be the teacher.  Call me lazy, but I think that’s neat.  Less coaching, the client figures things out on their own, and the end result is better posture and function…winner, winner, chicken parm dinner.

That’s a big reason on WHY I like self-limiting exercise.  Now let’s talk about how to add self-limiting exercise into your programming.  Here are three good examples of how I personally use self-limiting exercise in my programming on a regular basis.

 

1.     The Dysfunctional Client – If you’ve been training or coaching for more than a week, you probably have a good idea of what I’m talking about when I say “the dysfunctional client”.  This is the client that has very poor movement patterns, maybe some non-medical related pain, and just flat out has issues.  Giving this individual a typical strength and conditioning routine is just not acceptable.

Modifications have to be made. snarf

Foundational work needs to be done.

This client needs to be doing primarily floor-based exercise and building the foundation from the ground up.

So, how do you give this client a good workout?

In this situation, I would be spending about 80-90% of my time on foundational work.  I’d be hitting soft tissue, joint mobilization, re-patterning movement patterns, teaching basic forms of stability, and other basic stuff to rebuild this person’s base.  That’s truly what this client needs, but I also like to give them what they want as well.  Adding a 5-10 minute “finisher” to their session will give them the feeling that they were destroyed in the gym.  Using self-limiting exercise is a great way to accomplish this task without compromising the work you just did.

Be sure to check your basic movement screens throughout though.  I will check basic movement patterns, like the Active Straight Leg Raise, before, during, and after the workout.  As long as the movement pattern didn’t get worse after choosing those self-limiting exercises, I’m pretty confident I just made them better, and gave them a little butt whoopin’ in the process.

 

2.     The Athlete Coming In on a Red Day – So what do I mean by a “Red Day?”  If you’re familiar with HRV, or heart rate variability, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you’re unfamiliar with HRV training though, a “Red Day” is basically a day your nervous system is shot.  There are many factors that can play into this like lack of sleep, boozing the night before a session, the onset of overtraining, and countless other variables to list here.

red light

The nervous system is tricky to monitor, but if you’re not using HRV, this would be one of those days you go to the gym and you just don’t have it.  You’re mind is right and you’re at the gym ready to train, but once you get going, you just don’t have your normal intensity.

This would be a perfect day to scrap what you had planned and really focus on a few self-limiting exercises.  If your nervous system is fried, you’re going to have a tough time with some of the exercises I’m going to list below, especially the bottoms up kettlebell work.

 

On days like this, it’s better to keep the volume and intensity very low for that day.  Adding additional stress on a nervous system that’s already shot isn’t necessarily a good thing.  Take the day to focus on recovery and maybe add a few self-limiting exercises that focus on balance, posture, and control without elevating the heart rate too much.  Bottoms up carries, Armbars, and Turkish Get Up work are fabulous for these days.  You can still train, but now you’ve acknowledged the current stress in the body and will benefit from not crushing it in the gym that day.

 

3.     General Population – The general population is being referred to as the average client coming in your doors with some dysfunction, but not completely mangled.  With this kind of client, we will program based around goals, current movement capabilities, and other factors that may help us get them from point A to point B in a timely fashion.

There are many, many ways to get creative with self-limiting exercise in the programming with the general population.  Sometimes I’ll keep the self-limiting work to the end as a “finisher.”  Sometimes I’ll add these into a circuit.  Some of them may even be active recovery or low-level work between higher intensity activities.  Get creative with these.  Have fun with it.  After all, it’s an exercise that promotes great characteristics and requires minimal coaching.  Your clients will love them and they’ll add variety into your programming.  Toy around with these exercises yourself and you’ll start to get an idea of where these can be placed in your workout to get some awesome results.

There you have it…three completely different types of clients all using self-limiting exercise.  We use self-limiting exercises pretty much on a daily basis with elderly clients looking to gain more functionality to top-end athletes trying to become great at their sport.  Like I said earlier, check your weakest link movement pattern before, during, and after the program.  As long as the pattern doesn’t get worse, you’re probably making decent selections with your programming.  Keep working and making tweaks until you find the exercises that improve the pattern and that improvement sticks the entire time, from the beginning to end of session.

Here are my top five favorite self-limiting exercises:

 

High Bar Prowler March – Make sure there is enough weight on the prowler.  If you find the right weight, you pretty much have to do this right.  If you’re posture and alignment are off creating energy leaks, you’ll struggle to push the thing.  Fix the alignment, and you’ll be able to march the thing with good form.  Minimal coaching for maximal results.

prowler

Bottoms Up Carries or Turkish Get Up’s – Get a weight that is able to be controlled, but challenging.  If you choose too light of a weight, your grip strength may hide certain defaults going on in the body.  However, if you choose a weight that is challenging, your alignment has to be dialed in, or the bell simply falls.  Keep the bell up and work on developing symmetry within the body.

 

Low Box Work – Just about everyone can handle doing a little work on a 4-6” low box.  We love adding shuffles, taps, and steps to the low box for conditioning.  This works well for a vast majority of the clients out there, and I rarely see it negatively effect movement efficiency.  This is a great way to get the heart up safely and with minimal impact.  As the client begins to fatigue, they usually just slightly trip up on their feet and coordination goes to sh**.  As with any self-limiting exercise, this would be a great time to catch your breath, regain focus, and only work to your capacity so you can complete the exercise.  Feel free to mix it up with different patterns on the box.  Check out the shuffle below, but get creative and see what you can come up with that will give your clients a workout without compromising movement.

 

Upper Body Sprinting – I love adding different forms of upper body sprinting.  Taking the legs out of the equation completely takes out the impact of sprinting.  Not everyone is ready for the impact of running or sprinting, so working on form and mechanics are great to do from the half kneel and tall kneel positions.  Upper body sprinting is another great way to add in some conditioning without compromising movement efficiency.

 

Farmers Carries – Once again, weight is a big deal with this.  If you’re using a weight that doesn’t demand your focus and attention, you’ll be able to fight the weight and perform with compensation.  However, load this carry up and you’ll quickly notice that stacking the joints and fixing alignment makes it much easier.  If you start to fail on this one, usually, you simply just drop the weights.  The only thing I caution here is to be careful with the set up.  If your client has trouble deadlifting or has no business deadlifting yet, make sure to set the weight up on boxes or something else to prevent them from doing a bad lift to get into position to actually carry the weight.


What are some of your favorite self-limiting exercises?  Leave a comment below.  I’d love to add some more to my arsenal :)

Breaking Out the Shoulder Mobility Screen

Recently I started a series on breaking out the screens on the FMS with my post on Breaking Out the Active Straight Leg Raise. If you haven’t seen that post you should check it out here.

With this post I’m going to break down something a little more complicated, shoulder mobility.  If there is one movement on the FMS that I get the most questions about the validity it would have to be the shoulder mobility screen. What most people don’t understand is that the shoulder mobility screen is NOT all that you need to know to determine if someone has proper shoulder function.  What is important to know is that when you get a red flag on the shoulder mobility screen you need to dig deeper and this post is how I do it. That being said, there are many ways to assess shoulder function, and honestly if you want to dig deep into shoulder function I would check out some stuff from Eric Cressey and Mike Reinold, but this is a great way to get you started.

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