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Three Things I Wish I Knew Early in my Training Career

Every once in awhile, I like to write about failures, successes, and other variables that have gotten me to where I am today.  Becoming a great coach doesn’t come easy.  I’ve spent thousands of hours coaching clients, reading books, watching educational videos, traveling the country to see the best gyms and how they operate, and have dedicated my life to being great at what I do.  In this piece, I want to share my top three things that have made me a better coach and have improved my results DRAMATICALLY!

If you’re reading this article, hopefully you’ll get a couple takeaways and improve your own personal skills as a coach, trainer, or therapist.  Each one of the three highlights will require more research to fully understand them, but as I tell each new hire or new intern coming in to work at our facilities, understanding these three things and how to incorporate them into your training will make you better almost instantaneously.  Take these three tips and run with them.  I promise you will not be disappointed with your results.

Bad Form Is Better Than a Bad Day

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

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

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

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

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image courtesy of www.angrytrainerfitness.com

My “Tight” Hamstrings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flash forward to today.

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

So what changed?