How to WOW a Potential Client in 20 Minutes

The number one question I get is “How do I get clients to buy into the breathing?”

Breathing is like the veggies on the plate that kids don’t want to eat. It’s not sexy, it seems weird, no one else is doing it, and it’s a really hard sale.

Fortunately, there is a way to make breathing activities look more like a juicy rib-eye vs the overcooked soggy asparagus no one wants. What if you could produce results on the spot and get immediate buy in? And you could find the right words to make warm-up activities meaningful for each client depending on what their goals are.

At Enhancing Life,  within 20-30 minutes into a consult a new/potential client usually mentions how they’ve never experienced anything like this before. They’re usually WOWed after 3-6 warm-up activities, before we even get to any training. If you can WOW someone with a warm-up, just imagine how they’ll feel when they start training?

A Lazy Bear done correctly can improve a client’s movement quality right on the spot, it can get rid of tightness and limitations, and it can help gain them access to ranges of motions that are required to lift without compensating. When it’s done right, clients feel like they’re working hard, muscles burn, it gives them a rush, it challenges them in the right place, and most importantly, it gets them to buy into the this whole “breathing thing”.

A Lazy Bear done incorrectly will possibly produce little to no results, a client will feel like they’re wasting their time, they wont be challenged, and all the sudden, the whole “breathing thing” seems silly and unnecessary.

New clients are very disconnected to their own bodies, they don’t take cues well, and they struggle following simple instructions. When you attend courses you practice coaching these activities on other trainers, and guess who can take cues really well? Trainers. Guess who don’t? Your clients.

One of my biggest tools I use to get someone to buy into the boring breathing exercises is my ability to coach them through it. If coached correctly, I need zero buy in, because they immediately feel the results. They feel how their knee hurts less when they squat, they feel how their core is more active while they lift, or they feel the huge difference when they get up and start walking around.

If you produce results and you use the right words, you don’t need to worry about the selling/buying in part.

So if you struggle with the coaching part, or you struggle with the talking part, I’ve got some great news for you 🙂

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you will receive a password to give you access to OVER AN HOUR worth of videos of me teaching the students of The Lexington Healing Arts. I go through the most common breathing/warm-up activities, I show you how I coach them, how I prevent clients from compensating, variations that I use, what words I use while taking them through it, and much more!

AND you will also get a 45 minute video on how you can make breathing exercises and the assessment meaningful for each client depending on their goals. Are they post rehab? or do they just want to get strong and lift heavy weights? You can run them through the same assessment and same breathing protocol but the words you’ll use are different. With this video you’ll learn a few different ways you can increase buy in by saying the right things 🙂

If you want to get immediate buy in and WOW all clients just by running them through a simple warm-up, click on the link below!

<<<I WANT TO WOW ALL MY CLIENTS>>>

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

Connection of the Week- Meat Eaters and Vegetarians Unite

I want to connect you to information you can trust, and I don’t want to be limited by social media. From now on, it’ll be called “Connection of the Week”. I’ll connect you to people, books, products, documentaries, social media post…the list can on and on 😊

I have a good one for today!

I want to tell you about my friend, Diana Rodgers.

Corrupt corporations, big pharma, and factory farming have left my clients confused and misguided. They’re scared to eat fat and meat, they don’t know the impact of where their food comes from, and they’re left with little to no results.

Diana’s work has been a lifesaver because she is not afraid to speak up to these misleading ideas.

“A Vegan diet will save all the animals”

Lie. There’s blood on all of our plates. Diana wrote an article on that:

Am I less “Woke”Because I Eat Meat

 

“I bought canola oil because the AHA said coconut oil is bad for me!”

Diana wrote an article on that:

Why Coconut Oil Won’t Kill You, But Listening to the American Heart Association Might!

 

“But beef is using so much water, it’s killing our planet!”

Diana wrote an article on that:

Meat is Magnificent: Water, Carbon, Methane & Nutrition

Diana wrote an article on that:

Why You Should Test Your Blood Sugar – Even if You’re Not Diabetic!

 

“I don’t eat red meat, it’s unhealthy”

Diana wrote MULTIPLE articles on that:

Dear Mark Bittman & NY Times: Stop Vilifying All Meat

What Would Happen if Everyone Stopped Eating Meat? An Open Letter to Vice and the Independent

 

“Protein is not important”

Diana wrote an article on that:

More Protein, Better Protein

 

“I’m going to start substituting some meals with shakes”

Diana wrote an article on that:

Food Form and Satiety – Should You Drink Your Calories?

 

I could keep going but I think that gives you an idea of what her work entails.

Here’s the best part ->

She is making her own documentary!

Kale vs. Cow

This is where we all must help spread the word. Start educating your clients because THIS IS IMPORTANT.

This documentary is going up against factory farming and promoting sustainably raised cattle. It’s busting all the myth and misconceptions that the population is fed about consuming and raising animals. This is where meat eaters and non-meat eaters need to stop fighting each other and help promote sustainability and end factory farming, the true enemy.

To learn more about Diana’s work and her documentary check out her website Sustainable Dish, and follow her on social media.

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

4 Times It’s OK to Let Your Clients Breathe for an Hour

“If your client’s training session looks like a rehab session, it’s no longer training” – the internet

Let’s give that quote a little bit of context.

The goal of training is to overstress the client to drive an adaptive change. With rehab, you are trying to apply the minimal effective dose that creates an adaptive change yet protects the client from digging a deeper hole.

If all your sessions are too rehabby, then your clients will have a tough time reaching their fitness goals. However, there are certain types of situations where a rehab-looking training session is warranted.

To learn when it’s okay to breathe for an hour, keep reading 😊

Calling a Training Audible

Have you ever scratched a client’s program and let them get after it on a stress-relieving 30/30 track?

To hell with a fancy warm-up that requires a lot of thinking, frontal plane shifting, and rotating. Just lift heavy shit and not think. Blow off some steam.

But is this strategy really stress reliving for someone who has a Hashimoto’s or colitis flare up? Or someone who just tweaked his or her knee? Or a person who works night shift and has slept only 6 hours the last three nights?

When these clients need to relieve stress, getting after it might dig the whole deeper for them.

You try cluster setting back squats when you’re bleeding out of your ass throughout the night. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google what a colitis flare up entails.

While loading the system is important, it can have negative consequences on these types of clients. For overstressed clients, we must move away from system loading, and move toward restoring people. Provide an environment that promotes healing. An environment that adapts to the stressors at play.

In a perfect world, I would love for weightlifting to be my client’s largest stressor. But in the real world, I’m up against failed rehab, mismanaged autoimmune diseases, and a society that doesn’t respect sleep.

These are the clients who cancel their sessions when shit hits the fan, unless you’re a trainer who can give them a restorative session. Something that will make them feel better and eliminate cancelling as an option.

The gratitude that these people show after an hour of low level activities never gets old. It’s something they’ve never received before. Their previous trainers didn’t know how to bring the intensity down when life forced that as the only option.

So what kind of clients am I talking about?

  1. Clients with an Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmunity is on the rise, and most trainers don’t even know what it is or what a “flare up” means. Healthy people rarely develop Autoimmunity. Though we don’t know exactly why autoimmune diseases occur, they are often associated with a stressed-out body, compromised immune system, and will likely worsen with too intense exercise.

A lot of people with an autoimmune disease deal with chronic fatigue. I never knew what that felt like until last year. I dealt with intense fatigue, talking for longer than a minute wore me out. Trust me, the last thing I wanted to do was train hard.

  1. Clients with Acute Pain

In acute pain, everything becomes sensitive, even the lightest touch. In these situations, a client might put their membership on hold while they wait to heal. You think intense exercise or heavy lifting is on docket?

When in pain, the brain perceives an actual or potential threat to a body tissue. It’s up to you to find activities that are not perceived as a threat.

Do you know what’s not threating? Breathing.

To learn how I work with these people and the post rehab population check out “The Post-rehab Client who Can’t Lift”

  1. Clients who hate exercising

If you’re a trainer, chances are that exercise is probably a big part of your life and you love it. Unfortunately, many of your clients will not share your passion. Not everyone has a type A personality.

Robert Sapolsky in his book, Why Zebras don’t Get Ulcers, mentions how exercise can be great to relieve stress and boost mood, unless, you don’t enjoy it and see it at a chore/pain.

I work with a lot of people that have never been a huge fan of exercise. So when life gets super stressful, I take them through low level activities and hop them on a bike for some cardiac output.

  1. Clients with outside stressors they can’t control

This one is important!

The last three clients are people you may not choose to work with, and that’s OK. Everyone has their target market. However, we all have clients where life gets in the way.

The client who made me think of writing this article texted me last week, letting me know he had a couple nights of horrible sleep. He was up because of his son waking him up multiple times per night.

Can you imagine? Caring for a son who can’t sleep while you are running on empty, struggling with recurring illness (another issue this client has, then getting up and going through your own stressful life? Do you think maxing out on the bench would be high priority?

I can kick my cat out of my room when he interrupts my sleep. Good luck doing that with a family, busy schedule, and work.

A trainer must be able to step back and look at client’s entire life situation, and make the decision of what session this person needs.

Do they need to go all out? Or do they need to chill the fuck out?

Training should be sustainable. You’re not going to prevent someone from reaching their fitness goals by backing things up on the training floor once a month or so.

In fact, you’ll be providing a better service that takes a multifactorial approach. Training from this lens will allow you to determine when a client can be stressed to maximize results, and when they need a break before going to the next level.

Why do you think people go to things like restorative yoga or meditation? If you could offer restorative sessions along with training, you’ll diversify your skillset in a manner that can only help your training business grow.

So what kind of exercises can you do with these clients? Because breathing exercises doesn’t mean you have to stay on the ground. It just means that you’re not loading the movement as much, you’re really concentrating, and you’re increasing movement variability.

Here are a few examples:

Give these a try with the clients that don’t need added stress in their life. Which will allow them to get back to training at a faster pace.

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

Social Media Post of the Week- Let’s Stop Downplaying Sleep

What if the answer to your client’s problems is good quality sleep?

You’ll never know until they make it priority and stop downplaying it’s role it has on their health, performance and well-being.

Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects in people’s lives that could be preventing them from reaching their goals, freeing themselves from disease, or living a life worth living.

I think one of the reasons people dismiss sleep is because the lack of education. Not understanding the detrimental health consequences of getting a poor night of sleep every single night.

For this week’s social I picked this extremely well written post on sleep by Justin Moore.

If your clients were aware of this information, they might start thinking about making it a priority, and their life could potentially change.

Justin’s post was too long to take a picture of so here it is:

“It’s really interesting to have a young puppy and watch his day to day behavior, especially when it comes to sleep.

He sleeps when he wants, where he wants, and for however long he wants.

He’ll sleep for 6-8 hours a night and then nap multiple times a day, sometimes for short spurts, sometimes for hours on end.

He tends to nap the most after walks or after social experiences playing with other dogs or meeting new people. This is certainly not by accident as sleep is the time when we process, consolidate, and store new memories and experiences, something that a young organism has to do quite frequently.

The fact that he naps so much also doesn’t have anything to do with him having nothing better to do. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep sitting up or pass out even when someone is home and offering to take him outside, which is probably his favorite thing ever.

To put it simply: it is clear that left to their own devices, animals will sleep quite often and very regularly, throwing a serious wrench into the notion that we’re only meant to sleep at night, or even more ridiculous, that we don’t need much sleep to function.

Watching his behavior, it becomes even more clear to me what an incredible mismatch humans have created between our physiology and our behavior.

Drago never fights sleep. He doesn’t seem bothered by the idea that he might be missing out on something while he sleeps. I’ve never seen him take stimulants to stay up later, pull all nighters for no apparent reason, or tell any of his friends that they’re lazy for going to sleep earlier or taking naps in the middle of the afternoon.

Nature has never faced the problem that humans have created: we have a large and highly-influential cortex that has allowed us to override our evolutionarily-selected need for sleep, and even convince society as a whole that sleep is a waste of our lives and a behavior demonstrated by those that are too lazy to work.

In fairness, Drago is not going to be writing symphonies, sending other dogs into space, running billion dollar enterprises, or solving the mystery of life itself.

But, we can probably take a lesson from him, and recognize that across the animal kingdom sleep has survived millions of years of evolutionary selection and is a critical pillar of health, wellness, and performance. We need to stop treating it as an afterthought, a nuisance, and a sign of laziness.

We need to appreciate that sleep impacts:
1. Hormones like testosterone and growth hormone — people have looked for performance enhancing supplements to boost levels of these hormones forever. Instead of trying to boost these hormones with supplementation, go to sleep, it’s a critical period for both of them.

In fact, men who sleep 5-6 hours per night have testosterone levels of someone 10 years older than them (Matthew Walker).

2. Muscle growth & tissue repair — sleep is the most potent recovery tool there is for athletes and weekend warriors who want to get bigger and stronger alike.

3. Appetite & the types of foods you decide to eat — deprivation leads to greater consumption of sugary, carb-rich foods. Trying to lose weight and adopt good eating habits? Without sleep you’re screwed.

4. Blood-glucose regulation — healthy people show pre-diabetic blood-glucose regulation after 5 nights of restricted sleep.

5. Immune function — 70% reduction in immune cells that specialize in killing cancer cells after ONE NIGHT of sleep loss.

6. Stress & inflammation – want to up-regulate your stress response and live in a chronically sympathetic and inflamed state? Deprive yourself of sleep. Bad, bad news.

7. Learning, memory, skill retention, & cognition — research shows if you don’t sleep after learning new information or a new skill, you will show no improvement in the skill or retention of the information over baseline when retested. Without sleep, your brain cannot put new memories away for long-term storage.

8. Creativity & Problem Solving — research has also shown that a night of sleep allows people to gain insight into the most efficient way to solve a problem that they were never told was there. It seems that during sleep the brain is actively going through information, searching for patterns, and analyzing it from new perspectives. Those who are sleep deprived are unable to detect the trick to solving the problem that those who were allowed to sleep figured out.

9. Time to exhaustion — your conditioning may get up to 30% worse after one night of restricted sleep.

10. Attention & responsiveness — reflexes and reaction times very quickly become that of someone who is intoxicated in the face of sleep deprivation or sleep restriction.

11. Brain health — sleep is when your brain clears out toxins that are implicated in devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s. In fact, long-term sleep restriction is beginning to be seen as a major risk factor for developing this increasingly common disease.

The list goes on and on. Lets change the paradigm and look at sleep as the vital part of life that it is. Your athletic performance, fitness and body composition goals, ability to produce quality work, capacity to learn and make new memories, and long-term health are all dependent on the quantity AND quality of your sleep.”

For more awesome info, follow Justin on social media!

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

The Aerobic System for Powerlifters- By a Powerlifter

Ryan Patrick owns a successful gym, coaches clients throughout the day, is a competitive powerlifter, and has FIVE kids!

In a year he went from sitting a wheelchair with a broken tibia to setting PR’s in his Squat and Deadlift.

You could say the man knows what to do to stay in the game.

Because that’s what it’s all about, right? What will it take for you to be able to do this for a really long time?

Even if you don’t want to compete. If you or your clients want to be strong AF and want to get serious about lifting, how are you going to make that happen? How are you going to make sure that the balance between Health and Performance doesn’t shoot so far into the performance side that it actually takes you or your client out the game.

Putting an emphasis on Aerobic Fitness can sometimes be a low priority in a powerlifters programming.

But if you’re serious about powerlifting, you might want to let it wiggle itself into your or your client’s programming.

In the following video, Ryan explains why it’s important and he also shows you how you can start building an aerobic base 🙂

And not only did Ryan film this video, he also has shared multiple FREE programs on his facebook and instagram!

He is really hooking you all up with all that content, go follow him to get all the explanations and videos that come along with the free templates 🙂

If you want more, check out his website, I think you’ll really like it  -> coachryanpatrick.com 

 

Now go work on your heart health and build a conditioning base.

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

 

Social Media Post of the Week- Do a Good Job

For this week’s post, it’s not technicality a social media post but it definitely has been said all over social media so that counts, right? I really wanted to highlight someone you should be following if you’re a personal trainer.

I mostly highlight coaches you should follow because they’ll make you better at coaching. Having all the knowledge and the skills that it takes to be great  on the training floor is crucial. There’s no way around it, if you want to successful, you have to be a good coach, you have to do a good job.

But how will you let everyone know about it? How are the right people going to find you? And how are you going to set yourself apart?!

That’s what trainers suck at the most. They suck at marketing. They suck at selling. They suck at communicating and making their training meaningful for each client.

Think of all the missed opportunities because you were not good at back-end of things, or your ability to communicate with the right people.

That’s where Jon Goodman’s work comes in, because being a good coach is not enough to make it in this industry.

So for today’s social post, I wanted to highlight Jon’s two golden rules:

Get great results, and let everyone know about it.

Easier said than done.

Unless you find someone like Jon who shows you what to do.

I was introduced to his work during my first year as a trainer. My old employer, Molly Galbraith told me it’d be a good idea to follow his work, so I did 🙂

I read most of his books.

Got his online certification.

And I can honestly say if it weren’t for what I’ve learned through his work, you wouldn’t be reading my blog, I wouldn’t have had the privilege to continuously speak about what I’m passionate about, and I would probably be struggling right now as a personal trainer.

I believe in his work so much that I created a 48 hour class that is mostly based on his book, Ignite the Fire. I shove it down all my students throats because I want them to be successful. I want them to be introduced to content and his network right in the beginning from their career. I see it as a gift 😉

(In their head they’re probably like  “OKAY, Lucy. We get it. we’ll follow people like Jon Goodman, Ben House, Pat Davidson, and Robb Wolf. We promise. You can stop telling us how awesome they are”)

So if you’re not following his work, what’re you waiting for?

You wont regret it.

Online Trainer 

Personal Training Development Center

 

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

 

Three Common Breath Training Mistakes

 

Over the last year, my clients started progressing through their programming and entering the training floor at much faster rate than they were before. This change occurred because I’ve focused on coaching the basics savagely well.

I’ve learned how to coach people out of compensating during basic breathing exercises, which has resulted in better outcomes.

From a training standpoint, you want to see these exercises as activities that give your client’s access to motions that are needed on the training floor. Like hinging through the hips vs low back, squatting without the heels coming off the ground, or rowing without the shoulders gliding forward.

If you go the extra mile and get detailed with your coaching, I promise you, your clients will have substantially more positive outcomes.

Let’s talk about the three most common mistakes and then let me show you how to coach people out of them.

Exhaling too Hard

My goal with most breathing exercises is get the air out of the lungs. Because if air goes out, I know I got the ribs to move. If you’re exhaling too hard, you will contract muscles like external obliques, you’ll block the diaphragm from fully ascending (state of exhalation), and you’ll trap air in at the lower portion of the lungs.

Never underestimate the power of getting all the air out 🙂

Belly Breathing

I’ve been speaking about not belly breathing for a couple of years now and I’ve never had anyone at the end of the presentation disagree with me. Mostly because once people are presented with information, belly breathing no longer makes sense to them.

I always start out with these questions:

Do you agree that breathing should be 360? That breathing should expands the lungs and rib cage 360 degrees?

and 100% of the time people will answer “Yes” to those questions, which I follow up with.

“Okay so we’re on the same page. Belly breathing doesn’t allow that to happen.” and I create a visual with my body to show them how belly breathing lacks the circumferential 360 degrees of expansion.

and usually that’s all it takes for people to leave belly breathing behind.

What I want:

What I don’t want:

During respiration, the ribcage and abdomen should expand a complete 360 degrees to achieve adequate intra-abdominal pressure. Belly breathing lacks this circumferential expansion which actually reduces intra-abdominal pressure.

If you want to coach someone how to breathing correctly, you must appreciate the rib cage and it’s resting state.

When you assess the rib cage, you can make some assumptions on what resting position their diaphragm is in. From the thousands of ribcages I’ve seen, people don’t struggle breathing in with their diaphragm, they actually struggle breathing out, letting their diaphragm to fully relax.

With most people, the diaphragm sits flat, in a position of inhalation.

Trying to achieve diaphragmatic breathing by cuing a belly breath would be like trying to open a an umbrella that is already open. An umbrella must be closed before in can be opened. In order for you to take a breath IN with your diaphragm, it needs to come from a state of being OUT (exhalation).

So stop coaching “billow the belly out”, “belly breathe”, or “let that hand on the belly expand” and start getting your clients breathing 360.

Crunching

This is one a big one. I see people online doing “breathing exercises” but they’re letting their clients crunch too much.

When someone is in quadruped, I want this:

not this:

When you crunch and let your clients get all hunchy, you’re not achieving rib cage retraction, you’re getting sternal depression, and you’re overusing rectus.

If you’re chasing movement variability, you might not get the changes you want if you’re clients are rounding over.

With all that said, getting someone in a perfect quadruped position is a lot harder than most people think. If I have a pain-free client that just wants to lift, I will sometimes let that go and slowly coach them out of it every time they come in to train.

Detailed coaching doesn’t mean perfect, it means always improving 🙂

But if I have a post-rehab client that I’m trying to improve movement variability with, and I can’t get them doing this correctly, I will do other activities that will help them achieve what they want.

In the following video I’ll take you through how to coach clients out of three mistakes I just talked about and three activities to try with those people you just can’t get them into quadruped.

Something to think about:

Like I said in the video, maybe your clients are not ready for quadruped. Try the activities I went over to set them up for success.

But you also might want to consider that quadruped and reaching forward might not be a good position for them. They might have a wide infrasternal angle (ISA). They might need a forceful exhale vs a soft prolonged sigh. They might need arms pulling over head vs reaching in front of them.

I don’t see many wide ISA people, but I do see them. To learn what to do with these people, check out my article on it. If you’re checking this and you’re thinking a lot of people are wide, you’re probably not checking right at the xyphoid process. Make sure you’re on-top of it, not below it. I messed up a lot when I first started checking it.

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

Social Media Post of the Week-The Phases of Breathing

For this week’s post I’m going to highlight one of my facebook post from 2013.  I’m going to show you the phases coaches go through when it comes to breathing. The first phase is called the “Belly Breathing Phase”.

It’s when the coach first gets into breathing, and they think that belly breathing is the way to go. Because the diaphragm is on top of the belly, so it makes sense to get people to belly breathe, right?

I clearly thought that’s how you got people to truly breathe through their diaphragm.

EVERYONE cues people to breathe through their belly…therapists, functional med docs, yoga and pilates instructors, massage therapists, and other coaches.

And that is because everyone only goes through the first phase of getting into breathing.

The first phase is when you realize breathing is pretty important. You start to appreciate how diaphragmatic breathing could help someone de-stress and move better, so you just start cuing belly breathing, because that’s what everyone else is doing.

If you stay on the first phase of learning about breathing, you don’t learn start digging deeper, you don’t look at the literature, you don’t take courses on it, and you just leave it at that.

It’s not until you get into the second phase that you realize, oh shit, breathing is more complicated than I thought. The body is more complicated than I once believed.

The second phase of breathing looks like this:

 

During respiration, the ribcage and abdomen should expand a complete 360 degrees to achieve adequate intra-abdominal pressure. Belly breathing lacks this circumferential expansion which actually reduces intra-abdominal pressure.

So when you’re doing activities like the ones bellow, notice how I don’t let my belly billow out as I breathe in. Think of keeping your front ribs down as you take a silent breath in. That will allow your ribcage to expand 360….which is the goal for a true diaphragmatic breath.

From my experience while assessing people, no one is struggling breathing IN with their diaphragm, they’re actually struggling breathing out, getting their diaphragm in a state of full exhalation.

Trying to achieve diaphragmatic breathing by cuing a belly breath would be like trying to open a an umbrella that is already open. An umbrella must be closed before in can be opened. In order for you to take a breath IN with your diaphragm, it needs to come from a state of being OUT (exhalation).

Practice the activities I shared above, and focus on getting a full exhalation.

For more information on how to assess what kind of breathing you should do with your clients check out my article on Assessing the Infrasternal Angle, and my Powerlifting Article.

 

Unconventional Powerlifting Preparation: Challenging the Old School Mentality

I’ve always been one that’s quick to adapt to ideas, concepts, and practices that produce better results than what I was previously attaining. Letting go and moving on to better methods helps my clients achieve better results.

This is why one of our core values for our gym, Enhancing Life, is Progressive.

We created an environment that encourages change and innovation. New information and updated ideas will always be applied to better serve the needs of our clients and staff.

I’m progressive AF. I’m like the Bernie Sanders of the fitness industry. Why else do you think I wear glasses?

I’m okay with admitting I was once wrong, leaving things behind, trying new things, and letting my clients know that sometimes we stop doing certain things to better service them.

For example, one day I learned that better pelvic positioning during lifting could be attained by tucking the hips compared to my previous cue, squeezing the glutes. That following week, I never cued it again and taught my clients the difference between tucking and squeezing.

This willingness to change requires keeping your ego in check, which unfortunately, many coaches struggle with.

I thought that everyone who was presented with new information would be willing to admit that they were wrong and adapt the new information to improve client’s results.

Change for people is hard. People get emotionally attached to certain mentalities, methods, exercises, and philosophies. Then when confronted with conflicting beliefs, dogmatism and defensiveness takeover, and no progress is made.

It was very early on in my career that I gravitated towards the post rehab population. When I first joined the industry, I had mentors with a powerlifting background. When I asked where I could learn more about programing for the general population (with the post rehab people in mind), I was told to read 5-3-1.

However, 5-3-1 wasn’t helping me get my deconditioned post-rehab client who had never lifted more than 20lbs in their life move better and gain confidence in the gym. What did though, was breathwork.

With the immediate results I saw, I became obsessed. I wanted to know every breathing and biomechanical thing I could get my hands on. I ended up getting my massage license, took several continuing education courses, practiced daily what I learned, and imposed my will on people.

The deeper I got into it, the more I realized that movement is not so simple.

My exercise selection was constantly evolving. Cues and activities were always getting left behind when I found something that expedited results.

And around 3 years ago I ran into a huge problem. It wasn’t a simple, “hey we don’t squeeze anymore, let’s tuck the hips like this” kind of fix.

It was a paradigm shift in how I train client.

I was starting to question conventional industry wisdom: “row twice as many times as you press” or “pinch the shoulder back and down”, and those damn band pull aparts.

All things I was doing for years.

I started questioning how powerlifters “fixed” problems they saw on the training floor, such as adding extension to someone rounding over during a lift.

Or does the person losing upper back position during a deadlift really need to hammer more lat pulldowns and band pull aparts?

Or does the lifter who can’t get their elbows down on their back squat really need to open up their chest and pull their shoulder blades back?

And what got the biggest backlash: Would a competitive lifter get weaker if they got away from their extension-based exercises and chased some movement variability?

I was repeatedly told that if a powerlifter chased variability, they’d lose what “made them great” at their sport.

This belief had beginner powerlifters do the opposite of what I was trying to do with them because they were told they’d lose strength if they got away from extension based exercises.

Finally, in 2017, I was able to put my unconventional methods to the test.

Tracy Jones, a world class powerlifter, was referred to me. She was barely able to walk without feeling discomfort, couldn’t sit in the car without feeling miserable, and didn’t have the mobility to squat below parallel without a massive weight shift and pain.

Limited variability isn’t a problem, until it’s a problem.

It’s a problem if it’s affecting your lifts. It’s a problem if you can’t hit certain depth in your squat. It’s a problem if your quality of life starts falling apart. It’s a problem if doctors are telling you that your done competing.

What “made her great” was about to finish her powerlifting career.

If you think you have the ability to take an athlete’s sagittal plane dominance away from them and make them weak, let me tell you, we’re not that good. No one is.

The 10-15 minutes a day Tracy spent chasing variability did not stop her from being an absolute monster on the training floor 4-5 times a week. What it did do was produce positive change in the way she moved, in a manner specifically targeted at her movement limitations.

The result? Hitting squat depth without pain, and staying in the game that she loves.

(These’s squats are about a year apart. On the first one Tracy has a pretty big shift as she tries to come up from the bottom. She was also not able to squat below parallel without a ton of pain. During the second video, she has less of a shift, comes up from the bottom without breaking down, and NO pain! )

Between Tracy Corey Hayes, and the other powerlifters I’ve worked with, I have yet to hear a single complaint about the better movement they’ve achieved.

So if you’re a powerlifter, train powerlifters, train the general population that lifts heavy, don’t be afraid to break away from extension-based exercises, don’t be afraid to do the opposite of what you’ve always done when it comes to “maintenance work”.

If you’re openminded in trying new things, let me get you started 😊

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as giving you one list of exercises. Everyone is different. I can’t just throw a blanket warm-up and tell you that is THE warm-up that every lifter needs.

What I gave Tracy Jones was different than what I gave Corey Hayes.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t guide you to the right direction or work with you to find out exactly what you need.

Here’s what we need to do.

STEP 1: ADDRESS DEFAULT RIBCAGE POSITION

The body is great at giving you illusions and as a coach, you can’t trust your eyes. As a lifter, you can’t trust what you feel. Muscles that feel extremely tight, might be the complete opposite, and blindly stretching it because of the way it feels, might cause more harm than good.

An example of not trusting your eyes would be rounding over during a deadlift. It may look like you’re lacking extension, but that probably isn’t the case. Below is an easy explanation that I take my students through when we talk about when I’m teaching them not to get fixated on the visual assessment.

Because I can’t trust my eyes to guide my client’s correctives, I use assessments like the infrasternal angle (ISA) and obers test to help me decided what do with each client. These tests can tell me the position of the pelvis and rib cage may be in.

Looking at the ISA helps me determine what kind of exercise to choose for each person, what kind of arm position will achieve better movement results, what positions may better drive change, and what breathing style will best address movement limitations.

By being guided by the ISA, I always end up getting changes throughout the body, such as shoulder mobility.

Or hip mobility, decreased tightness or discomfort.

So what angle do you or your client have?

Is it wide?

If so, you would like to start your warm-up with these types of activities

But what if it’s narrow?

Then I’d start with these warmup activities.

And if you’re not sure, you can work with me online and I can customize your warm-up so you’re not doing a bunch of mobility activities that don’t produce results.

If you’re interested in checking your client’s ISA, check out Zac’s video that is attached below, and my article where I go into more detail on why I use it as an assessment tool.

Once you have your 1-2 activities to get your started, let’s dive into other common activities that you might be doing that could be substituted for something more effective.

STEP 2: ADDRESS THE RIBCAGE’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE SHOULDER BLADES

A greater pull to push ratio was done to theoretically create a strong upper back, to “undo” all the benching in a program, and keep their shoulders healthy to stay in the game.

Sadly, this philosophy has a shaky foundation. Literally. Shoulder blades require a congruent foundation to sit upon to allow for effective movement. That foundation is the ribcage.

Look at the client’s ribcage as the door frame, and the door as the shoulder blades. For years I’d been trying to fix the door (shoulder blades), but this whole time the door frame (rib cage) was the one that needed work.

If a door frame is crooked, will you ever have a functioning door?

No.

Same with the shoulder blades. If the shoulder blades don’t have a rib cage to sit on, you might see some movement limitations and restrictions: anterior humeral glide, keeping the back together during lifts, issues with shoulder blade retraction, winging, hunched over back, limited shoulder flexion…..the list can go on and on.

Shoulder blades can move on a fixed rib cage, but don’t forget that a rib cage can move on fixed shoulder blades.

When I began to appreciate this movement, I got away from band pull aparts and Y T Is. Instead, I programmed reaching activities like rockback breathing, arm bars, reaching squats and quadruped work into my group classes. Even with my rudimentary understanding, I immediately noticed client’s movement quality, especially around the shoulders, improve in ways I never thought possible. I was sold!

Having a healthy relationship between the ribcage and shoulder blades gives all the muscle in that region better leverage to work. Better leverage means better mobility, strength, work load distribution, and less discomfort.

Try doing activities that work on the position of the rib cage instead of hammering a bunch of isolated scap work.

Rockback Breathing

Supine Arm Bar

Sidelying Band Reach

Reaching Squat

Still can’t break that pulling addiction? Try one arm pulls while keeping the opposite arm reaching. This movement places the rib cage in a better position for the shoulder blade to glide smoothly along. Say goodbye to winging, shrugging, pinching, and other compensations you may have experienced in the past.

Supine Band PNF

Half Kneeling Band PNF

For a more in-depth article on why pulling wont undo your benching, check out Justin Moore’s article “Why We Must Reach” and follow him on social media!

 

STEP 3: STOP STRETCHING HIP FLEXORS!

Conventionally, stretching hip flexors was thought to improve hip extension, but muscle lengthening is near impossible.

Unfortunately, this stretch doesn’t take into account pelvic position. In the above stretch, the pelvis remains in a flexed position, which leaves the hip flexors in a shortened position. What ends up being stretched are the anterior ligaments in front of the hip. <- Not good.

What to do instead?

Drive hip extension by getting hamstrings to pull the pelvis into a position of extension, which will result in lengthening of the muscles that you’re trying to stretch.

Before I share with you what to do instead, let’s go over the next exercise you can leave behind because they’ll have the same substitutes, might as well kill two birds with one stone 😊

STEP 4: BURN THOSE BANDED GLUTE BRIDGES AND MONSTER WALKS

It’s not that these activities are causing you harm. It’s that your time is precious.

If you’re going to spend time doing any breathing/corrective/maintenance work at all, I’d rather you spend it on activities that may do a better job at making you move and perform better.

A lot of people do banded glute work because they’re trying to “activate” or “turn-on” their posterior chain. Even though getting the posterior chain to fire is important, you’re better off putting the pelvis in a better position that changes the length-tension relationship to those posterior chain muscles, allowing them to perform better.  Just because you feel a muscle burn, doesn’t mean you’re making a positive impact on how that muscle will perform in other movements.

So instead of stretching the shit out of your anterior hip ligaments, doing 15 different banded glute bridges and multi directional band walks, do activities that alter the position of the pelvis. These movements will put less strain on the hip flexors, and put the glutes in a better position for them to work during your training session.

Supine Hip Extension Drill

Half Kneeling Breathing

Toe Touch to Squat

And then you can add a little intensity to these new positions. I would focus on the sagittal plane with the next few exercises. Really making sure your hips are tucked with some hamstrings, working on trying to keep your rib cage on top of your pelvis vs arching your back.

Glute Ham Raise Hold

Glute Ham Raise

KB Front Squat

Assisted Step Up

RFES

If you’re wanting to take this to the next level and start working on all three planes, which would be great during the off-season, I’d read Pat Davidson’s article, and check out this podcast where he goes over what a powerlifter should to do during the off-season.

After going through everything I wrote out for you, you should have a pretty badass warm-up.

You’ll start with your two activties you picked after figuring out your ISA. Those breathing activities clients will usually do 3 sets of each with 3-5 breaths each time.

From there you’ll move on to what we call “movement prep”. These activties are usually 3-6 exercises all done 1-2 sets of each with 3-5 breaths/reps.

This should only take 15 minutes to complete. At first when you’re first getting started, it might take a little longer, but once you know the exercises, you can get through them pretty quickly 🙂

On your days off you could go through your whole warm-up or just the first two with your ISA measurement.

 

I hope all of this was helpful!

Until next time 🙂

Lucy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Post of the Week- How to Change Your Body

This social post goes to my fitness industry friend, Cody Plofker.

Him and his awesome GF, Payal Patel own Adapt Performance and Rehab. 

His post gives you 5 things that you/your clients should do if they want to work hard AND stay healthy while doing it.

Training hard has been demonized in the past.

There’s nothing I hate more than seeing trainers lift zero weights with their clients and never challenging them.

As a coach you’ve gotta learn how to individually push people. Enough to make a change in their body. Enough to load their system. People are totally capable of training hard, they just have to earn it 🙂

The problem is, people want don’t want to train hard, or they don’t want to do whats necessary to stay healthy while training hard. How do you get people to buy in? Leave it in the comments bellow! I would love to share your ideas 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Lucy