Whilst looking for inspiration for a new article I found it staring me in the face during a recent workout at a well known health club. While resting from a set, I took a look around the gym floor and spotted what can only be described as the most idiotic exercise I have ever seen. A “personal trainer” was taking his client through an exercise – swinging a kettlebell whilst having one foot placed in the handle of a TRX and one foot on the floor. I wanted to go over and ask him to take me through the exercise, and the principles this was based on as from where I was standing; the only reason to be doing this exercise is if his client is training to join the Cirque du Soleil.
So why am I writing this article? Because the industry is now more about “personal entertainers” and not personal trainers, and we want to put the basics back into training. Here are our top 4 rules for getting the best out of your training:
Rule #1 – If it seems too good to be true, it generally is. Let’s take the Power Plate. A vibrating plate and all we have to do is stand on it and hey presto, our work is done. Wrong. It’s described as the “microwave of fitness” for a reason – whilst it looks like a short cut to your results, it won’t give you the long term fitness you are looking for and most certainly isn’t an all round solution.
Rule #2 – Stick to what you know works. Squats work. Lunges work. Press ups work. So why do so many personal trainers feel the need to put their clients on a Bosu Ball when they do these? Does it work any better? Does it give us some kind of crazy quick result we weren’t aware of? No. It doesn’t. It simply looks like it should be harder and more difficult and therefore will give us better results, when in actual fact, all it is doing is training our muscles to work on an unstable surface – this is not ideal seeing as we live and play most sports on a stable surface. What about the core? There is no better way loading the core than doing a back squat with good form with a challenging weight.
Rule #3 – Don’t be sold on fad gimmicks. I am yet to see a nation of people become leaner or healthier from using a Vipr, Thigh Master or electronic ab belts than someone who eats a good diet and trains well using proven training methods.
Rule #4 – Just because you don’t see people doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. We often train in different gyms and rarely have we seen a personal trainer take their client through a back squat in the squat rack, or doing walking lunges across the gym. But don’t doubt yourself and your knowledge just because you think something else looks better. Don’t over complicate things – stick to exercises that have proven to work and stick with exercises that will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’. In summary: keep it simple, stick to the basic principles of training and you will be well on your way to a leaner and healthier you that you can maintain.
And if you do want to join the circus, I know a few gyms I can recommend…!