I was at a different gym over the holidays, minding my own business, just trying to get a workout in when it happened.I saw an athletic looking kid begin a training session with one of the personal trainers at this gym.The kid looked like he’s probably a senior in high school or early in a college career.I checked out the trainer’s profile that was posted up on a wall along with the other trainers and it turns out that h fancies himself as a bit of a performance guy rather than just a fitness trainer.I was excited to see what he was going to do with this kid.This was my chance to see some good work being done at a regular health club.
I don’t know what they did to warm up, but it couldn’t have been very much because the kid wasn’t sweating at all when I saw them move to a rack.I was glad to see them heading to the rack, though, because I figured something good might happen.Boy, did it happen.
The trainer loaded up a bar with 95 lbs and told the kid to do a set of power cleans.The way he talked, it was obvious that they had done this before.This wasn’t his first session where he had to show him technique from the beginning.I would have really liked to see that, but….
The kid picks up the bar and does one of the worst cleans I’ve seen since watching the BFS Instructional Video Series.He didn’t have a solid starting posture, and he caught the bar with stiff wrists.The literally didn’t bend backwards at all, so he caught the bar with his forearms perpendicular to the ground and the bar a few inches away from his body.
I was doing dips and there was a rack between us that was kind of in the way.I stopped in mid-set and moved so I could get a better view since I figured I didn’t see correctly or something.The second rep was at least as bad as the first.
I looked at the trainer who was standing there with his arms crossed staring at the kid, not saying a word.I must have caught the trainer’s eye, though, because he definitely looked at me as I moved to get a better view.The kid knocked out a couple more reps before putting the bar down.The trainer kind of looked at me again before talking to the kid.
He didn’t say anything about technique, effort, nothing.He just said he was going to put some more weight on the bar.He added 10 lbs to each side, gave the kid a quick break, and had him do another set.I was hoping that I missed some instruction that was given between sets and that things would get better.It didn’t.In fact, it actually got worse.
Now, I can accept a kid not knowing how to do a clean and having a trainer help him.That’s fine.The problem I have is when the trainer doesn’t know how to teach the movement and doesn’t give any feedback as to how to improve.With all the other things you can do with someone, what in the world would compel someone to have a client do a power clean when you clearly have absolutely no idea how to do one yourself?I just don’t get it.
The trainer knew I was watching, but I had enough.I couldn’t watch any longer.I realized that I was staring with my jaw open in disbelief right as the trainer looked at me.I wasn’t in uniform and didn’t have my Fitness Police badge with me.I didn’t even have my ticket book, so I couldn’t issue a citation.I thought about making a citizen’s arrest, but I didn’t have backup if things got out of control.So, I took Oran “Juice” Jones’ advice from his 80’s hit “The Rain” and I chilled.That’s right, I chilled.(Those are the words in the song if you’re not familiar with this incredible piece of musical genius.He just caught his girl cheating on him, which was about the feeling I had watching this unfold.
I got out of there quickly before I did something I would regret.I just moved to a different part of the gym and finished up.I was disappointed, though.I was really disappointed.Here I was, trying to enjoy my vacation and a different atmosphere, and this guy stole the whole experience from me.I felt robbed.Violated.
Look, if you’re giving advice to people or showing them how to do something, for God’s sake know what you’re talking about.If you’re actually getting paid to do this, it’s borderline criminal if you don’t know what you’re doing.I realize that there are differing philosophies out there, and I’m OK with that, but you at least have to understand some basic concepts.Exercise technique on movements like a clean fall into that category.DO NOT tell a kid to do a clean (or any other exercise) if you don’t know how to coach it.It’s just wrong.You’re damaging your reputation and the overall profession.
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