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Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:09 pm
by stuward
I hope my daughter got a good discount on the gift certificate. It's at the gym she works at. I always feel guilty of spending money on myself and it is expensive. I'll use it if for no other reason that I don't want it to go to waste.

Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:16 am
by KPj
Feels so good to Deadlift again. It's strange, up until ~120KG, the hamstring feels tight and painful. When I pull ~120kg, i feel something "go", feels like something tears (i suspect it's scar tissue), then it feels great!

Week 1 was 150, week 2 was 160, week 3 was 170 (all triples). I don't think i've lost that much strength, despite this being my first crack at proper deadlifting this YEAR. I think at my best I got about 8 reps with this but I was also heavier. If I got silly I maybe could of got 5 with it on Sunday, so i'm quite pleased. My best was 2.9 x b/w at 83kg. I want to say 3 x bodyweight but that 0.1 annoys me.

170 is 2.2 x my current body weight and it went up well (i'm currently 76kg). I almost went heavier but my training partner stopped me, which I'm glad about. If I got 220kg at this b/w I would equal my previous best relative strength. Funny thing is i've pulled 220kg several times so in my mind it's achievable at this b/w (I actually only went over this twice, i believe, on rare test days).

I'm excited and also nervous about 200KG. This was a huge barrier for me. 200kg just NEVER felt lighter and I was stuck here for months. The thing that got me over it was training my Sumo DL as if it was my conventional i.e. programming assistance exercise exclusively for Sumo. I hate sumo but it's good to me. When I got my Sumo up to 200, my conventional flew passed, although I always struggled for reps with 200 on conventional. It definitely got interesting for me at this point. I remember hitting 230 and moving it well one week, felt like I could get a double but wanted to "save it" for the next week and get passed 240. Then the next week I couldn't move 230. I then spent most of my time in the 190-220 range trying various things before the hamstring tear. It feels good to be getting close to fighting this again. I love these challenges. I just get too carried away and end up ignoring glaring issues in favour of a good heavy DL or squat session. I think i've learned my lesson and i'm determined to never lose sight of my "side" goal of "athleticism" again. As soon as I started ignoring this, plus getting stronger, that's when issues started presenting themselves.

My squat is a different story. I've been squatting again for a while now but, when I get to challenging weights, I feel everything going on to my right leg. So, I stay at a weight that makes this happen but, allows me to successfully fight it. I'm also front squatting just now since the back squat position has been dropped temporarily whilst I give my shoulders a break. Before I dropped back squats I got triples with 140KG. Front squats humble me at 100 right now, staying in the 3-ish rep range, depending on how form is, but 100 feels like 130 used to feel.....

Lastly, i finally feel technically proficient enough to train Turkish Get Ups with some intensity. These are interesting!!! When doing them, all you can think about is not dropping the DB (dont' have heavy enough Kettlebells) on your head. It's not until you put the DB back down on the floor that you realise your heart is trying to escape through your chest. Then there's the "deep" core DOMS you feel from it the days following. Slowly falling in love with these!

Random ramble.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:49 am
by KPj
I'm going to chase a 100lbs turkish Get up, since I remember it being discussed here a while ago. That's 45kg for people who work in KG. That means I basically need to aim for 46KG, since I don't have 45KG (44, 46, 48, etc).

I must admit, when I seen it talked about before, I thought, "ach... shouldn't be too difficult". Then I seen this video," onclick=";return false;

She's amazing.

I mistakenly remembered this as 32KG (not 36KG) so, that night in the gym, I grabbed a 32KG DB and went for it. I got it, both sides, and it was TOUGH! I'll try sometime this week with a 36 and see what happens (well, i'll try 34KG first). I have no idea how it will go. This will bench mark where I am in terms of getting 46KG.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:51 am
by KPj
I've not abandoned the original intention of this thread, btw, just delayed a little.

Had quite a difficult time of it over xmas and January (this was the last few weeks of my mothers life, she was terminally ill - this is why I stopped taking new leads a year ago, as I didn't want to be in the gym as much). However, it's time to move on/move forward.

Got some reasonably exciting things going on now which kind of just happened by accident. I'll post about them later when I have more time but it should really help the Personal Training side of it. Basically the girls i train have been talking to each other and now i'm bringing my sister into the gym to do a group "Girls Lifting Heavy Things" session. Going to take videos, pics, etc of women invading the free weights area. Should be 6-7 girls in on the lift (think 5 have confirmed already). There will be lots of talk etc particularly on facebook. It'll happen in 8-10 weeks and I plan on "Launching" myself (personal training wise) 1-2 weeks before this.

It's going to show girls of all shapes and sizes lifting heavy things and doing so very well yet not looking like bodybuilders and clearly enjoying themselves. There will be deadlifts in the range of 100-120 KG. I have a women in mid 50's with a previous history of lower back pain who can pull over 80KG, too, perfectly (and no back pain any more). I'm hoping another women who will be in her 2nd trimester of pregnancy at that time will be there, too. It's to show that any women can and should be doing this and also show other members what i'm all about.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:02 am
by KenDowns
KPj, I like that "girls lifting heavy things." Sounds like fun.

Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:52 pm
by KPj
Yeh, it basically happened out with my control. I've just seen it as an opportunity to put myself out there. It also all happened via Facebook as my sister "friended" a client I took on just over 3 months ago because my sister respects the hell out of her (this client deadlifts 105KG for triples, with more to come!). The client knew of my sisters story so really respects her. The same client has been talking to all of my clients - she's just really hyper like that. All of a sudden she's turned my female client base into a team (and they call it "Team Awesome").

It's causing a bit of a stir, actually. I have one girl who has said she's desperate to "join the team" but just needs to find the nicest way to tell her current trainer that she's going to stop training with him.

Another girl, friends with the client i'm referring to, told her trainer, "i want to lift heavy things!!!" and told her about what my client was doing. The trainer then loaded her up on a squat and f***** her back*. So, I reckon she'll come to me as well - just a hunch. Either that or forever be put off strength training (I have an impressive portfolio of people with joint pain that I have trained. Well "impressive" for a part time trainer, anyway).

*When you hear this you initially want to be disgusted at the trainer. However, i'm not sure who deserves the criticism. The trainer or the certifications. The certs that i know of don't teach you about strength training. Well, not any more than "lower reps, heavier weights". If that's ALL you know about strength training, then injury is a very likely outcome. This definitely is all they teach you. They barely even touch on technique, for starters, and strength training without knowledge and practice of sound technique is a recipe for disaster. Technique is where strength training becomes a "skill". Personal Trainer certs just don't teach you this. All they cover is the "strength" rep range.

So, if you're a trainer whos background is in kickboxing (like the one mentioned), and a client asks to do "strength training" then, naturally, you're going to load them up with heavier weights for lower reps, as you're "taught" to do.

I guess the trainer could be at least partly responsible but, I just like to get their perspective out there. My training methods are largely influenced by my own mistakes with my own training.

Anyway, yeh, it's exciting. I'm feeling good about it!


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:56 pm
by stuward
There's a group on Facebook called Girls Gone Strong. I stumbled across it again on Bret Contrera's site." onclick=";return false;
Your team may enjoy it.

Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:43 am
by KPj
Thanks Stuward!

The ones that are on FB are actually already fans of that page. There's another ,"strong is the new skinny", too.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:21 am
by KPj
I have a girl I started training 16 weeks ago. Well, this is her 16th week of a 16 week program. I was very excited about training her because she does a lot on her own, in terms of classes (i'm talking 12 classes per week, at least). Very fit in a cardio sense, and hugely enthusiastic. I couldn't wait to see what would happen when I gave her some structure and got her lifting heavy things, getting better, "training with purpose".

Here's a few snippets of her progress (i'm particularly proud, hence the post):

BTW most of these lifts she had never done before

Deadlift - was 50KG, now 110KG
Squat - Couldn't squat below parallel without tucking the pelvis. Has since front squatted 70KG below parallel, and just Box Squatted 95KG (!!!!!!).
Bench - Was 35KG, now 60KG
Pull ups - just managed a full ROM b/w pull up
Push ups - struggled with a 45degree elevation before, now can do sets of 12 on the floor
Turkish Get ups - never done them before, only taught them directly in the last 4 weeks, and she's hit 3 per side with 20KG!

That's probably the most notable. Other snippets of progress include,

-Went from stability ball rollouts to BB rollouts
-Wasn't great on one leg before, and now can do front squat grip reverse lunges with 50KG, forward lunges with 20KG DB's
-Couldn't do a single leg DL before, now can do single leg single arm DL perfectly
-As mentioned couldn't squat below parallel with good form before, now can do OH squats, very deep, with 30KG.
-Started doing 1-arm DB rows with 12-14KG. Now can do chest supported rows with 20KG (for sets of 8!).
-She's also push pressed 45KGx3
-She had shoulder pain at the start, not had shoulder pain since (me helping with this is, i think, one of the reasons she wanted to train with me in the first place).

If I look back at the last 16 weeks, there's probably even more "notable" improvements. I think this girl was destined to be an athlete, yet some how chose to be a dentist. Oh, she also says her new found grip strength makes removing teeth significantly easier lol.

Although not all clients will improve so much so quickly, this just further enforces how I "prefer" to train, and train people. Believe it or not I don't get a lot of chances to train clients exactly like I would really want to. Typically you get a client once per week so, doing a comprehensive program for them is simply unrealistic. However, I train this girl 3 x per week. I have another women I train 3x per week who is one of my best testimonials, and another guy I train 3-4 times per week so, it does happen, just not very much.

If you look at the above, that's a lot to cover in just 4 months, and that's not even the half of it. She also got better at DB benching with various inclines (even 1 handed variations), lots of different BB bench variations i.e. incline, close grip, Floor press, also a few bouts of speed work. She done (and got better at) Sumo DL, conventional DL, rack pulls, front squats, front box squats, back box squats, OH squats, bouts of speed box squats and speed DL's, pall of press and plank variations, roll outs, stir the pot, reverse lunges with DB's, front squat grip, and bar on back, same with forward lunges, DB bulgarians, 1-arm bulgarians, Bulgarians with a deficit, scap work, cuff work, etc etc.

One of the things i'm a big believer in is "building lifts" vs "training lifts" (not exclusively, I do believe in training them specifically, too, just not as much as most people). For example, this girl still hasn't performed a standard back squat. Closest she's got is the last 4 weeks doing box squats (for speed, but with heavy singles programmed afterwards on 1st and 3rd week). See, most people who struggle to do a b/w squat with good depth and form will crumble when you put a bar on their back. However, put the weight on the front (in this case, front squats) and it comes together. Whilst doing this she also gets good on one leg and when the time is right I program in BB lunges - it's a tougher variation, balance wise, and I get to teach how to put a bar on the back. A long the way i'm building her squat "pattern" and also progress her towards an OH squat. When it comes time to put a bar on her back it's for speed (light weight) and she's already comfortable with the bar placement. It's also a box squat which further enforces "sitting back" (which will be the first thing you need to work on with a new back squatter). She just transitions into it as if she's done it a million times before. Imagine, as a female, the "first time" you back squat, you get 95-100KG?? She's hit 95KG on Box Squat so she'll get more with a free squat. She's technically hardly done a standard BB bench press yet has benched 60KG (when she hit 60KG, this was the 7th time she performed a standard BB bench press with me).

Anyway... Don't really have a point, other than - wooooo :cheers:. I guess I like to just go over/clarify my thoughts on here. I love to see things come together. I've seen it before with this approach, and it's how I prefer to train myself, I just don't get many chances to actually test it (it is heavily influenced by Eric Cressey, btw). I'd be happy for it to get picked apart, too, if anyone has any questions.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:29 am
by KPj
I've been asked to go into my sisters gym (a little warehouse gym, modelled on De Francos gym) to give advice on training beginner females. I'm actually really flattered as these guys really know their stuff so it came as a surprise that they wanted advice from me. One of them was actually one of the first people (either first or third, can't remember) to pass the westside barbell cert.

I never really considered this to be a "niche" for me but maybe it is. I have a good group of women I train now and they're all walking billboards for me.

Some of their problems were quite surprising. They don't have many women in their gym and out of all them, only one enjoys deadlifts - my sister lol. To be honest that tells me there is a problem with communication and possibly coaching style. I've never had a female NOT love deadlifts. It wouldn't surprise me if the odd women didn't, just like the odd guy doesn't like them, but not the majority.

They told me the biggest female deadlift they have in the gym just now is 80KG. 2 women can pull this, one is my sister. I never really realised it or have ever sat and summarised it but, right now I have 3 women who can deadlift 100KG plus. I have one who has deadlifted 120KG, and another who has hit 110KG for a triple. I have another women who's just started deadlifting and I can tell she will hit 100KG in about 8 weeks. I've had 2 women in the past that I don't train any more who hit 100KG. I have a 58 yearold women who deadlifts 80KG, clean as a whistle. 2 of my girls just now can bench 60KG or more. The 58 year old can bench 40KG for triples (and front squats 50KG). One girl hit a 95KG Box Squat a few weeks ago. She can do various lunge variations with ~50KG on the bar. I taught her turkish get ups, we've been at them for 6 weeks. She's already done the "naked" (get your mind out the gutter) get up with shoe balanced on a closed fist (this is a big achievement lol harder than it sounds!), and hit a 26KG Get up with a DB (kettlebells only go up to 24KG).

2 of my current girls can do bodyweight pull ups. Most can do push ups from the floor. 2 previous girls i trained got to b/w pull ups.

Most importantly, all mentioned above LOVE what they do. Most actually came to me to lose fat lol. Most of them had some kind of joint pain before training with me and various movement problems when they started, too. None of them have had a specific focus on a specific lift but, all have had a focus on just improving performance and getting generally stronger.

Not bad for a part time trainer.

The whole purpose of this thread keeps getting put off. I'm not being lazy i've just somehow got quite busy, despite not advertising myself at all. My time management needs drastically improved. I still desperately need to do it, though. Normally new clients via word-of-mouth for me have came in short bursts so I still need to advertise myself to keep the momentum going.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:09 am
by KPj
After a little dose of positivity I need to add a little negativity and rant.

My gf's sister is a mid-distance runner. She goes to a school that specialises in this, plus getting an education. So she competes and is one of the top runners in the country for her age. Obviously i'm mega interested in how they train her. Particularly the strength and conditioning side.

First-puke-in-my-mouth comment: When runners do resistance training they should lift light weights for high reps in order to train "endurance".

This is one of the first things she reported back not long after she joined the school. It's worth saying I hold in my disgust and just smile and nod most of the time but that really gets me. You know, because running over varying distances 4-5 times per week (at least) doesn't train endurance AND in an activity specific way. Am I just nuts or something? So you go into the gym and you train endurance AGAIN???

I thought at the very least, they'll have her back on her heels, training the posterior chain, and counter acting all the overuse which can't be helped due to her sport. When I heard things like, "cleans" and "deadlifts", I felt better.

Then she came into my gym. Technique is nothing short of horrible. All the benefits she could be getting from those exercises are just gone. I didn't even want to ask if she was also supposed train cleans (or what they seem to think a clean is) for high reps.

What's more annoying is the facility the school uses is also used by a good olympic lifting AND powerlifting club.

The kicker recently was one of the coaches stating to her mother that she has the perfect build/frame for the sport. They said comparing her to the elite runners in the world, all she needs to do is cut back on the diet a little and cut down the resistance training. In other words, get EVEN skinnier. There are so many problems with this statement I don't even know where to start.

For starters there are no weight classes. The girl is already skinny. I would also disagree with the observation and actually feel she has a lot less muscle than even the likes of Paula Radcliffe. I've known of horror stories like this from people with a ballet/dance back ground which is like a breeding ground fo eating disorders but, never heard of it for runners.

Then there's the whole, you know, "logic" issue. What they are saying is, she could be even better if she just became significantly weaker through eating less and neglecting her muscles even more. Less muscle = less ability to produce force which you would think is kinda important when you need to, well, move in some form or other. Then there's the whole issue of "fuel" to keep producing said force for extended periods of time... So they want to lessen the ability to produce force and lessen her ability to sustain the production of force over time by eating less. And this is supposed to HELP???

Lets not get into the potential for serious body image issues, too. Or anything "health" related, whether that's physical or psychological.


I'm done. Feel better. Thanks.


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:35 am
by stuward
Middle distance is all about efficiency and the lower the body weight, the more efficient the runner can be, but as you note, they are giving up force production in pursuit of lower body mass. She's also giving up her health and fitness.

Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:26 am
by KPj
I got a personal-training-personal-best on sunday.

Most i've had a female client deadlift. She got 120KG/265lbs for 2 reps on Sumo DL. Broke down a little on the second but the first was clean. 6 months ago, 60KG/135lbs was messy. Not bad!

This girl also has a 95KG Box Squat, 70KG x 3 Front Squat, 60KG bench, can now do 2 (3-ish) bodyweight pull ups, 28KG Turkish Get up.

I also got approached from a guy who in terms of physique, makes me look like a child. He also benches my 1RM for around 5 reps over multiple sets. He approached me after I had been squatting and asked how I manage to squat and DL heavy without destroying my back and knees. I said, "short answer, trial and error". I went in to some detail and some of my history although I wasn't really composed yet and realise now I rambled on quite a bit but, I could barely stand and almost puked so i'm sure he'll understand. He said he will need to book in for a session so whatever my chat was couldn't of been that bad, I told him if he teaches me to bench i'll teach him to squat. He asked for a card and said he's going to call me to book some sessions! Makes me look good! Feels good to get back to the kind of training I love. I'm not someone you look at and think, "i want to look like him" or, "i want arms like that guy". My training is what gets me respect with these kind of guys and i've missed out on this part of it for the last year or so.

i've got a few packages almost finalised and more i'm working on. I've also read "Movement" and re reading it, whilst using a few clients to put through the FMS to get more comfortable scoring it. The FMS score will determine what "packages" are available to people. I've used a simplified and modified version of the FMS for years but, Movement goes into far more detail especially with regards to scoring criteria and other considerations. Long term i want to do the certification but it's not feasible or practical right now.

I'm currently in a process of over complication. I over complicate then I get frustrated, then I simplify then finally I have clarity. It's just how my mind works but i've learned to embrace the process


Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:52 am
by robertscott
I think I'm going to need to book you for a few sessions, see if we can get me moving properly

Re: My Random Personal Training Thoughts

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:30 am
by KPj
Yes, it's been at the back of mind since you came in last time, just been like a headless chicken and chasing my tail since then. I pretty much know what you need to do just haven't nailed it down into what basically amounts to a good warm up, couple of key movement drills to repeat (either through the day or as fillers in workouts or both), and exercises to leave out and include your training. I have enough notes from last time to get this finalised or as good as so I would aim to have this by the time you came in again. Plus some coaching ( i.e. i'm certain I could have you at least front squatting fairly quickly/instantly with no pain, but we ran out of time to look at it properly).

Also, I've learned a sh*t load since then, too, especially with regards to movement. Had my head stuck in books and have been putting some clients to good use by asking them to allow me to practice "things" on them lol. For example the client mentioned above is now at the high end of the movement spectrum, so she's easy to teach new things to. I have an older women who is one of my best testimonials but still has a few blatant limitations so she is at the other end of the movement spectrum. So when i've been trying things out I roll it out to those two, myself, my gf (who i train), and (normally) one of my training partners which normally presents me with enough obstacles to really get my head around things. I take all the good things i'm sure about and roll it out to everyone else.

Examples of this include Turkish Get Ups and Arm bars (thanks to Stuward for that one!!). BTW, you will love the arm bar. If you remember how limited your "side lying external rotation" was, well, the arm bar will kick the sh*t out of this plus wake up your "inner core", improve your kinesthetic awareness and really prep you for the much loved and even more misunderstood Turkish Get Up. Anyway, excuse me, i'm over thinking.

I've been doing a full FMS with scoring recently. The clients i've been doing it with know the deal - it's new to me (actually scoring it is), doing the certification would be ideal, but that can't happen right now, but I have most of it down "in theory" and generally feel watching movement/technique is one of my strong points. I've just never been comfortable enough actually scoring it. So I screen them, take scores, go back and study, realise i've not considered certain things, go back, take scores, repeat, etc. It's good to have clients like that :grin

Anyway in your case what the screen does is give us a starting point and structured, non complicated approach to dealing with it, which has always been one of my problems i.e. where to start?? Sounds unlikely after i've just posted all of this but it's true.

I'm a little tied up at weekends right now as the tenants i have in a house I own are leaving, so got a big rush to freshen it up and get new tenants in. The bulk of the work should be complete by the end of the weekend so all going well I can tell you the best time after that.

Long post to say "yes, i'll tell you next week when the best time is" but, hey, such is life.