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What is "Good" Training?

I often feel like I'm a salmon.  Not in a bad way.  More in a "swimming against the tide of outdated fitness information" way.

But sometimes, that tide is just too strong.

Whether it's someone's preconceptions of training, or previous experiences with other trainers/coaches, people are often surprised when they go through one of my sessions or classes. There's this idea that in order for training to be "good" it must be 1) hard, 2) intense, 3) bodybuilding style, and/or 4) cardio based. And really, it shouldn't be any of those four.

So let's start with what "good training" is not:

  1. Good training isn't how high you can get your heart rate.
  2. Good training isn't how much you sweat, how hard you breathe, or how sore you get.
  3. Good training doesn't involve punishing yourself, for whatever reason.

Those thoughts are exactly why so many people - trainers included - get burned out so quickly. After all, most personal trainers don't last beyond 1-3 years, and the drop-off in gym attendance by March illustrates the fleeting nature of New Year's Resolutions.

So what makes for good training?  Here are three things it should encompass:

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Lower Back Rounding: How Much is Too Much on a Deadlift?

From age 14 to 25, I was convinced that heavy deadlifts would break my spine in half.  After all, it seems legit.

But my view was molded by user error.  Or as I like to say, "deadlifts don't hurt your back. What you're doing will hurt your back."

Deadlifts look as simple as picking it up and putting it down. However, it's one of the most nuanced and technical exercises out there.  While I field a ton of questions about the deadlift everyday, one I hear most often is:

How much can - or should - your lower back round during a deadlift?

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3 (More) Confessions from a Physical Preparation Coach

This week I'm continuing the introspection train I started two posts ago.  Call it part memoir or even part snooze fest, but I think it's important to show how you're continually trying to improve your craft, regardless of how vulnerable and flip-floppy it makes you appear.  

As with my first post, everything written below are lessons I've learned through the past few years. Still, they can help almost everyone out there even if training and lifting heavy things is merely a hobby.  Enjoy!

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More Pressing Matters

I've never been someone who struggled with the overhead press.  I might be terrible at other press variations - namely, the bench press - but I'm somewhat of a freak when it comes to putting heavy weights overhead.  

So when I fell short of completing the Beast Tamer in August, I finally realized what the overhead press is like for normal people.

But becoming a Beast Tamer is one of my lifetime strength goals. I decided I could 1) give up or 2) work to press the 48k (106 lb) and make it look easy.  Naturally, I chose the latter. 

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Then vs. Now: 3 Confessions of a Physical Preparation Coach

I place a premium on continuing education.  Because I'm a strong believer that if you're not getting better, you're getting worse.  There's also nothing as frustrating as living the same year over and over and over again - which was me when I had a "marketing" job.

To prevent that from happening ever again, I keep track of the amount I spend each year on continuing ed.  The goal is to surpass that number the following year, and I've always succeeded in doing that.

As a result, I'll often look back to my programs from 6-12 months ago, do my best Gordon Ramsey voice, and say, "What in the bloody hell was I thinking?"

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