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Having been a personal trainer for 14 years now, I have done some pretty idiotic things. Since my readership contains a wide variety of individuals, including general athletes/lifters, personal trainers, strength coaches, and physical therapists, I figure that this post can benefit many individuals as it will enable them to learn from my mistakes. Considering I’ve already written a good post about idiotic things that strength coaches doHERE, I wanted to write a post more specific to personal trainers. Here are my top three dumbest mistakes as a personal trainer:
1. Box Squat Nightmare
Though I’ve gotten many clients unnecessarily sore or had them experience nagging pain that went away within a week or two, in all my years of training I’ve only injured 1 lifter. This mishap occurred around five years ago at my Scottsdale personal training studio Lifts. One of my best female clients was performing heavy high box squats (15″ height). I had her squatting with 155 lbs on the bar and during the set I felt that she wasn’t arching hard enough at the bottom of the lift. I noticed that she’d relax a bit and fail to keep a rigid lumbar extension moment while she was seated on the box. During her set I instructed for her to “arch the low back.” Unfortunately, she wasn’t thinking clearly and she confused “arch” with “flex” and rounded her low back. Heavy axial loading + rounded lumbar spine to end-range flexion = herniated disc. She couldn’t train for over a month.
Every once in a while I get emails from various coaches, trainers, or bloggers who ask me how I’ve been successful as a writer in such a short amount of time. I figured a lot of different people might have this question, so a blogpost is warranted, especially considering the fact that I’m tired of answering this question via emails and will now be able to simply send these folks the link to this post.
I can’t tell you how to make millions as I’m not there yet. I’m not well-versed in marketing so I’ll steer clear of those methods. What I can tell you is what I’ve done to be taken seriously in the field and how I’ve stack the odds in my favor for success. Your path will be much different than mine, but hopefully you can learn from the route I’ve taken.
Eric Cressey, one of my favorite guys in the industry, just shared an awesome video detailing why you are not:
- Getting Stronger
- Getting Leaner
- Adding Muscle
- Becoming More Athletic
You can check it out HERE. This link will allow you to watch a free video, and if you want to opt-in, you’ll have the opportunity to watch another cool video.
Eric is without a doubt one of the most highly respected coaches in the world for good reason; he walks the walk (deadlifted 650 lbs!), he trains dozens of professional athletes, he knows a ton about the human body, and he puts out great products. Eric has made a big impact on the way I train my clients/athletes and the way I train myself over the years, and I encourage you to learn from him just as I have. In the video he discusses the number one reason why you’re not progressing like you should. Check it out. HERE is the link again.
Sometimes I enjoy looking back at my training journals over the years. My workouts have always been effective, but the way I’ve trained has morphed considerably over time. The same goes for how I train clients. In my own training over the past twenty years, I’ve gone through a high-volume bodypart split phase, a high-intensity total body phase, a lower-upper split phase, and a high-frequency total body phase. I started out using mostly machines, transitioned to mostly bodyweight, barbells and dumbbells, and now like to also incorporate bands, and kettlebells. In my time I’ve toggled back and forth between unilateral and bilateral, high reps and low reps, high force and high velocity, isolation to integration, and quantity to quality.