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Attention RIPPEL EFFECT FITNESS fans!
Tis the season to be jolly…NOT to pack on the pounds and be lazy!
Being the generous person that I am, I am happy to announce that I am offering some amazingly good fitness cheer!
Current clients get bonus workouts and new clients get a discount!
Also, your initial fitness assessment & positive-brainwashing (lol) is FREE until 2013!
Can’t think of the perfect gift for someone special on your list? Problem solved!
Contact me for more info – email@example.com
Currently, there seems to be this battle going on in the fitness industry (big surprise there, lol). Some people seem to be overly-emphasizing corrective exercise and assessment, while others at the opposite end of the spectrum are saying it’s hogwash.
In true fitness industry fashion, too many people blindly adhere to a guru’s school of thought, while a few “renegades” diss it (some without having done much research, others probably just to draw attention). Furthermore, social media has enabled everyone to become an expert.
Those of us who do not profess to be renegades for the attention, nor sheep who cannot think for themselves seem to fall into the middle of the fitness professional spectrum. Here we somewhat-quietly conduct our own research via working with our clients and applying the methods of those we respect.
The result is a synergy of approaches, in essence, our own unique training methodologies…each a unique shade of grey.
I feel that the thought processes of those at either end of the fitness professional spectrum are flat-out ignorant. Nothing in life is black nor white, and to utilize such an approach is limiting to one’s personal and professional growth, as well as the lives they touch.
The FMS (Functional Movement Screen) has become one of the major whipping boys of this debate. Some want research proving that it is effective. There is no research proving that it is not effective, nor any stating that it is not safe. To be honest, I do not feel that there could be a realistic study focused on the FMS in the first place. This is one of those instances where I feel that “in the trenches research” may be more convincing.
The FMS is a tool. It doesn’t cure cancer, create the best athletes, or allow anyone to become a personal training genius.
The FMS does, however, allow the fitness professional to provide a simple, standardized method of screening movement. This is more than 80% of personal trainers/group fitness systems do out there in the real world!
It has most definitely impacted my programming in a positive manner. Do I need scientific proof to back this up, or is the fact that I am able to more effectively prescribe exercises for my clients sufficient?
Here’s my $0.02 on fitness assessments:
They are an essential part of establishing a baseline for a client’s fitness program.
If you’re skipping this important part of the process, you’re crazy.
You wouldn’t seek the help of an MD when you have the chills and are throwing up all over the place, and then take their advice if they didn’t perform some sort of test, would you?
Obviously we are always assessing clients when they are training with us. That should be a given.
The initial assessment DOES NOT diagnose anything (we are not MDs), nor does it allow us to accurately pinpoint specific issues, but it DOES allow us to devise a strategy to safely troubleshoot a client’s postural/movement/strength/whatever discrepancies.
The initial assessment gives us the ability to narrow down the possible reasons for any issues and subsequently formulate a plan of action to minimize them.
It gives the client an ongoing measure of their progress and gives the fitness professional a list of checkpoints for each client.
The information gathered in the initial assessment serves as a reference for those who wish to progress their clients safely and effectively towards their goals.
My career as a fitness professional began in 1995. I started my clients’ programs with an initial assessment back then, and I do not see any reason why this should change. My protocol has morphed over the years (I no longer have clients perform the 1-min crunches and sit & reach, for obvious reasons), but the idea of starting a client’s program without an assessment? Ludicrous!
Runners and triathletes, what does single-leg stability mean to you?
Not sure? It should mean a lot!
You’re being a smart endurance athlete by doing that “boring” strength and mobility work in the gym that’s gonna give you an edge on the competition. Major kudos to you for that, but if your exercises are along the lines of leg extensions, leg curls, and leg press, you need to step up your game.
First off, ditch the damn machines. If you know anything about my training philosophy, that should be a given.
Secondly, emphasize single-leg training.
Running isn’t performed on two legs! It is a single-leg activity!
It makes sense to train the body in a manner that transfers over to running, right?
I highly recommend the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) for every person I train. In a nutshell, the FMS is simply a tool that allows me to gain insight into a person’s ability to move. It is comprised of seven screens that cover the basic human movement patterns: deep squat, hurdle step, shoulder mobility, in-line lunge, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push-up, and rotary stability. Each screen is scored from 0-3. A score of zero is the result of pain being present during the screen and/or an inability to perform the screen. If pain is present, the screen is cancelled and the person is referred out to a doctor. On the flip side, a score of three indicates that the screen was performed in a manner that met the necessary requirements. A score of two is considered acceptable. A total score of 14 on the FMS is said to reflect a decreased risk of injury during exercise.
I video my clients’ screens in addition to viewing them at the same time. After the initial screen has been performed, I sit down and review the footage. This allows me to make notes regarding discrepancies in each movement in addition to scoring the screens. A client’s FMS score isn’t a diagnosis of anything, nor does it allow me to say “your left Psoas is tight and your right glute max is weak.” I am not a doctor and I’m not a physical therapist. I am, however, an aficionado of exercise prescription!
If a client scores a one on their trunk stability push-up, a one on their left hurdle step and a two on their right hurdle step, and a one on their right shoulder mobility and a two on the left, I make a priority of improving their ability on these screens. A screen that scores the left and right sides and results in a discrepancy between the two must be addressed. If there is a lack of mobility in a desired pattern, we work to increase it, and the same can be said for stability. You cannot build strength on top of dysfunction! 80% of people who exercise are most likely doing just that!
Promoting balance is the goal.
The initial FMS day is always eye-opening for people. Most people seek my expertise because they want to lose weight or train for a race. Most people do not give much thought to their movement abilities, but they definitely do after going through the FMS for the first time! Furthermore, it is always interesting to screen endurance athletes because more often than not, it allows them to grasp the importance of this strength and mobility schtuff. Yes, the “boring” schtuff…I mean, if its not swim/bike/run, why do it? Lol
I didn’t mean to get into an explanation of the FMS, but in true Sarah fashion it just came out. So, now that you know a little about movement screening, let’s get back to the importance of single-leg stability and that wonderful thang we call running!
If you’re a geek like me, then you cannot help but analyze the gaits of runners as you’re knocking out the miles. Yes, it’s a bit distracting, but I cannot imagine not being so aware of it! More often than not, I am witness to a plethora of funky gaits. I find myself cringing when someone doing the “Vibram shuffle” approaches me. You know, feet turned out and barely leaving the ground. So epic! There’s always gotta be a few of those who assume that the minimalist approach will magically make them a better runner. Instead, I have the feeling that most end up in pain. PROPER GAIT MECHANICS ARE MUY IMPORTANTE, PEOPLE! Yes, that important!
Sorry, I got on a roll there…
Single-leg stability. You need it. If you don’t have it, you must acquire it, or your running career will suffer.
Sounds serious…it is!
When we run, one foot is in contact with the ground while the other is not. Duh, right?! 😉 The ability to keep the pelvis in a relatively-level position during each phase of gait is what we want. If the hip musculature lacks the ability to stabilize the pelvis, the unsupported-side hip will drop below the level of the stance-side hip. A side-to-side “swaying” may result, and all of this means a huge waste of energy because of inefficient running mechanics. In addition, a lack of hip stability is a red flag for injury. If you want to enjoy a successful, long relationship with running/triathlon, it is issues like these that you MUST address.
Here is a simple, yet highly-involved exercise which challenges single-leg stability. I am using a Cook Band, but any resistance band will work. If your single-leg balance leaves much to be desired, you’ll want to use a band that offers more resistance. As you become more proficient, lighten the load.
The goal is to activate the core musculature and then perform the single-leg stance. Starting out, your body may not be able to get things firing properly, so that’s where the core activation via the band comes into play. Gradually work your way to using a light band as your ability to engage the muscles of your core/glutes improves.
Stand facing the band, which is anchored at a high point. Your feet should be in a neutral position. Assume proper postural positioning, perform shoulder extension and exhale (pull the band down so that your arms are towards the floor), then raise one leg, aiming for 90 degrees at the hip, knee, and ankle. Hold for a count of two, locking in your glutes and staying as still as possible. Sloppy reps are a waste of time! lower your leg and then release the band. Each rep is essentially a re-set. We don’t want protracted shoulders! if the exercise is too hard, use a band that offers more resistance. If your exercise execution looks like mine in the video, them you’re doing it right. 😉
Try two sets of ten 2-sec-holds per leg.
How can you go about finding out if your single-leg stability can be improved? Simple. Call me and schedule an FMS appointment. Your hurdle step performance (in addition to your proficiency in the other screens) will reveal all.
Yours in Health,
Fitness boot camp training has been a popular part of my business for well over six years. The fitness group concept is a win-win, and has really become a popular means of exercise. I enjoy running boot camps so much, in fact, that I have made an effort to scale-back my personal training business so that I can put more time into my boot camp operations.
Why do I feel boot camps are a win-win? There are several reasons. The most important reason is boot camps allow more people to take advantage of a personalized approach to fitness, without forking over tons of money for one-on-one training. I fully back my one-on-one business, but let’s be real – not everyone can afford the $75/hour price tag, nor does everyone desire to work alone with a trainer.
There are numerous boot camp programs in my area, and no two are alike. I realize that as with the fitness industry in general, there are plenty of programs that are poorly run. I pride myself on providing the best experience possible! The bulk of my experience lies in working one-on-one with clients, and I have had to let go of a bit of worry pertaining to the fact that in a group setting, it is not easy to make things specific for each member. I spent a great amount if time and energy trying to create workouts that were a lot like those I design for my one-on-one clients (ie: emphasis on addressing specific postural issues, muscle imbalances, etc). I came to realize that I was trying to make things way too complicated, and this was interfering with the main focus of the workout. The reasons the ladies were coming to my groups were different based on their goals, but similar in the fact that they wanted a challenging, efficient workout that wasn’t boring! The main focus in their eyes was just getting it done and feeling empowered because of it! This can sometimes be a little hard to relate to for a fitness professional like myself who actually loves this exercise stuff! I get very excited talking about why I want a client to do a specific exercise, or pretty much any other topic that pertains to exercise for that matter! Problem is, most people who come to me seeking fitness intervention truly don’t care about all that – they just want results!
I am constantly reminding myself of my beginnings in the gym, and how intimidated I felt when I was just getting started. I am able to relate to my clients because I’ve been there, and I became empowered and am empowered each and every time I exercise.
Your success is ultimately determined by YOU, so never forget this. Without an inner drive to succeed, you will have a difficult time reaching your goals. We all have our struggles, but if you can utilize them & turn them into positive change, AMAZING things can happen! So, you are in charge of how far you go, however, I created this resource to help you get there!
The book I am putting together is my attempt to provide you, the fitness professional and/or intelligent fitness enthusiast, with “outside the box” programming ideas. I am providing you with a plethora of workouts that I’ve used in my outdoor and indoor “boot camps” over the past six years. You can utilize workouts however you see fit – I am providing the programming, but it is up to you to implement it wisely. This means adapting the workouts and exercises to your ability and/or that of your clients. This does not mean haphazardly throwing exercises at people and putting them at risk of injury. Only with time and hands-on experience comes the ability to create a workout experience that is both results-based and safe for all involved.
In the past couple of years, our profession has seen a tremendous influx of “box” gyms pop up that are being run by inexperienced coaches. With time, this trend will run it’s course. Those who respect sound programming and have solid reasoning behind each and every exercise they prescribe for their clients will remain. Those who think it’s acceptable to just throw a bunch of “functional” exercises together and have their clients believe that “the” way is to work out as fast as possible in a state of exhaustion will not be around for long.
Exercise at your own risk…and if your exercise program puts you at risk, please think twice.
Yours in Health,