Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Currently the biggest mistake in the gym...

Hi all,

From now on the length of my blogs will probably be reduced.

Ok, ok... its not that bad

Partly because:

- Im really busy again with PT sessions
- Im really starting to get back into my own education again (podcasts, books, new training styles im looking at)
- Finally, I have agreed to write 2 series of articles for and Fitnorama E-mag

You will definately be hearing more on them from me and i will direct you to the artciles when they are live.

Series 1 is called 'Personal Trainer' and will run until they tell me to stop. Its going to be a look at all aspects of the job from all different sides.

Series 2 is called "what i learned from the Pros" and this will be the highlights of learning from all the fitness professionals that have influenced my training career so far. The first article is on Eric Cressey and mostly looks at strength training - check it out when it goes live and you will instantly learn a ton of new (and possibly old) stuff to include in your training or programming.

Strength expert Eric Cressey

Ok, onto todays 'quicker' topic...

The current worst habit im seeing in my gym is weight selection. I have been amazed by the complete lack of technique on most people in my new gym and the problem seems to be EGO-related.

I stood next to a gym member last week, performing the same exercise  (Dumbbell side raises... Hey give me a break! im just finishing up a bodybuilding phase!) only he was far weaker and lifting 3 Dumbbells heavier than me... trust me when i say this. I make sure i have good form in everything, i dont compromise on technique and dont mind admitting if i haven't got a weight. Fact.

The gym member in question was doing what i would called 'partial reps' at best. It looked truly awful. Even worse was the idiotic cheering of his mate claiming "all yours brother" or "thats massive mate"...


Forced reps not only look terrible, they dont give any indication of strength gain and if over-subscribed can lead to quicker injuries and burn-out for the inexperienced lifters. I now conciously move a step away from my clients when they are lifting:

A - Because i do actually want it to be 'all them'
B - I normally know (through sensible progressions/programming) what they will be able to do... i rarely go into a set not-knowing if i 'have it' for myself or my clients. Some may call that holding off, i call it sensible PTing. The last time i checked i have no clients who make a living on the number of kgs on any given lifts.

How much can you bench?

Before answering that... ask yourself who really gives a f*ck? If you are an average gym members with goals to 'look good naked' it shouldn't be an important factor.


Be sensible, check in a mirror and be honest with (technique) failure. Log it down, recover well (eating/nutrition/lifestyle) until you hit the same movement again and try to do more. Simples.

Thats the most fundamental aspect of strength training.... progressive overload. If your lifting the same Dumbbells as you were 2 years ago, you're doing something wrong.

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  1. Awesome blog Nath :) couldnt agree more xx

  2. Totally agree with ya. Some guys really bother to look at the kgs i'm lifting...

  3. Now that is something i see daily. However a lot of trainers i see allow this inflated belief to occur. Form is everything and it amazes me to see boys curling 24 kg dumbells for 500 sets. Surprisingly they have no biceps. Lesson is leave your ego at the door... great blog nathan

  4. @Pixie

    Cheers for the comment mate. Progression with impeccable technique will get you stronger anyway, it just needs patience and some smart programming. Unfortunately those 2 skills are lacking for the usual gym users :)


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