« Home | ....and balance for all » | A Tragic Update » | Training like an athlete......Not just for athlete... » | More on Squatting » | Squat Question regarding my last entry » | Earning the right » | A Heck of A Strength Coach With a Great Message » | Squat stance and sports » | What's with the Supersets? » | Selfish Coaches: The Downfall of Youth Athletes »

Question about Plateaus

How do you go about keeping a client motivated if they are going through a plateau maybe being stuck at a squat weight or weight loss has not progressed as planned? This may be to broad of a question but its something i would like to learn more about!

Thanks for the question. I am not sure I can really answer this one for you because of the nature of the question. I don't know the client, their background or training history.

What I can tell you though is if a client is in a plateau, you need to look at your program. Evaluate what it is you are currently doing with the client and what you were doing in their previous training period. Training plateaus don’t just happen out of the blue. Typically, they are part of a bigger picture. As a professional, it is your job to look at the big picture and zero in on what the underlying problem is.

If the client is a weight loss client and the weight isn’t coming off, then look at their diet. Have them keep a food journal for two weeks and see how consistent their eating has been. Are they getting in all their meals? Are they in-taking the proper amount of calories for their goals? What about their training program? One of the hardest things to explain to people is that if they want to lose weight they need to HELP YOU OUT! Working with a trainer twice a week does not guarantee weight loss. If you are seeing them two times a week for an hour, that is two hours of exercise in a 168 hour week! They need to be doing things on other days. Weight training, cardio, interval training, etc. They need to be expending calories if they want to reach their goals. I know that some clients are not comfortable lifting weights on their own because they don’t feel confident. Teach them how to do some interval cardio and they can do that on days when they don’t see you. If you cover all the bases, you can be sure you are getting them moving in the right direction.

If the client is stuck in a lifting plateau, like a squat in your example, then again you need to go back to their current and previous program. Maybe you have been squatting constantly for 18 weeks. Maybe they need a break from that movement. What other lower body exercises are they performing that week? What about cardio? What about the intensity of their cardio? It could be that they are just not recovering enough to make progress in that lift. It is very common that people over work their legs. Some train total body workouts three times a week (legs three times a week) and then hard cardio, in the form of interval training, on top of that. That is a lot of intensity on the lower body all week long. Some train legs twice a week with a lot of volume, and maybe even still try to do cardio. You need to find out exactly what is going on with the program and take control. For example, since I know you coach high school football players, the athletes are typically doing lots of specific sports practicing right now, maybe some scrimmages thrown in there, conditioning during practice usually and on top of that getting in the gym and pounding the weights. Lowering the volume of lifting during this period is essential if the athletes want to make steady progress. If you try and maintain the same type of lifting volume during the season that you keep in the off-season, you are going to have some pretty beat-up players.

So, long story short, look at what you are doing with the person now, look at what you did before and look at what else they have going on in their week besides training with you. From there, you should be able to step back and see why they are stuck in a rut and then, when you pull them out you will look like a genius.

Train smart,