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The Impact of Training

I was at the gym working out this morning and happened to watch this trainer training one of his female clients. I always see them training together on Wednesday mornings. Wednesday happens to be leg day!

I see him put her through a whole bunch of smith machine squats (the legs are strategically placed way out in front of her center of gravity to ensure that spine is loaded in poor position) and then they go outside and do some sort of nonsense with a sledge hammer. Then they do RDLs and then they superset leg press and hack squats and finish with leg curls.

They pretty much do the same thing all the time and vary the rep range. Today was 50-rep day on all exercises (for whatever reason I don’t know).

Now, at first glace, some of the things that are strange with this workout are:

a) 50 rep sets for all exercises (heck, 50 rep sets in general!)
b) All bilateral work and no single leg work
c) Aside from the RDLs, everything was on a fixed machine
d) This lady doesn’t have great movement patterns at all and it doesn’t seem that they are doing things to help correct this.

One thing that seems to be a little hard for people to grasp is the concept that training has a very profound impact on our bodies. I am not talking about the impact of weight loss or muscle gain here. I am talking about the impact it has on our posture, our movement patterns and potentially our pain.

That last part there is probably the easiest of the three for people to understand as when we do something foolish in the gym (let our technique get a little sloppy, over train or sustain an overuse injury), our body lets us know about it in the form of pain. This usually leads us to taking some time off or maybe seeking some sort of physical therapy or chiropractic care and then once that is all taken care of, we are back at it again.

The other two examples though (posture and movement patterns) are really the critical ones to grasp, as oftentimes, if they are taken care off, example three (pain) can be avoided.

Something that I would really like trainers to consider (or anyone who work out for that matter) is the fact that every workout, every set, and every rep, we are making changes in our posture and movement patterns. We are directly impacting soft tissue and creating changes in our posture and those changes can be either good or they can be bad. This is one of the reasons why a good assessment is so critical before beginning a training program. You want to make sure that what you are doing in the gym is moving you closer to your goal and not pushing you further away.

When we go to train someone (or ourselves), we really need to understand the possible implications that certain exercises will have on our individual posture and movement patterns. Are we doing too much of one thing and not enough of another? Maybe we need to drop a few exercises from our program for a few weeks as we focus on something else? These are questions you need to ask yourself when you are determining the best exercise protocol for you. Remember, exercise is not cookie cutter! We can’t go onto a website and download “the daily workout”, or pick up the latest “insert your favorite exercise magazine here” and jump right into a workout program they are suggesting for the masses. We need to determine what our body needs and what is appropriate for us as individuals.


Good post.

Most average gym goers won't see this either, until it starts to impact there daily life, or recreational activities.

I would love to get movement screened by a pro to see where I need work and where I'm strong. Too bad the local gyms are full of idiot trainers like you love to describe. Would Dax or someone else at that gym be able to do correct movement screening?

Hey Dan,

Yeah, Dax should be able to put you through a movement screen. There is a guy, Myles there that also does the movement screen. Either of them would be good.


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