Alright guys, I’ve been MIA for a few weeks battling the flu and some other things, but we’re officially back online! For today’s blog, I have a bone to pick. And it isn’t pretty. Too often I see facilities and trainers running their clients through rep schemes and exercises that are just down right absurd. They hold ZERO merit, other than the fact that they elicit severe DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), that incompetent trainers use as a method to ensure their clients felt the wrath of their programming. We’ve all seen the programs I am talking about. They are found all over the internet, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, or potentially at fitness facilities near you:
Day 3 of our Fitness Challenge: 300 squats, 300 deadlifts, 600 hamstring curls, 1500 Russian Twists.
Day 6 of our Fitness Challenge: 25 Overhead Push Press, 25 Chin Ups, 25 Bench Press, repeat for 5 rounds with minimal rest in between sets.
Day 8 of our Fitness Challenge: 10 sets of 10 DB Bench Press, supersetted with 15 Plyometric Pushups, supersetted again with 15 Dumbbell Fly’s, Finish with 300 Pushups.
Day 9 of our Fitness Challenge: 200 Power Cleans as fast as possible, 800m sprint with a 3 Rep Max Deadlift for 7 sets no rest in between.
***I might be exaggerating with the rep schemes a little bit, but you get the point. (The sad part is, I’m probably not even exaggerating the rep schemes – if I look hard enough I bet I can find something similar to this on some blog or Instagram page).
The only thing that makes this programming even more absurd than it appears on paper, is the amount of people who actually pay money to enroll in it. I’m not blaming the general public. I understand the general population isn’t educated with regards to what proper training is until they’ve seen and felt the difference for themselves, but I don’t understand how this doesn’t get people asking questions like “what the hell am I doing?” Bare with me as I use this as an opportunity to try and educate some of you to better sway your decision-making process.
- In what world would finishing with 300 Pushups (after performing a solid hour of bench press variations nonetheless), be advantageous? It doesn’t improve performance or aesthetic measures. It doesn’t contribute positively to long-term joint health. The only thing it contributes to is further exacerbating asymmetries and imbalances, impairing proper movement patterns that set in with fatigue, and DOMS that will leave you unable to pick up your cell phone for two weeks. Instead of 300 reps, why don’t you strap on chains or bands and attempt to max out at 5 proper reps (if strength is your goal), or strap on fewer chains and try to max out at 6-12 proper reps (if aesthetics is your goal)? I guarantee you will be sore the following day all the same, without the long-term detrimental effects.
- In what world would peforming an 800m run prior to completing a 3-rep max deadlift be advantageous? We are simply neglecting the principles of exercise science. Principles that hold merit and have been proven to work for decades for whatever your goal is. Complete disregard for proper energy system development needed to perform a successful 3-rep max deadlift does nothing to improve your performance or results over time. And I’m not even going to get into how an optimal deadlift requires maximal effort that simply cannot be done in a fatigued state after running for a kilometer.
- In what world would performing 25 Push Press, 25 Chinups, 25 Bench Press in a circuit style for 5 sets with minimal rest be advantageous? Having spent close to 6,000 hours training adult and elite athlete clientele, I can tell you with absolute certainty that 99% of the population is unable to perform 25 proper repetitions (and 100% of the population shouldn’t even attempt that many reps) of any of those exercises in a RESTED state, let alone in a circuit style challenge where fatigue is constantly battled. Goodbye shoulder and lower back health! Again, exercise science holds merit. 25 reps is nothing more than a “nice, fun challenging number”. If strength is your goal, perform 2-5 proper reps. If aesthetics is your goal, perform 6-12 proper reps. Once completed, use any variation of JOINT-FRIENDLY tasks you can think of (that can be performed with minimal thought process and proper technique in fatigued states) for your conditioning goals.
Again, I’m not picking on the general public with this blog, it isn’t their fault. They should be able to rely on ‘certified trainers’ and ‘fitness facilities’ to provide them with the tools to succeed. But from a fitness professional perspective, I find it downright embarrassing that people who suggest this type of programming are allowed to give advice. The old adage you get what you pay for applies to our business just like everything else (**although, sometimes it’s not even that simple as a lot of these facilities charge some of the highest membership rates**). We’ve all had the friend of a friend who skimped out and called the cheaper contractor to renovate their basement, only to see that they did a half-ass job, didn’t follow code on any of the work, or skipped out after being paid without finishing the product. The fitness industry is the exact same. Too often I see trainers who use it as an opportunity to simply ‘make money’ instead of actually changing a life. Simply throwing a workout up on the board, sitting back and watching people sweat and struggle, providing lack-of-merit-senseless exercises that seem challenging, and calling it a service. As a consumer, you think this is good because “there are 50 other people here so clearly this place must be good. They own the business, or they’re certified so I can trust them”. The fact of the matter is, you’re wasting your money. It’s a simple as that. Start throwing $20 bills out of the window on your way to work, it’s no different than paying for your ‘training service’ each month. There is no thought process going into this programming. Instead, go buy a barbell and some dumbbells from Wal-Mart, set up a gym in your basement, think of 5 exercises and do 100 reps of each. Better yet, YouTube exercises on the internet, do whatever rep scheme you want with them, and call it a workout. This is the exact same thought process that your ‘trainer’ has done, but they are able to claim that it works because they own a certification. Once you finish your workout, head on out to your garage and feel free to rebuild you car engine, or rewire the electrical in your house, regardless of the experience you have.
I hope that didn’t come across as offensive to any of you. The goal of this blog was to use it as an opportunity to educate some of you with things you probably didn’t know. The fact of the matter is, you can achieve all of the things you are looking for (while still experiencing fun and challenging tasks) albeit with proper programming. I understand actions speak louder than words, and more often than not it takes an ‘eye-opening experience’ to truly see the difference between good and bad programming. Until you have tried it for yourself, a lot of this blog will probably come off as garbage. I encourage you to come into Redline Conditioning for a ONE-WEEK FREE TRIAL to our Adult Performance Program where you will truly be able to see and feel the difference between experience, expertise, and results. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the movement today!
The next time you are looking for a trainer or a fitness facility to join, remember: Anyone can make you sweat and sore (clearly, as seen with just a few of the aforementioned examples), but not everyone can make you BETTER.