New School Personal Trainers Should Look Up To The Old School Weight Training Traditions
When choosing your training there must be a strong reasoning behind every choice – the particular exercises, their order, sets, reps, rest, intensity, frequency, duration etc. Above all of those decisions the most important one is – the actual type of training and/or their mixture.
What training types does conventional personal training consist of: wide use of resistance training (including speed, power, strength, hypertrophy, muscle endurance, body sculpt and proper weight / fat loss training) cardiovascular / stamina training, flexibility, agility and motor skills training. Non of new market attention seeking training systems with fancy names can invent a bicycle all over again. Why can’t things be called in their real names – weight/resistance training (whichever way you want to tailor it), flexibility training, stamina/endurance training? The fact is, there is no new magical way of training. Our bodies obey to the long established sports science fundamentals.
“New school” personal trainers with “solid” backgrounds (couple months of personal training courses) hide behind:
- Functional training,
- Correctional training,
- Core stability training,
- Holistic training,
- Kettlebell training,
- Yoga training,
- Power plate training etc.
– new school – attractive, interesting and innovative personal training. Or… is it? What stands behind the “new school” personal training? How good is the reasoning for using it to achieve the exact goals? How big part of the flashy names is just a commercial trick to attract an attention of potential clients?
The name functional accurately describes the purpose of such training – to train for the exact movements and sports. Actually, it is not new school at all. Various sports athletes have been training specifically to their sports for as long as sports exist.
It’s been presented by personal trainers as something very innovative though in the last few years. The name functional has been put on the market to stand out from the rest of the non-functional, old school training.
Let’s see what’s so functional about the functional training when it’s applied to a general public.
So a regular person comes down to a personal trainer with the usual needs – become fitter, lose some weight, feel and look better. Ok… What is specific and functional about such goals? – Nothing – For cardiovascular fitness you have to do a cardio training; to lose weight you have to affect your biggest muscle groups through a resistance training and spend some extra calories by doing cardio training; stretch to increase mobility, flexibility and speed up muscle recovery after each training session. By doing so you will primarily work on your cardiovascular fitness, fat loss/muscle maintenance and flexibility – no extra woo-doo training needed. Such goals achieved will make you feel and look good.
What could be the specific tasks, movements for a regular person to train for? – open a door, maybe reach to scratch a back or some other body part?
Functional training for physically inactive people – it is as ridiculous as it sounds…
Correctional training and core stability training
Correctional training is resistance type of training with the specific goal – correct postural problems. Nothing’s wrong with such goal, poor posture does result in various problems. In order to correct it, core muscles have to be strengthened, muscle imbalances eliminated by strengthening, activating weaker muscles and stretching tight muscles. That’s what the correctional training does.
Core stability training has a sole purpose to isolate core muscles and strengthen them. That’s what the core stability training does.
Let’s see what classical compound movement exercises like squat, dead lift, bent over row and bench press can do –
- They engage core muscles extremely well (even bench press, if taught by a personal trainer experienced in power sports),
- Among them they primarily work all biggest muscle groups and smaller muscles secondarily (if there are any muscle groups weaker, the whole body engaging compound movements, done with necessary manual adjustments to keep a good form and symmetry, will force them to catch up as different muscle groups work simultaneously, sharing the loading between them).
So the classical compound weight training exercises do the same job (including stretches on tight muscles as stretching is/should always be done after weight training) like correctional and core stability training. PLUS – they do what correctional and core stability exercises don’t –
- Inflict much higher protein degradation (muscle stimulation) on big muscle groups,
- Can engage fast twitch muscle fibers as well as slow,
- Can accumulate high levels of lactic acid,
- Stimulate hormone activity (resulting in more efficient fat burn),
- Burn much more calories,
- Stimulate central nervous system at another level.
A regular person who needs the posture to be corrected, core strengthened is very likely to also benefit from extra kilograms of fat lost and the better shaped body as well as the improved posture and strengthened mid-section.
Inventing a bicycle (not even as good as the original) when it’s already there – doesn’t seem very necessary…
Holistic training pretty much ends with its name said. It’s an empty phrase to impress uneducated and/or brainwashed audience.
Obviously, holistic in a general sense means something emphasizing on a whole. So when it’s used in a gym environment – resistance training, cardiovascular training and flexibility training then? – Just what any average beginner in a gym does.
A simple, holistic question –
Why bothering to name something that is quite frankly the whole nothing…?
There must be something almost mystical or at lest very special about kettlebell training if so many people look forward to try it and even more personal trainers are specifically offering it.
Mysticism aside, let’s have a look at what kettlebell training is. It is resistance training. That’s it. That’s what it is.
Kettlebell is a piece of equipment for resistance training – along side with barbell, dumbbell, resistance band, body weight etc. Due to restricted kettlebell weight (normally 2-32kg) it is most suitable for lactic acid resistance training which can be also done using barbell, dumbbell/-s, resistance band, body weight etc.
A simple question again –
Why aren’t there any ads with personal trainers shouting out load how they are offering barbell, dumbbell or resistance band training (actually it would sound quite silly)?
Ads exclusively offering kettlebell training DO sound silly to someone who knows something about weight training…
Yoga training is on the list of “new school” not because it is new but because of its ever growing ability to attract new masses – yoga always stays hot!
Firstly, what is yoga training? It is a combination of core exercises and stretches. That’s what it’s good for – strengthening abs and lower back and improving flexibility.
As it is so popular, does it mean that a vast part of general population have a strong core and flexibility as their main goals? From what people tell to personal trainers over 90% have a need, goal to lose weight, fat, improve physique. Yoga is NOT the prime training to achieve such goals.
The question remains open –
Why is it so popular then? Maybe because you get to lay on a mattress without sweating too much…
Power plate training
Power plate training has got a very powerful name… and even more powerful PR.
What it really is, it’s £7000 for a vibrating surface on which you stand. To turn this vibrating surface into training you have to launch an isometric (not moving, staying in exercise position) exercise – for example, freezing for few minutes in a squatting position. By the way, isometric training is NOT the most efficient way to produce lactic acid and burn calories. It will produce some lactic acid in muscles engaged and it will burn some calories. On the other hand, you can try and launch the same isometric position without the £7000 vibrating surface and you will get some lactic acid accumulated in muscles engaged and will burn some calories. Then, of course there’s a core stability card being threw, as, OMG, you have to stay still while the surface vibrates… How about doing some intensive barbell squats in a perfect form instead?
To conclude, quality of training comes with precision and details. Fundamental movements are fundamental for a reason. While there are great yoga masters, physiotherapists, various sports specialists etc., at the same time an army of dilettantes hide behind fancy exercises names, shiny expensive training equipment and funky looking movements.
Rolandas’PT4U in London for no nonsense old school personal training, contact natural bodybuilding personal trainer Rolandas, taste the real weight training.