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  • Writer's pictureChris Spencer

Common Goals & How We Help Clients Get There

If you do this job for long enough, you’re going to run into clients who have goals that are similar to others, if not the outright same thing. The purpose of this blog is to cover a couple of the more common ones that us, as trainers, come across. If you’re reading this, these might apply to you, and if that’s the case, hopefully you can glean some useful information. 1.) Lose Weight/Fat This one is the most common one we run into. People need to lose weight/fat for a variety of reasons. They want to prove to themselves they can, they have postural deficiencies that might be solved by shedding excess body fat, a doctor told them they have to for the sake of their health, or they plain just don’t like what they see in the mirror. All completely valid. The first place we need to start is with a fundamental understanding of the laws of thermodynamics. To lose weight we need to EAT LESS, BURN MORE. That’s it. It’s literally one step. Some may feel inclined to follow a diet they saw on social media or heard about from one of their friends and that’s cool - the caveat being that all diets do the EXACT SAME THING. If a diet works it’s because it limits food intake to lower than what you’re burning. Don’t get sucked into some “quick-fix/super shred” nonsense. Be patient, employ some discipline, log your food every day, find out how many calories you’re burning every day, and gather as much objective information about yourself as possible. (See: InBody) You’ll get there, I promise.

2.) One Bodyweight Pull-up This is one of my favorite things to hear. It’s such an objective goal (the best kind) with a super clear path. Now assuming all things are equal in terms of body composition, etc. the path to a pull-up is surprisingly clear, but very difficult. Usually where I’ll start with those who have this goal is an understanding of body position. During the pull-up, we want to gather as much tension in our body as possible. We never ever ever ever ever ever want to pull dead weight. A good way to practice that is to get into a hollow-body position*. Start by laying on your back, bring your knees to the chest and give them a hug by bringing your head/scapula off the ground. Extend the hands and feet in opposite directions until you find yourself in a crescent shape while keeping the lumbar spine down.

WARNING: these fucking suck. But they help. You aren’t going to be good at these initially, but stay with them. It’s the exact position we’re going to be in for pull-ups. Practicing good body position will result in a movement becoming easier.

*fun fact: “arms overhead/tight belly” is also an overhead press. So by getting good at these, it’ll translate to your OHP nicely. Hooray biomechanics!

Next we’ll transition to lat recruitment. Generally speaking, letting the biggest muscle in the upper half help out is always a good thing. We want them to dominate the movement. Start with scapular depressions and slow down the eccentric action. Should help with both strength and recruitment.

Last thing you need to know - if you want to be good at pull-ups, the best way to do that is to DO pull-ups. Hang from a bar, put a band around your feet, whatever you have to do. But there really isn’t a substitution for actually getting on a bar and trying. Bands will take pounds off, making the movement easier. Start with a heavy band and transition to lighter ones until you don’t need them. Take your pull-ups to failure, as well. You need to figure out what maximal exertion feels like. Most stop short. Also no kipping. Do real pull-ups. Your shoulders will thank you. I’ll come up with a few others for my next entry! If there’s one you can think of let me know and I’ll try and shed some light on it.

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