It happened again today. It’s not like I shouldn’t expect it, and you’d think I’d learn after all this time. I even thought that after a few hours, I’d cool down a bit and let bygones be bygones. But, seeing as Mondays are usually learning days for me (Tuesdays, I write), while I am listening to a teleseminar hosted by Geoff Neuport, Senior RKC (site: http://kettlebellsecrets.com/specialer.html), interviewing Dan John (http://danjohn.net/) I thought I’d beat the iron while it’s hot.
I am taking advantage of a slight change of environment for my training for a couple of weeks, by going to a very “chichi”, expensive gym, because they were giving away a free trial membership. My own gym is literally a few blocks away, but I figured what the hell? Some pros switch gyms all the time for variety and fun. This one prides itself at having the “best trainers”, all NASM certified (which I am, among other certs). I also like that they have kettlebells there (and I find myself to be the only one using them. I even heard a staff trainer tell his client how bad it is for your joints to train with kettlebells. I let it go. The guy didn’t look like he could punch his way out of greasy paper bag, though he probably knows more about hair conditioners than an Aveda rep).
But here I was today, in my “cage” where I was going from bench press, to deadlifts, to shoulder presses and split squats. Simple, 5 ladders of 3 rungs per drill, moderate weight, good grinds. Today, I was not drawing attention by doing Turkish Get-Ups, Windmills or KB snatches. I was blending in.
What stood out, though, was watching trainers demonstrate crappy training progressions (by jumping around from one exercise to the next without rhyme or reason or purpose, letting clients move with form that resembled a house of cards trying to withstand gusty winds.)
Countless times, I saw idle trainers walk by a person working out on their own like an epileptic without even the conscious attempt to correct them! I mean, come on! You don’t have to collect money every single time from a person for a simple form correction!
As I was doing a joint mobility drill, I had a person come to me and ask for advice on how to do the same thing. Same thing when I was deadlifting, a gentleman near me was doing bent-over rows with poor form, so I corrected him, and he welcomed that. I felt great. Apparently, I demonstrated skills that these folks recognized.
It’s interesting to “secret shop” and see what others are doing. A colleague of mine sees a “sh#t show” (her words)all day at her gym in Vancouver, BC, with so-called “trainers”. Pavel Tsatsouline, Mr KB himself, has learned to not get bothered by it. I feel it is necessary to try to educate members in proper exercise techniques, but how do you do it if there is no quality control anywhere in gyms? It’s like a surgeon passing the medical boards, but botching every surgery afterwards with no consequences! Each bad move I saw was making ME hurt, so I can only imagine how the poor sap protruding his knees and going into spinal flexion during some plyo-box jump squats is going to feel later!
I propose that all trainers start a “secret shopping training guild”, go to gyms and offer our services and report anything that ultimately represents a liability to the gym by having their staff ignore proper technique. Who’s in?