In four months I'll be a whopping 28 years old. I know a thing or two about training and all that goes into it, but I also respect the fact that there's a hell of a lot I don't know enough about, and other topics I need to know something about that I'm not even aware of! I could've called this article "28 Things I've Learned," but that would mean these things are set in stone or that I've stopped learning about them.
Both those statements are false.
One thing I hate when writing articles and developing products is that by the time it reaches the end-user (you), I've typically already changed some of my thoughts on that topic. So, with this article you get a lot of my most up-to-date thoughts, and hopefully it'll spur some further thinking and development on your end.
I'm a dynamic individual. I'm always looking for better options, ways to improve my training and coaching, or simply things that make me more effective or a better overall human being. Here are 28 of those things. Take 'em for what they're worth!
28 Things I'm Learning
1. A deadlift at 50% is fast in relation to a 1RM. A power clean at 50% is fast in relation to a 1RM. Please don't tell me that a deadlift at 50% is as fast as a power clean at 50%. It's not.
2. For us strength athletes, we've been training our core incorrectly all along. (Don't worry, I'll expound on this one later, as I'm sure some readers are going to be freaking out!)
3. Fix your damn posture! This is the simplest way to get rid of chronic injuries (and prevent acute ones), as well as increasing your strength exponentially. It's far more effective than any "tips and tricks" you're currently using to enhance strength, too.
4. We're spending way too much time dealing with the rotator cuff when we should be dealing with the scapulae. Fix the scapulae and more often then not the rotator cuff follows suit.
5. Along those same lines, almost everyone I encounter needs some direct/dedicated serratus work in their program. I'd venture to say most of us include zero or none.
The Serratus Anterior
6. Isiah Thomas once said, "If all I'm remembered for when I die is being a good basketball player, I've done a pretty poor job with the rest of my life." Think about how that applies to you.
7. If you're fast and weak, work to get stronger. If you're strong and slow, work to get faster. Let's not make a mountain out of a mole hill.
8. We need to stop looking at individual program variables; instead, we need to critically evaluate how they all work together.
9. I don't think most of us understand the role that inflammation plays in the healing and injury process. If I'm working with an injured client, two of the first things I'm going to address are their posture and their diet. Doing otherwise would be like only fixing the alignment on a car when there's an issue with the fuel system, too!
10. Unless I can teach it to a group of five or fewer, I'm done coaching free squats to male athletes. Inevitably, as soon as you turn around or add some weight to the bar, what was parallel becomes a one-quarter squat.
11. I'll coach an athlete any day who has no sporting ability. However, I refuse to coach one that has no heart.
12. Has anyone else noticed this correlation? The correlation being that the less we exercise and the fatter we get as a society, the lower our standards are for what constitutes a "sport?" Hello! I like poker and bowling, but they aren't sports.
Bowling: It's not a sport if a fat guy can do it well when drunk.
13. There's a big difference between "get the job done" type stability and optimal stability, especially when we're talking about the low back/pelvic area.
14. Soft tissue work is great, and not enough people get it done. Even when done poorly it's better than nothing. However, really good soft tissue work can take your body to another level. If you're going to pay to get it done, do your homework and seek out the best.
15. There's a quote that says, "Where you are in five years is a result of the books you read, the seminars you attend, the DVDs you watch, etc." Are you taking that to heart?
16. Take the time to reflect daily, not only on where you're going, but where you've been and where you started from. Too often we get caught up in the future and don't take the time to think about how far we've come already. Chances are you'll start to enjoy the process and journey a whole lot more.
17. Eating properly is all about organization. Once you've planned your next day's schedule, figure out where your eating falls into that, and then pack snacks accordingly. (Hint: If you aren't already planning tomorrow's schedule, nutrition is most likely the least of your worries!)
18. I'd be willing to wager than 95% of the US population has some serious gluteal dysfunction going on. We sit too much and don't exercise enough. Mix in the fact that most of us don't know how to use our glutes to begin with and you have a pretty good recipe for failure.
Vida knows how to activate her glutes. Do you?
19. Activation work, when not coupled with some sort of concomitant strength work, is pretty much useless. You have to make those muscles stronger in real-life activities!
20. You spend 7-8 hours of each day sleeping. Buy a great bed.
21. You spend another 7-8 hours each day walking around. Buy some great shoes.
22. As a coach, I'm far from perfect. The fact that I know that and am willing to make improvements puts me ahead of the pack, though.
23. Listen to Gandhi: "Live life as though you will die tomorrow; learn like you will live forever."
Yes, I too would hit that ass posted above me.
24. As much as I like single-leg movements, I still think most should perform heavy bilateral movements like the squat and deadlift. As a whole, maximal strength is vastly underrated and underdeveloped.
25. I'm glad to see people finally understand that diet, nutrition, and supplementation are major factors for training success. Hell, even Dave Tate's doing it! What will be really scary is when we give proper recovery its due.
26. Pushing up your assistance lifts is one of the simplest things you can do to rapidly advance your progress. I think too often we get so caught up in the big exercises that we don't give much thought to the movements that develop those exercises.
27. At the time this article is released, I'll have had 54 articles published. That's almost overwhelming for someone who really had no writing experience going in and kind of "fell into" the industry. And if you've taken the time to read some or all of those, I promise you I'm going to work even harder to further my knowledge base and improve my communication skills so the next 54 are even better.
28. I'm really not as cocky, arrogant, or rude as I sound while writing this – but if I didn't write it that way, it wouldn't be very interesting!