What exactly do we teach?

Good question.

When we first got together to design this seminar, it was to solve two major problems we saw as overwhelming in the fitness industry:
1.  There is a big deficiency in hands on instruction in the basic moving parts of strength and conditioning.
2.  The fitness industry has long been plagued by self help gurus, hucksterism, and multi-level marketing scams.

Most trainers have the best of intentions; they provide support to help individuasl meet their goals.  However,  along the way,  they get confused at the overwhelming contradictory information available.  There are few true educational opportunities and a deficiency of practical mentoring for trainers who want to learn effective methods and become better coaches in general.  However, we believe there is hope.  The basic training principles that work have not changed.

And so, over the last year, we’ve distilled our message into one of simplicity.  We believe our students already have the knowledge base they need to train more effectively. We believe that simple training focused on the individual is the most effective training.  We believe that ongoing observation and assessments are the fundamentals of good training.  We believe that there is no substitute for hard work, practice on the field, and putting in time under the bar, or on the road.   We believe that as trainers, we can be much more effective when we apply the minimum effective dose of training an individual needs to meet his or her goals.  When you design a training program that eliminates all the extraneous work and focus specifically on the goal, you are less likely to be injured, less likely to burn out, and more likely to reap the maximal benefits of the program.  All that is required to design fun effective programs is to truly understand the nature of how people respond to training.

We spend about half our time in the classroom.

Our seminar provides an insightful look at the basic scientific principles behind effective training for fitness and performance and how to apply them in the context of the entire training experience.   We spend time as a group honing our abillties to not only observe and correct others, but make decisions regarding exercise choices and modifications.  A good deal of our time is spent discussing programming for both general fitness and long term training goals.  We want our students to be able to set a goal, decide what tools they are going to use to train for it, how long they are going to take to implement their plan, and what are they going to be doing at specific points along the way.  We also want this process to become intuitive and relatively easy.  Again, we believe most people know more than they realize, what they often  lack is a framework or the experience to consistently use effective judgement.

Below is a general outline of our most recent seminar and what we will most likely be teaching at our January seminar in Littleton, MA.  It is important to us that we meet the needs of our students and so we spend a bit of time getting to know them before we get started and we encourage them to ask questions throughout both days.

Day 1:  Science, Strength, and Programming Basics

8:30-9:15:  Introduction and Personal Goals

    Working on fixing the jerk.  

We want to know who are students are, what they are doing with their training, who they train, and what they hope to get out of our seminar.

9:15-10:00:   Best Practices and the Science of Training

There is a scientific foundation common to all good training methods.  When you have an understanding of how this all fits together, you can begin to understand and evaluate what will work vs what will work better.  We also have to consider what people actually need and how to deliver that while keeping them happy and motivated.

    10:00-10:30  The Nature of Strength
    Strength is one of the easiest qualities to train.  It also is also one that takes the longest to develop.  There are many approaches one can take in making people “stronger”, but there is really only one way to make people Strong.    
    Teaching the concept that everyone learns differently
    and that we all have our own optimal way of
    squatting, pressing, and pulling.

    10:30- 3:00 Coaching in the Weight Room (and lunch break)

    The average trainer knows how to demo a movement and have his or her client execute a similar movement.  The good trainer can coach his or her client to a reasonable working weight and correct form flaws that are directly impacting the lift.  We work together as a group and show you how to correct upstream problems and adjust each other’s form and execution to be more ideal for his or her body type, strengths, and weaknesses.  Observation and correction is the focus of this segment although we encourage our participants to get up to working weight on these lifts both for their own experience and the coaching experience of the class.

      3:00-4:00:  Workout programming

      Good workouts are not a random sampling of things you want to do that day.  They follow a consistent prioritization of elements and have a goal.  Combining efficiency, consistency, and fun is the key to good workout programming for general fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike.  We both review these principles and discuss as a group how to incorporate them into smart workout programming for both single workouts and a general fitness template.

      Day 2:  Power, Endurance, Conditioning, and Long Term Programming

      9:00-9:30:  Brief overview of Saturday.  Q and A

      9:30-10:15:  Power for fitness and performance

      Power is strength expressed in as short a time as possible.  There are power based exercises and then there is actual power training.  To train for increased power, you must have an understanding of how to utilize load and speed to improve performance.  Power based exercises are good for most populations, but understanding when and how to incorporate power exercises into a training program are important for both safety and progress.

      Teaching the cues for the bench press.

      10:15-11:00:  Endurance and Interval Training

      Endurance is strength over time.  Endurance training has received a pretty bad reputation over the past decade.  However, much of what has been maligned in simply not true.  In this segment we review the best practices of endurance athletes, the importance of base and long steady distance for general fitness and performance, and the appropriate use of interval training.  We also talk about strength training for endurance athletes and what works vs what is simply unnecessary.

      11:00-12:00:  Complexes, medleys, density training, conditioning and finishers

      In this segment, we will be talking specifically about conditioning and the use of complexes, medleys, and density training for general fitness, hypertrophy, or just fun. Many versions of these methods can be used as stand-alone workouts or as “finishers”; short conditioning circuits or activities used to conclude a training session.

      12:00-1:00:  Working lunch

      This is an opportunity to ask questions or get some personalized coaching.

      1:00-2:30:  Playtime 

      This is a break-out session when we can do some strongman medleys, barbell complexes, Olympic lifting, throwing, etc. The activity we choose is typically based on what sort of equipment and space we have available.  The goal is to learn some new skills, learn some new coaching cues, and have some fun.

      Having some fun with Highland Games.
      2:30-4:30  Segmented Training
      This is the part of the seminar that brings everything all together.  This is where we talk about how to program for specific goals using a modified form of block periodization.  Our goal here is to show you, in the simplest form, how to design your own training plans for a number of goals by identifying what your specific needs are.  GPP, base development, sport specific training, and competition phases are all included here.  We have multiple group discussions on the various approaches one can take including single goal plans as well plans for multi-sport athletes.

      We will be concluding our next seminar with a take-home exam.  There are 48 multiple choice questions and a final essay on programming.  You will have one month to complete the exam and turn it in.  Everyone in the class receives a 100+ page textbook that covers the material we teach in detail.  We are always available for follow-up questions, concerns, and assistance in using what we have taught.

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