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Fitness Instructor Follies

There’s a young fella recently started training with us, he joined the Kettlebell fitness session and as far as I can tell he’s having fun (difficult to discern between a grimace and a smile.)

His goals are simple, get fit and then get strong.

His past experience in a gym is what I really want to talk about though.

On his first session with me we went through the usual screening process where we discovered he had damaged his SI joint. Naturally I asked how. It turns out the poor fella had been a member at one of the larger commercial gyms in Dublin. He’d asked his fitness instructor for a program and also bought some weights so he could also train at home. This lad is serious about improving his condition and as a result we’re behind him 100%.

One of the things he asked was how to deadlift. It seems our boy had done his homework on proper strength training and wanted to learn probably one of the most valuable lifts in the strength arsenal.

His gym assigned fitness instructor replied “No, I can’t teach you that, it’s too dangerous”

So naturally, our curious fella did some research and started to deadlift on his own at home. Inevitably,he got injured. If only he’d asked a genuine trainer instead of some idiot fitness instructor.

Since then I’ve showed him how to deadlift and how to safely increase the intensity and he’s doing very well.

This story is, unfortunately, typical of the attitude of the modern gym and it’s staff. So called dangerous lifts are discouraged in favour of machine based training. In my mind this serves only to reduce the gym’s overheads and the clients results. Machine based exercises require less supervision and therefore less staff while the so called “dangerous lifts” probably incur a higher insurance cost. So in short it seems gyms are putting their bank balance before their clients. Either that or they just employ idiots.

If you really want to get strong, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more conclusive lift then the deadlift. It works the majority of the body and can seriously reduce the incidence of back pain and injury as well as improve posture and core strength.

There really is no substitute for it.

However you must get good instruction. Talk to someone who deadlifts regular and ask them to take you through the finer points. Start light and build slowly. If you can’t find a body to ask buy a book entitled “Power To The People” by Pavel. I know how cheesy the tittle sounds but my dog eared copy has been a mine of useful info as well as a detailed text on how to correctly and safely build a solid deadlift.

Just don’t do it like our boy and go it alone. He did well but the risks just aren’t worth it. Wherever possible seek out qualified instruction. Any lift done with poor form is dangerous, even on a machine. But few lifts are as functional, effective and simple as the good ole Dead.

Get out there and learn it.

All the best

Wild Geese every cause but our own

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