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Strongman and Bob: Part 3

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As I outlined in Strongman and Bob Part 2, he was dealing with a tremendous number of physical issues; you can imagine that working with Bob was a challenge.

Especially given that I was working with him from a distance (he’s in Ohio).

As I said before, I have a real problem with online training model and this was a very illustrative example of why.

Bob had been lifting off and on for years and had apparently been into bodybuilding when he was younger. I ASSumed that his technique would be ok on primary lifts.

I was wrong.

Tangentially, that’s fundamentally the problem with the online training model. Because, with so few exceptions as to make them irrelevant, everybody has terrible form in the weight room. Unless you lift in a very atypical gym, you know this is the case; it’s gotten so bad that the handful of people with decent form in any weight room stand out amongst the 99% who are doing everything absolutely wrong (this usually includes the staff trainers).

Everybody says they squat deep and nobody does, everybody says they train hard and nobody does.

Taking on an online client, writing them up a workout and then ASSuming that they will actually do something approximating what you wrote technically is destined to be a problem.

This was made clear when Bob planned his first visit to SLC for a hands-on training camp. He came out for a few days which we spent assessing and drilling technique in the weight room. None of his technique issues were helped by either the DISH or his other injury concerns. He had limited range of motion in a lot of movements and his body simply didn’t move right. It had found an amazing number of odd compensations for the various injuries and this showed in the weight room.

That said, we corrected a lot of basic issues and I sent him home (we shot video of the whole thing so that he could review it himself). The first blocks of training were mainly to focus on good technique along with addressing the various injuries. Essentially, he had to get in shape to be able to train hard.

Of course, it was also important that his training be somewhat satisfying and this can become a real balancing act: you need to fix the problems but that tends to be tedious slow going and it’s easy to lose trainees. Something about training has to be enjoyable and rewarding enough to keep the person coming back to it.

It didn’t help that on any given day or week, depending on how his joints and tissues were acting, everything would change. Some days he could squat perfectly, other days it would take him endless sets to even hit basic ranges of motion. Planned training programs beyond some generalities were fairly impossible and trying to do it from a distance became a real problem.

In practice, he’d either send me daily workout reports or at the very least weekly logs so I could see what was happening and make adjustments.

Over time he also had to become fairly self-sufficient about his own training, I had to essentially teach him how to adjust the day’s training depending on what was moving and how he was feeling. This is stuff I’d have done myself if I were working with him first hand. It took much longer doing it via email, phone and video.

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