My coaching methods have changed over the years as I learn more and more about my own body’s reaction to different training, the responsiveness of my clients to their programs and my changing views on the fitness industry. I believe that learning to perform traditional lifts with strict form, where biomechanics allow, such as the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull/row and military press are an integral part of any strength program. The training I choose to teach, however, depends on the client and of their goals. I also believe that a coach must respect individual biomechanical limitations and rate of progress, hence why I predominantly teach one-to-one and teach many variations of the complex lifts with a change in the delivery of exercises where appropriate. Main lifts are accompanied by assistance lifts, supplementary exercises and all lifts are rotated frequently. Predominantly I train with bodyweight and free weights, with minimal use of exercise machines.
Where sports performance is of concern, additional exercises are chosen that can relate specifically to the sport’s main actions for a more direct strength/power carryover. I believe the direction of force that the athlete is required to produce in their sport is essential to train in the gym. Many single arm/leg, rotatory, cable, dumbell, resistance band, harness, assisted, pure bodyweight and other exercise forms can help achieve this in a sport-specific way. Explosive exercises such as olympic lifts, plyometrics, use of medicine balls, kettlebells, leaping and sprinting exercises are just some of those chosen to help develop the athlete’s competitive advantage, although care is taken not to overdo explosive training.
Where a client has been referred for rehabilitation, the initial focus will be to release muscle tightness and restore joint mobility and stability. I believe it is imperative to focus on relearning and
developing fundamental movement patterns which require ideal levels of mobility, stability and strength. Such movement patterns include squatting, bending, twisting, pulling, pushing, crawling, walking, hopping, lunging, climbing and running. I believe people need to get comfortable with holding their bodyweight from monkey bars too, since our shoulder anatomy is designed to climb and hang from trees, and therefore shoulder strength and stability will be improved with this training.
If a client is competent with foundational lifts and movement patterns, I aim to challenge the body with a variety of complex movement forms which are performed purely on martial arts mats, obstacles and climbing movements. My goal is to train strength in a wide range of joint angles. For me, it is not important how much you can squat, it is important how smoothly and efficiently you can move.
I take note of the client’s verbal and non-verbal feedback and do my best to zone in to what is really going on for that client physically and psychologically within their working set. I believe this is important, to prevent injury and stick with the goals they are predominantly aiming for.
I believe that training programs should include some heavy low rep work, moderate medium rep work, and light high rep work for maximal progress. I believe it’s important to manipulate speed, rep ranges, sets, rest, target angles, overall volume, intensity and frequency of training. I believe it’s important to throw in some cardio but not to overdo it. I believe if you enjoy your training/exercise then it becomes easy to maintain, so I encourage finding something you love doing. I teach what I feel works best at that time and for that client and am open to learning new techniques constantly.