Friday, January 28, 2011

Movement Based Training

In the strength & conditioning and personal training world, we at seem to get a lot of inquires about what the purpose of training is, how is a certain exercise different from other exercises, and how important is the application. We want to take this time to really explain our concepts and strategies behind movement based training and how it really relates to people's functional lives and athletes' performance capabilities to create a balanced and effective program.

First, let's talk about variations for the general population and how different exercises would be selected to accommodate different needs and demands. One example is a mother who needs a program to deal with the strength demands of keeping up with a young child. Muscular strength, lower body & core strength, and cardiovascular conditioning should be a very important part of her program. In order to be able to pick up her child without risk of injury, exercises like deadlifts, squats, and core-focused lifts should be incorporated. In order to be able to play soccer or frisbee with her young child, metabolic circuit training will also be a focus. Another example is a middle-aged gentleman who sits at a desk most of the day, but who enjoys cycling on the weekend. He will have different needs than the mother. His program will require more postural strengthening due to long bouts of sitting in his daily life and in his sport. He will also need more muscular endurance, specifically in his lower body, and core based endurance. Lighter weight and higher reps will give him the stamina he needs to keep up with his riding buddies without having to fear gaining too much extra muscle weight.

Next, let's talk about the competitive athlete. Simple variations in exercise selection can make a big difference in improving the specific mechanics needed to play a sport well. An example of this can be demonstrated within kettlebell training. If we are working with a basketball or volleyball athlete that is looking to develop more explosive lower body power, the use of a rectilinear snatch variation (pulling the bell vertically from the floor) will mimic movements used in their sport and potentially have the best carryover in performance. Whereas if we are working with a baseball player or a golfer that needs to generate power from their hips, a curvilinear snatch variation (swinging the bell out and up) would be preferable as this more closely mimics demands in their sport.

These small variations can be integrated into a comprehensive program that help create balance and optimize performance in any person. We do this by ensuring equal amounts of pulling and pushing exercises, stabilization exercises, and single leg/single arm exercises. All of this together gives the training and overall purpose and really creates the value our clients are looking for. For us training with a purpose is what it's all about!    

Friday, January 14, 2011

The 4 "E"s

BT Fitness continues to do everything in its power to bring a results driven approach to our clients through our small group classes. By offering an environment that gives you the ability to work out with other like-minded fitness enthusiasts, we feel it will boost morale and commitment. In addition, we believe that by offering a multi-disciplined approach with a greater selection of training protocols, you will develop a more well-rounded and functional fitness routine. Finally, although some may not want to hear this, we do feel that training 3-5x a week is a must, thereby making small group classes the best option in that they are affordable and a more realistic approach to working out. As a result, at BT Fitness we consistently reassess to make sure that we, as owners, do exactly what we preach to our clients so that our business remains credible. This concept is something we call the 4 "E"s and it includes the following:

Evaluate: It is our responsibility to continually evaluate our own performance when it comes to our level of service. Do we stay up to date with current fitness trends? Do we invest in new tools that will be beneficial to our clients' training? Do we keep our workouts fun and exciting for our clients? Do we have a plan every time we show up to train? Do we keep our facility clean and inviting to create a welcoming atmosphere for people to get healthy and fit? Do we continue to do the little things day in and day out? Just the other day we went to take a class at a well-established studio for the first time only to find that when we walked in the door we were greeted by an instructor who remained recluse behind the desk and on the phone. Let me tell you it had an impact and we were completely turned off by it! These are the habits that, in our opinion, can threaten value and make the difference in the client experience.

Educate: This is something that we put special emphasis on. Our continuing education as trainers and owners allows us to continue to educate our clients to the best of our ability with the most up to date information in the health & fitness world. We never want to become "comfortable" with what we know because there is always more to learn. We stay committed to this by attending workshops, meeting with fellow health professionals and clinicians for brainstorming sessions, and designate specific programming  to stay sharp in our exercise selection and delivery.

Embrace Change: Let's face it we are in an industry that is built on change. What was hot last year or three years ago may be completely obsolete now. Therefore, we do our best to stay abreast of new trends in our field. I think at times we can get into a place where we fight change because it requires effort and adaptation to what was once a successful model. But there are much more benefits that come with change; it ends up helping us grow as practitioners. A perfect example of this was illustrated yesterday while we were working through a functional movement screen with a chiropractor and specialist in A.R.T. He noted that when he started to gain interest in the world of "functional training" other chiropractors in his field viewed this concept as time wasting. If we don't look forward to the continuing changes and advancements in our field, then we will inevitably get left behind.

Evolve: This final phase of this cycle is where we truly get better: the evolution process that takes us from GOOD at one thing to a MASTER of many things. We appreciate the fact that there are many different theories and opinions out there and are willing to evolve even if that means changing our own ways. At the end of the day our focus is on giving the client the safest and most reliable method to success that we can and we will continue to strive to do whatever it takes to achieve that.