Purposeful Training, Part 4: Don’t be Gimmick Specific

Any new kit that finds a home in our gyms is immediately seen as another gimmick or fad.  Then you just have a hot guy or girl using it to let people know that this is the next big thing.  While a trainer can benefit you through providing variety it is important that a trainer knows the purpose of using a new gadget.  I always think to myself, could this exercise be achieved through a conventional method.  With the kettlebell for instance the swing enables us to exert huge power through the use of our posterior chain of muscles.  For many this is such an under-recruited area in the body that even on a swing there is a likelihood that the quads are the dominant drivers.  A good trainer should realise this and explain the importance of redressing the balance and provide exercises where the hamstrings are specifically targetted like the swiss ball curl.

The TRX is a huge gimmick.  Valid for home and outdoor training maybe but in a gym?  Can you not perform bicep curls with a dumbell?  But wait, then we realise that it is a great way for girls to get use to performing proper push-ups.  The bicep curl on a TRX engages the core more and the squat allows people to learn proper form and recruit the posterior chain more.  So only use the fancy stuff if you know why, otherwise stay conventional.

Another problem with one-trick pony, gimmick specific trainers is that they expect everyone to perform an exercise in the same way; we all have different bio-mechanics and levers, differing levels of flexibility.  Hence, a good trainer adjusts and tweaks to find the right method for each individual.   Better still, a good trainer provides the mobility drills that allow one to perform an exercise correctly in the future.  Kettlbell gurus keep shouting at us about how to rack properly but fall short when explaining the limitations when trying to execute this position.  Not Scott Sonnon though, check this video out:


I could actually watch this video all day.  Tight arms lines are endemic in society and a result of typing, pen-pushing, texting, gaming, steering and too many bicep curls.  Coach Sonnon has addressed this while teaching kettlebells.  This is where a gimmick becomes a PURPOSEFUL tool and training becomes PURPOSEFULL.

Hope the concept of purposeful training is getting clearer.