Monday, December 9, 2013

Realtors and Personal Trainers

A few years ago, when BC real estate prices were rising precipitously I read an article about how the number of real estate agents had increased massively because the bar to becoming a realtor was ridiculously low – no doubt explains the scary number of terrible realtors out there – while the potential profits were so high. Lately, I've got to wondering if the same phenomena exists with personal trainers because there sure seems to be a lot of really useless trainers out there. 

I cycle down to the Esplanade twice a week to climb at the bouldering area and the fitness trainers are always out along this stretch of green space with their clients. I can totally get behind the idea of training outside. I enjoy bouldering outside much more than I do in a stuffy bouldering cave indoors, but I can't really see that doing a dumb exercise outdoors makes it any better than a dumb exercise indoors. 

How awesome is that, pull-up bars in every rail carriage

Today, for instance, a female trainer had her clients leaning onto elastic bands strung off a tree and doing some kind of pushing exercise while she walked around and cheered them on. I could see no functional significance in this exercise – how often in your daily life do you need to push an elastic band on a tree – worse than that however, was the limited range of motion being worked. These women probably had about 15 degrees of movement all of it in their elbow joints! 

Then there was the trainer working his client with long jumps. Long jumps are a good way to work power and explosive movement, but this client was all hunched over, head down, back arched, legs rigid and looking more like a bell ringer in a medieval castle than Ben Johnson crossing the finish line. If the clients' trunk (core) muscles are so weak that they can't hold themselves upright, then maybe you should be training their trunk muscles not banging out a bunch of long jumps just because that is in the curriculum.
To date, I have not seen a single trainer getting their clients to push, pull or lift in a functional manner with heavy weights, despite the fact that their clients are all clearly into the age bracket where muscle loss is the biggest issue. 

I always find this thing kind of sad. People are paying their trainers to improve their health and fitness and, most of them seem to be engaged in activities that are only marginally more effective than doing nothing.

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