T Nation

I just want to vent !!!

I have been working in the strength and conditioning field since graduating in 1999. I have been a trainer and management at several types of facilities, and have seen and worked with a lot of different Personal Trainers, and strength coaches. Has anyone else out there noticed the sudden flood of useless training methods that trainers are using these days. I know I’ll probably get flamed for this but I think a lot of Fitness professionals out there never really care about there clients seeing results. Everyone is too concerned with getting their client on a physioball, balance board, bosu or core board because it looks cool. I like to consider myself a successful athlete, and I’m not going to compare my self to a professional athlete, but I threw the 16lb. Hammer 200 ft, weighing 255, running a 4.8 40, and powersnatching 245. I did all of this with serious weighlifting, plyometrics and hard work. I’m not saying that some people don’t need balance or stability training, but I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a kid who can do military presses kneeling on a physioball, but can’t squat their own bodyweight.
I’m just fed up, and this is one of the reasons I’ve decided to start my own business. Some of the health screenings I’ve been forced to put people through have been ridiculous. I worked at one facility that had a health screening that consisted of 6 shoulder impingement tests, and didn’t even have sit and reach on the protocol. What happened was a trainer goes out and gets certified by an organization like NASM, which I consider good for rehab more than anything else and then comes back to the boss and says look what I’ve put together for a health screen, and the boss says thats great, this makes us look really smart. Needless to say people take this health screen with flying colors, and then go out and start doing squats with their heels coming off the floor and their knee’s practically touching at the bottom of the movement.
Yet another topic that infuriates me, is all of these “Strength Coaches” that have never actually done anything they are trying to teach. I read a post on another site recently asking for ideas on how to train a triple jumper. Here is a hint, if you don’t know what you’re talking about don’t train them. It really pisses me of when coaches take on clients, but aren’t actually sure how to train them. Save the person a few hundred dollars and refer them to someone that might be able to actually help.
I’m going to stop now, because I feel steam coming out of my ears, but I’m interested to hear what everyone else thinks. Sorry for the public venting.

Brad Cardoza, CSCS

I feel your pain.

That ruled.

You better stop venting, Biatch! I am a 250 lb former linebacker who only used Physioballs and balance boards to increase strength and speed. I could run circles around your fat bald ass. Now, I have a multi-million dollar company training athlete with ONLY balance training to improve sport performance. Cha-ching

I have been training athletes for 15 yrs and have a lot more experience than your 3 yrs of crap “experience”. - If you want to train like a caveman, than you probably are one! I bet you are one of those bald fat bastards that flip tires and call yourself an athlete. Go grow some balls and grab a BOSU for a real workout. I would fry off your gyno tits with a few reps on a pilates mat. Get out of the 80’s and train like a man!

Why dont you Go back to the stone age with barney rubble and start flipping rocks again…then again, you probably already do that. Go grab your boyfriend and join a yoga studio for a real workout, Biatch!


There are good personal trainers out there and excellent training facilities do exist. But, the fitness industy as a whole (i.e. Bailey’s, 24 Hour Fitness, home gym infomercials, etc…) seems to operate on the P.T. Barnum principle that a sucker and his money are soon parted.

That rant reminded me of a scenario…

I was doing Turkish Get-ups and neck-bridges in the “stretching room” (where all the chicks lift), and the college gym’s trainer is showing a trainee a “wonderful exercises”:

DB military press while seated on a swiss ball WITH ONE LEG STICKING OUT.

I was hearing this while doing my “Get-up” and when I heard, “By sticking that one leg out, you become unstable and therefore get a core work out while working shoulders!”… I dropped the dumbell (landed on my forearm :frowning: ) and almost fainted.



Great vent.

At the facility I work at our most successful “strength coach” is full of gimmicks and trains people to near death. There is a young football team that trains there. I work with three of the athletes and my nemesis trains the rest. This guy has the athletes working on overspeed training (trust me they are not in good enough shape to even begin trying it, let alone all the arguements against it) He’s supersetting clean and jerks (more like upright row and press) and squats. The guy makes them do cardio kick inbetween sprints, the overspeed drills get thrown in the MIDDLE of the workout. How the hell is overspeed going to improve speed when you are already tired, it’s more like normal speed training. Then there is plyo work. He started them with depth jumps at two feet. Never mind their landing mechanics were horrible, they couldnt even squat properly, lets get them in to intense plyos. It seems like he adds in every method he reads about, without regard for ability. Some of the athletes throw up every workout with him. I could go on and on. The best part is They held testing the other day and my THREE athletes finished top THREE in EVERYTHING. Made my day, now the other athletes are starting to follow.

Coach X once said something like it doesn’t take a genius to train someone to near death. A smart coach is one who can continually make the athlete stronger, and better.

That’s the moral of the story.

I also agree that if you do not know anything about a sport than refer the client out. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this.

Amen brother…let me tell you about the division 1 football team at my last school i was the ss-strength coach off …now i left this semester because they brought in a strength coach who out ranked me and told me had this new training program for football that all the NFL teams use…now let me give you a hint this guy was from a very good educational college on the East coat hinthint…I said let me hear about this program how are we going to do things, as me and him were going to be in charge of baseball and football, he said basically we put each player at a hammer strength machine and do 1 set of as many reps the players can do in 30 seconds at each station 3 days a week…i lost it and wento my apartment packed up and went to grad school else where…big martin

badasstrainer please tell me you are joking. i just need to hear you say it.

Thank you guys. I need to hear this every once in a while just to reassure myself that they are the crazy ones and we are the smart ones.

A little background … I’m only nineteen, but I consider myself pretty knowledgable in strength training. I just read everything I can get my hands on (T-mag, Kurtz, Siff, Thibaudeau, Men’s Health (joking), etc. I want to eventually become a proffessional s&c coach.

Right now I have a small gym in my parents 3 car garage. Two power cages, dbs 5-150, bands, two benches, an open rack , a cable machine for the occasional pull throughs and pull downs, etc. I currently have about 12 high school guys come over everyday to workout. I’m charging 40 bucks a month for working out and coaching. I started about 4 months ago and their all making great gains (hence more high school kids wanting to workout every week).

My point to the story is all the high school coaches and the trainers at the local fitness center tell them I’m crazy. Why am I crazy? Because I make them SQUAT? Because I make them eat upwards of 6 meals a day? Because we meet in the high school parking lot every Sat morning to pull my tahoe? Or is it because we don’t do specialized arm workouts? Or perhaps we don’t make a habit of doing 4 x 10 for everything? Maybe it’s the fact that my high school softball girl does deadlifts!

They are all too busy to notice that the average guy has put on 20 pounds of muscle in 2-3 months cleanly. And that their benchs’, squats’, and deadlifts’ go up every week. And that the girl lost 12 pounds of fat in 1 month with no cardio, just strength lifting.

SOOOO … that was my vent. Thank you.

P.S. Their high school just invested in 4 smith machines to replace the old squat racks.

I am currently applying to grad schools and I gotta say that my biggest fear is to end up with a GA at a school with dink for a strength coach. If such a terrible thing ever happened I’d definetly consider pulling a “Big Martin” and getting the hell out of Dodge.

I used to feel the same way, Brad, but I have come to realize that these “dime-a-dozen” trainers are actually quite useful. Rather than rant about them you should thank them. They present no challenge to knowledgeable trainers such as yourself and, in the long run, can inadvertantly make a great case for (y)our methods. As Squattin600 pointed out, his athletes outperformed the other trainers athletes quite considerably.

Essentially, it all comes down to results and you and I know that this is what a trainer is measured by. Would you rather these trainers spend an inordinate amount of time reading T-mag, Zatsiorski, Siff, etc.? Then you would have some real competition.

I wouldn’t get angry. Just sit back, train your clients appropriately, and wait for people to flock to you. The greatest irony is that traditional methods now seem so revolutionary!

I mean this in all seriousness. I admire you guys for wanting to work in the S&C field but the real money is to be made in personal training. I know a S&C coach at a major university and I make 4x! what he makes.

Learn what you can and train kids at the high school level. Conduct camps and/or do one-on-one sessions. You can do a world of good for these kids and make a ton of cash to boot. You might also wind up training their parents.

I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I am just getting into the “trainer” business now, and to tell you the truth I already want out! Here’s a couple of things I have learned over my short time in the business:

  1. Most trainers are…shit. I know there are good ones out there, but they are far and few between. Example: I recently started at a facility and I had several clients doing turkish getups and reverse hypers…other trainers either look in horror or try to convince me how “dangerous” these exercises are. Meanwhile, they have their clients doing sqauts on physio balls.

  2. I consider myself to be quite knowledgable and try to read up every day. I have come to the realization that 90% of what I know will never get used in the field. Everyone is so indoctrinated that anything different than what every other trainer is doing has to be wrong!

  3. I won’t be in this business for long. I’m going the way of big martin…grad school and eventually a university strength coach. Even though he is still dealing wihth the bullshit, he knows his stuff and will get to where he can do what he wants and answer to no one…what a dream it is.

Cheers, and good luck to all in their pursuits.

hey steve bubel, while they pose no threat in the knowledge department [not to mention the results department] they’ll always be ahead in the marketing department. the average gym goer who wants a trainer has no desire to do the “mundane” and “ordinary.” they all want to do something exotic, like 1-arm cable rows on a physio-ball with one foot out, which looks so much “cooler” than lying on your back and pushin big weights. the trainer who has his clients workin with heavy compound movements and preaches the importance of proper dietary practices will get results, the goofball who’s standing on a disck with one foot out holdin the 5’s doin curls-into-presses preaching “functional” training and core stability automatically looks like more of an authority to the yuppie with a big paunch and an even bigger wallet.
God i dislike the fitness industry. Brad, i feel your pain.
yall be good, flash

Why do they always have to win in the marketing department, Flash? If you guys really want clients you need to let them know how and why your methods work (and where others fail). It is not enough to state that “ball training sucks”. Get a firm grasp on the limitations of such training and explain to potential clients why those methods, while fun and unique, may not help them achieve their goals. It is your responsibility as a BUSINESS OWNER to market your methods and there are a million ways to do that (i.e. seminars, newsletters, etc.)

I stand by my original statement that, ultimately, it still comes down to results and I have 25 clients (who use our methods) that will back me up on this.

This is probably one of my favorite topics. I have resisted the urge to post in vain. Just the other day I witnessed a trainer bring in a guy who could not even curl the ez curl bar. His solution? Take him over to the preacher bench and have him perform negatives while he pushed down on the bar. I kept waiting for the guys connective tissue to go ptinggg. Every week I see these bozos bring in clients and max them out in the bench press to establish a “baseline.” There is no discussion on proper form. It’s like anything goes from a form standpoint, now lets load the bar and see if we can injure you. Last rant. A good friend of ours who is a successful entrepreneur (money than sense) decided he would hire a personal trainer. Then a couple months later he told me he is benching 400. I had to see this so I made sure to overlap his session. Long story short he was doing triples with 365, going down about 1/3 and the “trainer” was rowing the weight every set. He ended up complaining his neck hurt and found out he had developed acute pathology in his cervical spine. He doesn’t train anymore. While all this nonsense was going on, this trainer told our friend he is his only client he has who is up to his “level.” This monkey boy trains squats on the Smith machine with 225 going down about 1/3 of the way while shreiking like a chimp, and benches 115 for 20’s supersetted with pushups with his hands on the bench while making some of the gayest noises I have ever heard. This guy is like 6’2 170 wet and wearing boots. I witnessed this same douche bag bring in a woman to train and have her perform assisted weighted chins. Yeah, that’s right. Broad couldn’t even do a single full chin on her own, so let’s slap a harness and 10 pounds on her and assist the reps. They were basically hanging curls as she was working 2/3 the range of motion on each end. Of course, no discussion on form. Uggghhh. These people are morons.

Here’s some of my recent events…the personal trainer had a very frail 60ish old lady trying to stand on
one of them 1/2 balls. Now, she had to stand on 1 foot while doing laterals - not just laterals but alternating sides. The left arm did a side
lateral while the right arm did a front lateral. Of course, to make it harder 1 was ascending while the other descending. Another great one was the
trainer teaching his cleint how to do squats with 95lbs - of course 1/4’s at best. Lucky me to be squating next to him and after a set of 305 for 10, I went to rack the bar only to have
the trainer knock into the bar. Fortunately, I got it on the rack.

Its a total goof. - Just wanted to bust Brads balls a little before he leaves our club and heads back to MA. Good luck in the future Dude. RFC crew