T Nation

Study Affirms: Most Trainers Are Dandies


(MOD: please don't post if this is a duplicate post. Thanks!)

I found an interesting study on the NSCA website:


Glass SC, Stanton DR. (2004). Self-selected resistance training intensity in novice weightlifters. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18(2): 324 ? 327.


Glass, S.C., and D.R. Stanton. Self-selected resistance training intensity in novice weightlifters. J. Strength Cond. Res. 18(2):324?327. 2004.?The purpose of this study was to determine the intensity of self-selected weightlifting exercise in untrained men and women.

Thirteen men (age = 19.5 ? 1.9, height = 70.0 ? 2.4 in., weight = 174 ? 20.1 lb, % fat = 14.3 ? 6.7) and 17 women (age =18.7 ? 1.0, height = 64.9 ? 2.3 in., weight = 135.4 ? 22.8 lb, % fat= 23.4 ? 4.7) who were novice lifters completed seated bench press, leg extension, seated back row, military press, and biceps curl. Following self-selection trials, subjects' 1 repetition maximum (1RM) was assessed for each lift. Results showed that for both genders, self-selected loads were all below 60% 1RM. All lift intensities were similar for men and women (range = 42?57% 1RM).

Repetitions completed and rating of perceived exertion responses were not different between gender. Results show that subjects do not select a lifting intensity sufficient to induce hypertrophic responses and subsequent strength increases.


Now, I realize this isn't the most technical study in the world, and the authors aren't likely going to win any Nobel prizes for it, but it reinforces something I've observed and generally believe to be true: most people aren't putting out any effort in the gym.

Nobody is trying to get stronger in the movements that they do and nobody takes their sets seriously. They pussy foot around and do busy work for an hour or so and then log on here and bitch about how they can't make any progress.

NEWSFLASH: If you can sing along to the Nickelback song on the radio while you do your reps, you're not putting out enough effort.

You should have to keep your mind focused on the work at hand for every set. I'm not saying you have to snort ammonia salts and slap yourself in the face to do crunches, but maybe try to put your game face on and pretend like you care about what you're doing.

To quote Arnold from the classic "Pumping Iron"



A sad fact of life now-a-days. You should see the rest of my class mates work in the gym.


I agree 100%.

With all my clients, I have to distract them between sets so that I can add weight.

Then on rep 2 or 3 they accuse me of adding weight -- of course I deny it.

Funny. They always do the same amount of reps as they did on the previous set.

I distract them again while adding more weight.

Cycle continues.

The thing I've noticed that I think is even worse than lack of intensity is way too much volume at a low intensity.

I just redid the program for a skinny kid trying to gain mass. His "chest day" was like this:

Incline DB press 4-5 x 10-12
Bench ress 4-5 x 10-12
Close-grip bench 4-5 x 10-12
Dips 4-5 x 10-12
Rope extensions 4-5 x 10-12

So I gave him this:

Bench press: 10x3 @ 5RM w. 90s rest

Decline skull crushers: 6x4 @ 6RM w. 90s rest

Incline DB flyes: 3 x 8 w. 10RM w. 60s rest

His first reaction:

"Isn't going that heavy just for strength?"

His second reaction:

"Only three exercises?"

I can't wait 'till I put him on EDT.

"Only one exercise?!?!"



LOL. That's awesome!


I NEVER told my clients how many reps to do. I just agve them weight and told them to go. When they asked how many reps I said do as many as you can. Then I would base their starting weight off of that. It was quite comical to see women and men bang out 20-25 reps with weight they would "normally" do 10 resp with. I was amazing how many women were actually afraid of weight. Well not so astonished as I heard every single time from every single woman client ever "I dont want to get bulky." Then after I upped their weight by 150% and they banged out reps they were astonished they could do that much weight. They I had to try and convince them they would not get "bulky." That was the hard part.


Me and a select few are the only ones in my gym who actually train hard and break a sweat. I get blank stares for doing 8x3, 5x5, 3x3 with heavy ass weights. It's almost as if I'm breaking the sacred gym code. The worst of all is the women who sit beside each other chatting like hyenas ona an adductor machine with 5 kilos doing 2x15 to get long slender toned athletic yoga Anna Kournikova muscles and the men who walk around aimlessly going from machine to machine in a zombie like state with rest intervals of up to 5 mins never breaking a sweat.

Needless to say I need a new gym, the only plus side is the squat rack is allways free and I can deadlift all I want. The personal instructors are actually all educated, I've seen them try teaching people squat/deadlift and doing it properly, but they only 1 hour to go through a whole program. Either the client ends up doing it sort of right they usually give up and do machines after a few days.

The others have such terrible imbalances that the instructors don't give a shit and give them some machines because that's what the audience wants. Hell, the instructors in my gym dont even train in that gym they go elsewhere to deadlift/squat because otherwise their clients ask why they aren't doing machines.