OP, here are my thoughts. If you despise long posts, just scroll down to the last paragraph.
I am a powerlifter, but starting January I will be getting on a bodybuilding program for 6 months-1 year.
The goal is to take a break from the not so joint friendly training of powerlifting, so full range of motion, “light” weight stuff…Another reason is to pack on some size, mostly as it helps the bench and to put in more isolation work to clear up some imbalances.
You realize you have imbalances that need to be addressed. Since this is the case, it’s absolutely the right call to hire someone who has extensive REAL-WORLD knowledge working with an injured population; who better to answer questions about avoiding any possible future issues BEFORE it becomes a major one…?
I can count on one fucking hand the self-coached guys in T-Nation forum who have: 1)physiques that I give respect to; 2) are healthy. And even these guys, if they’re honest, will tell you that they made mistakes early on in their lifting days and would’ve done things differently had they worked with a knowledgeable individual who could’ve provided objectivity into the equation.
But I’ve been at this for a while so I can design myself a program or pull one off of here, like a John Meadows thing, but it will just be a general hypertrophy program.
Can you really design an effective hypertrophy program yourself that saves time and frustration and prevent injuries? So why haven’t you? Despite what others may tell you, that’s a tall order, my friend.
By the way, I believe you answered your own question:
I know these guys are much better at designing a program that fits my needs better than me…
Give me a hypothetical biceps/triceps program for an adult male with valgus at the elbows and a history of medial epicondylitis. This program MUST prevent any injuries, increase real-world strength (not just gym-rat strength) and result in impressive visual development.
I sincerely hope my point is well taken.
I have a few seasoned IFBB pros to choose from and trainers that have worked with pros in the past.
My former Coach never worked with an IFBB pro and believe me when I tell you he doesn’t lose any sleep over it. He does have the ability to custom design a specific program based on what the respective client brings to the table. He also excels at listening to the client’s feedback and making modifications as needed. And, to this day, he knows more about injury prevention than anyone I’ve met or read.
You said there are some guys in your area who work with IFBB pros. I don’t know how they are at injury prevention. My guess is pretty good, since an injured competitor is bad for business. It’s still up to you to research.
Any red flags I should look out for when it comes to bodybuilding trainers?
Ask for references. Talk to current AND former clients. If possible, see how he interacts with their clients.
Does he just stand there with his arms crossed counting reps and stealing an occasional glance at the gym ? Or is he genuinely engaged, providing cues, knowing when to push the set and when to stop?
Does he regurgitate cookie-cutter program to all his clients? Or is there a custom-tailored feel to it?
Is he more interested in sounding like the smartest guy in the room rather than providing information relevant to that particular client? On the other hand, does he do little more than scream clichÃ©s?
Does he try to sell you on a long-term contract? Or is he willing to go month to month? It shouldn’t take longer than four to eight weeks to realize whether or not you’ve found a keeper.
About a month ago, I witnessed a shitty trainer at work.
For starters, this motherfucker didn’t even register on the DYEL scale. And he lacked gym etiquette - which reflexively made me want to break his face.
Is this shallow on my part…? Maybe…Maybe not…
On the truly important matters (in this case, coaching his client on the deadlift), he missed several HIGHLY IMPORTANT cues.
This, unfortunately, is more the norm than the exception. I’ve seen a small fraction of trainers and coaches that actually know what they’re doing. So you’ve got your work cut out for you in finding that diamond.
Here’s the bottom line. I don’t think you’re as fluent in lifting for bodybuilding as you may think you are. I definitely will bet you need an objective individual who can keep you healthy. And a competent coach who meets the prior two criteria should also know a thing or two about nutrition (let’s face it - unless you plan to stand on stage peeled and dry, the diet aspect isn’t rocket science). Once you get close to mastering these things - and have the results to prove it - then you can go on your own.