Updated: Jun 17
I started working in the fitness industry over ten years ago as a fitness instructor and sports assistant, setting up 5-a-side goal posts and teaching people how to use a treadmill. As anybody in health and fitness will tell you this is definitely an industry where you learn on the job. It's fast paced and you're learning all the time, both from other trainers and the clients themselves. I fundamentally believe that I owe it to my clients to continue learning in order to deliver the best training product possible.
My learning started after getting a job as a gym instructor in a large gym chain, where I worked designing programmes for a wide range of gym goers and I was given the opportunity to attend many training courses, from Advanced Goal Setting to specific equipment training courses like TRX, Kettlebells, ViPRs and SMR/Trigger Point Therapy to name a few.
A few years later, after many training courses and hundreds of hours of practical experience, I became a Personal Trainer within the same gym. After working with body builders, runners, triathletes, rock climbers, sports teams, dancers, martial arts pros (the list goes on) a very common pattern started to appear.
Most clients had postural and/or bio-mechanical issues. Some were very obvious, causing chronic pain or stiffness, and some were more subtle, affected only certain movements and had gone unnoticed by the client. It may sound obvious, but if you squat, lunge, run and jump with bad form, it will lead to injury, I guarantee it. It might be tomorrow, or a few months from now, but it's coming. You're no use to anyone sat on the sidelines, and it doesn't feel good!
As a PT I always prioritise my clients' health before all. It's not my job to give the client what they think they need. It's to educate and deliver results. Through the many training courses I have completed and the research I have done, I have found that there is a common link between mobility (strength through range of a joint), injury prevention and sports performance.
Often, people will hire a PT only because they want to up the intensity of their training. However, there's more to it than purely increasing intensity; this can lead to injury or complications in training if you don't address the underlying issues. I understand now why some of my early clients got a bit frustrated: "I came here to take training up a notch. Where's the sprints? Where's the heavy lifting? Where's the HIIT circuits?" People don't want to spend time foam rolling and doing body weight mobility drills when they want a new bench press or back squat PB. I knew what I was doing in the long run, looking to build strong and permanent physical changes, but in order for people to stick with it they had to understand the WHY.
So this led to the "Movement - Strength - Performance" philosophy. It is simple but very effective; understandable to the client and clear in its message.
For example, if you want a new 10km PB:
Movement - Let's look at how you run. Can you see your hip flexors are tight? Knees collapse in? Land with a over-stride? Do you know what that means? Ok, here's how and why we need to fix that.
Strength - Ok, running form is now safe and more energy-efficient, let's build a strong foundation with this new running movement you have. Too much too soon will lead to injuries.
Performance - Now that we're strong through this movement, let's get on this 10k target. Enter Vo2 Max, Energy System and Lactic Tolerance tests, where we will find the chinks in your armour and tailor your training towards achieving your end goal.
The exact same process can be applied to Olympic Lifting, Swimming, Golf, Obstacle Racing, Team Sports etc.The above system will be tailored to the specific movements and physical demands of your sport and goals.
To summarise, #Movement #Strength #Performance is not a training plan, it's a philosophy. It's a clear road map from where you are now to where you want to be. It's effective, adaptable and applicable to everybody.