9 Random Thoughts Regarding Training by Dave Coffin

  1. Experience is the best teacher.  Academic preparation is important however real world experience trumps it in terms of actually learning what works from a coaching perspective.
  2. Long rest periods are necessary.  Remember, we are training to get better not tired.
  3. In related news, not everything has to be a conditioning stimulus.
  4. Some exercises are more worthwhile investments than others.  Most people are training with time constraints.  Spend your training time wisely.
  5. If something hurts, don’t do it.
  6. Training sessions should be viewed as small pieces of a larger picture.
  7. Nobody has their best day every day.  Consistent effort applied over a long period of time is the recipe for training success.
  8. Kettlebells are great tools as are barbells, suspension training apparatuses (i.e. TRX, blast straps, etc), sleds and dumbbells.  Each tool has a place in a training program.  However, being married to one versus the other or making blanket statements such as, “All you need is kettlebells or blah blah blah” is short sighted and silly.  I cannot recall the last time I heard a carpenter say, “The only tool I need to build your house is a hammer”.
  9. There are no magical diets or training programs.

 

Ten More Random Thoughts

  1. Strength training should be progressive.  It should be based on quality over quantity.  The goal should not be to cram as many reps, rounds or whatever as possible into ten or twelve minutes.  I’m just saying.

 

  1. In general, the methods used for cardiovascular conditioning should have a relatively low learning curve.  Think sled pushing/dragging, bike sprints, and bodyweight calisthenics NOT Olympic lifts.

 

  1. For regular people trying to get (and stay) lean and muscular, please google Dr. John Berardi’s 7 Rules of Good Nutrition.  It is pretty simple.

 

  1. While it is true that there is no perfect program for everybody, it is true that some programs are closer to perfect than others.

 

  1. Do not treat clients like patients.  You can always train around injuries.

 

  1. Training is a process and should be viewed as such. 

 

  1. Contrary to what some will have you think, not everybody is ready to do the same exact program with different external loads.  Sometimes it’s just not that simple.  See number 6.

 

  1. Someone else said it first but it certainly bears repeating, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”  Fact.

 

  1. Before focusing on recovery, there needs to be some training to recover from.

 

  1. For those parents who are nervous about their kids strength training, please google  Dr. Avery Faigenbaum.  He has published tons of peer reviewed research on youth strength training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weight Room’s Open House

When:  Thursday, October 20th from 5pm to 8pm

Where:  The Weight Room (90 Oak Street, Newton, MA  02464)

Come down and celebrate our grand opening.  We are going to have contests and chances to win prizes such as FREE training sessions, t-shirts and more.

More Random Thoughts on Training, Life and the Lessons Learned from Both

1.   A simple training plan done consistently is best.

2.   Forming emotional attachments to “magical” pieces of equipment (think kettlebells and TRX) is a great way to remain small and weak.  Believe it or not, it is actually ok to have more than one tool in your tool box.

3.  Young athletes should spend their time in The Weight Room (pun intended) getting stronger.

4.  If you want to lose a significant amount of body fat, stop eating garbage.  You WILL NOT out train a crappy diet.

5.  The body is comprised of joints.  Joints are meant to move.  Some more than others.  I am just saying.

6.  When in doubt, eat protein.

7.  If you do not use a range of motion for a while, your body has a funny (or not so funny) way of removing it from your proprioceptive map.  This is typically the reason why all 2 year olds can perform a full squat and most 32 year olds can not.

8.  Attitude is a part of training.  A huge part.

9.  It is best not to talk about things that you have no clue about.  Nobody is an expert on everything.  That is called being a jack of all trades and master of none and it sounds pretty lame to me.

10.  Atmosphere matters.

11.  My mom used to tell me when I was younger (and dumber), that you can be “guilty by association” if you hang around with stupid kids making stupid choices.  She was right.  I found out later on in my life that it can work the other way too.  If you hang around with strong, successful people, you have a better chance of being strong and successful.  True story.

12.  Usually when someone tells you that an exercise is bad because of this or that, chances are they probably suck at it.  Don’t contraindicate exercises, contraindicate people from exercises based on evaluation.

13.  A day in the life of a gym goer could look something like this: 

          1.  Warm up – This is the part where you are actually moving and getting warm.

          2.  Lifting – This is the part where you “pick things up and put them down” (thanks Planet Fatness).

          3.  Conditioning – This is the part where you are breathing heavy.

          4.  Cool Down – This is the part where you could be stretching and wondering why pushing Prowlers sucks so much.

The Weight Room’s 2-Day Training Template

Introduction

This is the general template I have used with clients who train 2x/week.  It works well and clients can get great results from this set up.  Each day is set up basically the same with Day 1 dedicated to the squat and bench press and Day 2 dedicated to the deadlift and standing press.  For both days, the squat and deadlift as well as the bench press and standing press are the strength work, typically done anywhere for sets of 3-6 reps depending on the client.  The upper body pulls that are paired with the bench press and standing press should also be done with relatively heavy weight for sets of 6 or so.

You will notice that each day also contains a circuit of assistance exercises.  This is a great way to get additional work in.  Please understand that these are not conditioning circuits.  Clients use the heaviest weight possible for the designated number of reps, which is usually sets of 10-12.  It is performed in a circuit format due primarily to time constraints, however there are rest periods between each circuit to ensure clients are able to maintain sound technique.

The conditioning is typically sled work (dragging or pushing), Airdyne Bike (intervals or distance for time), or Versa Climber (intervals or distance for time).  I use these implements because I find them to have a pretty low learning curve which enables clients to get a great training effect without too much focus on technique.

Lets get to some training.

Day1

Warm Up Circuit

This circuit usually consists of direct work for the core (sorry, that word is just too lame and overused) midsection as well as preventitive maintenance type work.

A1 Squat Variation

B1 Bench Press

B2 Pull Ups or Chin Ups

C1 Single Leg Variation

C2 Standing Press Variation

C3 Row Variation

Conditioning

Day 2

Warm Up Circuit

This would be the same set up as Day 1 but not necassarily the same exercise.  It would depend on the training age of the client.

A1 Deadlift Variation

B1 Standing Press

B2 Row Variation

C1 Posterior Chain Variation

C2 Horizontal Pressing Variation

C3 Vertical Pulling Variation

Conditioning

Conclusion

This template is by no means magic.  However, I do think it is pretty solid and it has certainly served my clients well.  It is a great option for most people who want to be strong and fit but only have limited time in which to make it happen.  The template is flexible enough to tweek for individual clients with different needs (both orthopedic and otherwise).  If there are any specific questions regarding this template, fire an email at me and hopefully I can help.

Updates from The Weight Room

The blog posts have been few and far between in the last few weeks.  The reason for this is not because I am being a complete slacker.  The Weight Room has moved to a new (and significantly improved) location.  We have more space, more coaches and more training options to suit every individuals training goals and budget.  From fighters and wrestlers to soccer moms and weekend warriors, we welcome everyone and anyone who wants to train hard and work towards getting stronger and fitter.

The address of the new location is 90 Oak Street in Newton, MA.  A few things to keep in mind:

1.  The Weight Room will be starting the Built for Battle Conditioning Class Monday, October 3rd at 5:30pm.  The class will be a combination of strength training and intense cardiovascular circuits and will be taught by veteran strength and conditioning coach, John Sullivan.

2.  The Weight Room will be having a grand opening open house Thursday, October 20th from 6pm to 8pm.  This will be a great opportunity to come down, meet our coaches, and win some great prizes including FREE training, The Weight Room t-shirts and much more.

3.  The Weight Room is currently offering 20% off any new clients first month of training.

Stay tuned for more updates and news from The Weight Room.

Check out our website at www.theweightroomma.com

Best,

Dave Coffin

Face Life with a Vengeance

Life is a whirlwind.  The whole experience can be exhausting.  It can sometimes be challenging to know exactly what the right choice is in a given situation.  Over analyzing can be paralyzing.  Think…but don’t let it lead to indecision.  I heard someone say once that “more is lost from indecision than wrong decision”.  I agree.  From my own experience, the first instinct is usually the correct one.  Go with your gut.  Life is not dictated by what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you.  Don’t tolerate stupidity.  If people around you are dragging you down, get rid of them.  It is easy for people to offer advice and opinions when they are standing in their shoes and not yours.  Follow your heart.  Make the most out of every situation.  Set goals, achieve them, and then set more goals.  When life gets in your way, put your head down and run through it.  “FACE LIFE WITH A VENGEANCE!!!”  (dulong).        

 

Five Thoughts on Running my Own Business

 

  1. Everything takes at least three times as long as you think it is going to. It does not matter if it is finding the right space, getting insurance, or getting a website done.  If your gut tells you, “this should only take a few weeks”, plan on 2-3 months.
  2. Nobody cares as much as you do.
  3.  Surround yourself with like minded individuals who are on board with what you are trying to do. 
  4. Be open for advice, but if you have been successful and have a steady, loyal cliental that continues to grow, don’t let anybody tell you that you are doing things the wrong way. 
  5. In addition, be weary of taking advice from those individuals who have never made a living training people.  Experience is the best teacher and if you have no experience, in my opinion, you have no say.

Strength Training – The Facts and the Frauds

1.  Don’t be paralyzed by information.  There comes a point when you should close the book and turn off the computer and actually train. 

2.  There is nothing worse than the “I used to ….” lifter.  They like to talk about how much they bench pressed, squatted, or whatever years ago and why they cannot do it now.  Its kind of lame.  I’m just saying.

 3.  It is easy to make a mountain out of an ant hill when it comes to training.  Don’t major in the minors.  Train hard but train smart.

 4.  A few things that most people could use more of are ankle mobility, thoracic mobility and guts.  Just an observation.

 5.  Excuse me, athletes and coaches?  It is ok to use exercises that are not mirror images of your actual sports.  Get strong in the weight room.  It is physical preparation for the sport, not the sport itself.

 6.  If someone can safely squat to parallel or below and does not in order to stroke their ego with more plates, they are doing themselves a huge disservice.  If coaches have their athletes do this…well…shame on them.

 7.  In the same way that I am not qualified to practice law or teach a math class, Joe Gym Goer is not qualified to call himself a strength and conditioning coach.  Have I taken a few math classes in my life?  Yes.  Am I an expert?  Hell no.  There is equal parts science and art when it comes to designing a program.  The more challenging aspect of the whole thing is actually being able to coach the lifts.  These are skills that take years to master.

8.   If you are no longer an athlete, yet you still want to be strong and in shape, here is a simple template. 

  1. Lift weights a few times per week.  You will get stronger and more muscular, which is better than being fat and weak.
  2. Breathe hard a few times per week.  You will improve your cardiovascular conditioning, which in turn will prevent from getting winded when walking up a flight of stairs or chasing your kids around.
  3. Stretch more than a few times per week.  You will actually be able to move through full ranges of motion which helps when trying to tie your shoes.
  4. Eat protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits.  You will improve your body composition, decrease your risk of diabetes, and could probably even avoid that inevitable carbohydrate coma.

 

Why Do I Train?

Why Do I Train?

  1.  I train because swimming in a pool of mediocrity is not appealing to me. 
  2.  I train because I will not be the father of two boys who is too busy to take care of himself.  The apples won’t fall far off of the tree.  After all, if they see their primary male role model making excuses why he cannot dedicate a few hours per week to better himself, why the hell would they go the extra mile in academics, sports or their career when there is a million excuses to take the easy, comfortable way out?
  3.  I train because I look forward to chasing my kids and their kids around when other guys my age are huffing and puffing, complaining about how everything hurts and how “it’s just part of getting old.”
  4.  I train because exercising is what normal people do.
  5.  I train because there is nothing funny about being weak and lame.
  6.  I train because I am a strength and conditioning coach.  Practice what you preach.
  7.  I train because I want to make sure my lower body will never ever fit into those skinny girl jeans that all of the little boys like to wear these days.
  8.  I train because it makes the rest of my life that much easier.

 

 

 

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