Form Phobia

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If there is one thing that will totally discredit a personal trainer in my eyes, it’s lack of reinforcing proper form. I don’t care how long you have been training people, or how many letters you have next to your name. If you stand there and your client is performing an exercise with atrocious form and you do nothing to fix it, you just lost all credibility, and you enter “you suck” territory.

FYI: the picture below is a perfect example of someone sucking. Well, not so much her (the picture is of Krista of, and she’s purposely showcasing bad form as part of an article on deadlifting properly). For the sake of this blog, imagine a personal trainer standing next to Krista. Now imagine how much that trainer sucks.

Case in point, I was training at another facility not too long ago, and out of habit I observed the trainers there. I saw one of the “master” trainers having his client perform Romanian Deadlifts. In a nutshell, the client looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame. Knee’s shooting forward, no hip extension, and a completely rounded back (just like the picture above). Even worse, the trainer just stood there watching, counting reps as if everything was as it should be. Matter of fact, the client finished his set, and the trainer said, “good…perfect.”

I thought to myself two things:

1. “Wow, if that is what he considers “perfect,” I’d love to see what he considers “bad” form.”

2. “I didn’t realize the Helen Keller School for the Blind was giving out master trainer certifications!” Zing. See what I just did there? I’m like a word play ninja.

It’s frustrating to be in a field where mediocrity is rampant. Worse yet, the consumer often has no clue. Half the time I want to keep my mouth shut. Who am I to judge other trainers? However, the other half feels an obligation to call these trainers out. Our number one job as strength coaches and personal trainers is to keep people healthy. A huge part of that is making sure that clients are performing movements correctly. We must not forget this……EVER. Why do so many miss the boat in this regard?

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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