So You Have 22 Minutes to Train….

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Many commercial gyms (especially the big chains like Boston Sports Club) like to entice their members with simple “programs” such as the XpressLine.

See how they did that? Instead of using the actual word “express,” they just used the letter “X” and it still sounds the same. Only extra retarded.

This trainer-supervised free service allows members of all fitness levels to complete a full-body strength workout in fewer than 22 minutes. Stations include:

Leg Press– I’ve gone on rants in the past on why I’m not a big fan of leg presses (here and here).

Leg Extensionhello knee pain.

Leg Curls– Arguably the most pointless exercise ever. Yes I’m talking to you “guy who’s inevitably going to write a comment saying that leg curls are perfectly fine if you’re trying to isolate the hamstrings. You don’t know what you’re talking about Tony. Leg curls are awesome. I can totally curl the entire stack and chicks want to hang out with me afterwards. You suck.”

I suck? I suck? Well, I’ll have you know that as of this past weekend, I’ve watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy 14 times without pausing to go to the bathroom even once.

Chicks want to hang out with me too mister! Matter of fact, I talk to them all the time online at I’m even thinking about turning my basement into a replica of The Shire so my cyber girlfriend can move in with me. *Runs upstairs to ask mom*

Military Press/Chest Press/Lat Pulldown– Considering the fact that most trainees have atrocious posture and all these movements promote internal rotation of the glenohumeral joint, I’d say that there are better options. At the very least we can substitute a few of these with some additional horizontal pulling or core stability work.

Arm Curls/Tricep Extension– You know, cause performing arm curls will undoubtedly work wonders with helping people lose those extra 30 lbs of fat they’re lugging around.

The point I’m trying to make is that if places like BSC are going to have their trainers supervise these sessions either way, why not have them do something useful with the members? Show them some dynamic flexibility drills. Show them how to foam roll and how it can help improve tissue quality (which most people need anyways). Set up some simple circuits where they actually learn how to squat, lunge, perform a proper push-up, work on core stability, etc. A great example would be this:

A1. Goblet Squat: All you need is a dumbbell and possibly a low box (for those who aren’t able to get to proper depth). I utilize the goblet squat quite often with beginners and is a great way to introduce squatting to that population. There is very little spinal loading and tends to be much more comfortable for newbies to perform. As they get stronger and more proficient, you can progress them to “regular” squatting variations.

A2. Elevated Push-Ups– if they can’t perform a proper push-up from the floor, place them in a position where they can. Using a bench would be perfect in this case.

A3. Reverse Lunge– Reverse lunges tend to be a little easier on the knees compared to walking lunges and place a little more emphasis on the posterior chain (hamstrings and glutes), which most people drastically need.

A4. Prone Plank- I hate crunches. I love planks, but they can also bore people to tears. Rather than focusing on increasing time, I’d keep my time limit to 30 seconds but look to alternative ways to make them more challenging.

A5. 2-Point DB Row– Mike Robertson demonstrates the 2-point row in this article. Essentially you’re going to perform a standard single arm dumbbell row, but instead of one hand, one knee, and one foot as your “points of contact,” you’re just going to stand on two feet while maintaining a neutral spine and perform the same exercise. As Mike notes in the article above, the most important facet of this exercise is to not allow rotation while raising or lowering the dumbbell.

All you would need to set up the above circuit are a few dumbbells, a bench, and some floor mats. I can guarantee members would get more out of those 22 minutes than they would performing the XPressLine. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the premise is the fact that it’s easy and convenient. However, easy and convenient doesn’t necessarily mean results. People need to learn to step out of their comfort zones. Not to mention most trainers need to practice their interpersonal skills and coaching techniques anyways.

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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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