The Dubious D Word of the Fitness Industry

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Here’s a hint:

It’s not dorsiflexion, diastasis, disc herniation, or density set.

And it’s also not deload, DOMS, or dorsal talonavicular ligament. <– say that three times fast.

Nope, the most dubious “D” word I’m referring to and the word I wish more fitness professionals would use LESS is…


Stop It. Stop It Right Now

It’s a common tactic for fitness professionals, especially during an initial session or assessment, to go out of their way to demonstrate just how dysfunctional someone is.

“Okay, so, after everything we’ve gone through and discussed it seems you have an internally rotated right shoulder, a bit of anterior pelvic tilt, upper back kyphosis, you lack thoracic rotation on your left side, you need to clip your toenails, and one eye is lower than the other.

We’ve got some work to do to fix everything.”

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve been perfect my entire career and that I never did the same thing.

I did.

And while hindsight is 20/20…I can’t even begin to imagine how much business I lost because I felt it a good idea to showcase to potential clients how much of a walking ball of fail they were on Day #1.

To that end, I do believe there’s a natural growth or maturation (that only comes with experience) of any fitness professional where you begin to understand and appreciate this train of thought.

Of course it’s our job to “audit” movement and to ascertain, to the best of our ability, what will set people up for the most success possible given their goals, injury history, and ability level(s).

But I adamantly feel that one of the worst things you can do as a fitness professional is to highlight dysfunction and to make people feel broken out of the gate.

Take scapular winging for example, where the shoulder blade lacks congruency with the ribcage (I.e., it peels off the rib cage).

Is it actually a dysfunctional thing?

Now, admittedly, the picture above is a little a lot fucked up.

This is TRUE scapular winging, an actual medical diagnosis where the long thoracic nerve is not doing its job innervating the Serratus Anterior.

No amount of Prone Trap Raises or Forearm Wall Slides is going to fix that dumpster fire. It’s going to entail meticulous manual therapy and someone with a keener sense of neurological wizardry to fix it.

However, many people walk around thinking they have “scapular winging” (HINT: pretty much everyone has it to some degree) and that they’re doomed to a laundry list of corrective exercise purgatory.

I have news for you.

Most people’s long thoracic nerve works just fine and most people are NOT in a state of dysfunction.

In fact you can fix scapular winging pretty quickly by adding LOAD and by getting people to TRAIN.

Load helps nudge people into better positioning and training just helps people not want to jump in front of a bus (trust me: corrective exercise purgatory is no fun for anyone).

There are a litany of ways to accomplish this.

In this short video, I outline some of my thoughts and manage to not swear the entire time.


This is a short clip from mine and Dean Somerset’s new series Even More Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint, a brand new product with entirely new content from the version 1 workshop, which is on sale until Sunday for $70 off the regular price, and digs into individualization concepts like this, plus so much more to help you get the best possible plan of action for your clients in order to get them results in the fastest, easiest and safest manner possible.



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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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