Most Personal Trainers will throw their clients straight into the Strength part of a programme otherwise known as the Transition phase. Straight off the bat, clients will be smashing out squats, banging out burpees and leaping into lunges. Remind you of anything? (*Cough*) Crossfit?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Crossfit from an exercise prescription point of view.
It’s a relief to see people getting off their backsides from sitting on resistance machines and getting involved in some functional movement for a change.
The problem lies in the assessment protocol. Or lack of it.
Crossfit does a decent job in teaching the basic movements of compound exercises like olympics lifts and overhead squats, which are all excellent exercises with an effective carry-over into everyday life.
But many crossfitters simply have not been assessed thoroughly enough to identify muscular imbalances, movement dysfunction, joint stability and posture distortion before executing advanced weight lifting moves.
From my personal experience in assessing over hundreds of clients I can say at least 75% of my clients have displayed Upper Cross Syndrome.
This means their thoracic curve is greater than 35°, typically coupled with a lack of range of motion around the shoulders identified in the Thoracic Arm Raise test, the First Rib Angle being less than 25° and a Forward Head Posture greater than 3cm.
Armed with this knowledge, I know that I cannot be prescribing overhead presses and heavy pushing exercises to that specific client due to instability and lack of mobility in the upper quarter of the body.
To add to these common measurements, most clients I assess also have torsion in the hips and an anterior pelvic tilt with pelvic angles greater than 7° for men and 10° for women.
For these clients, ab crunches, squat jumps and complex Olympic lifts are out the question or something is going to break!
These are all the standard exercises that make up the group fitness craze.
But it’s OK, because we can post these workouts all over social media, which makes us instantly look like an “expert” in what we’re doing…right?
I’m not bashing Crossfit here. It is prevalent in circuit training and Body Pump too to name a few…
It’s just the guys that teach these classes simply don’t have the time or resources to assess every single person that walks through the door.
It would be impossible.
How do I know this? Because I have taught these classes in the past! It’s the fault of the fitness industry placing more emphasis on collecting money at the door rather than ensuring their members stay healthy and injury-free.
This is why so many people who try Crossfit and similar classes unfortunately have to quit due to injury.
I have personally post-rehabilitated many people who have tried it after picking up shoulder, back and knee injuries.
The reason the CHEK approach is so effective is because the programme design is progressive.
It follows a Core-Strength-Power continuum. You can’t jump straight into strength exercises without completing the core component or Base Conditioning phase, just as much as you cannot fire a canon from a canoe!
You must have the core strength and joint stability before throwing weights around the gym. Strength training provides a foundation that is not only important for performance but also for spinal health.
Considering 85% of the US population suffer from back or neck pain at some point in their lives and back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old, I would say spinal health is a top priority.
Up to this point, Emma’s conditioning programme had been designed to give her the needed working foundation to benefit from strength and power training without increasing her risk of injury during her Half Marathon training.
On a side note, our charity raising campaign for the new Baby ICU at Countess of Chester Hospital was growing from strength to strength…just like Emma!
You don’t even need weights to follow a strength training programme.
As Emma demonstrates below, using her own bodyweight is just as effective! Here is the summary of Emma’s Transition Phase programme.
Forward Ball Roll
Supine Hip Extension with Knee Flexion
Oblique Crunch over Swiss Ball
Swiss Ball Leg Raise
Lower Abdominal – 2b
The Online Programme
Following in the trend of Emma’s last programme, she was confident in using her online program to help her when she worked out on her own.
This was ideal for both of us as time and travelling constraints meant one-to-one sessions on a regular basis were not logistically possible.
That’s the beauty of online coaching!
The online programme also further deepened Emma’s knowledge of each exercise and helped her understand key teaching points, demonstrations of perfect form and the types of exercises she was performing.
So, no more Crossfit then?!
That’s not exactly what I am saying. I believe Crossfit and other group fitness classes certainly have their place within our exercise lives.
I do believe though that everyone who is serious about following this type of intense and challenging training should at least seek a CHEK Practitioner to get assessed and be educated about what type of exercises we should AND shouldn’t be doing. Then you can improvise when it comes to the class sessions.
You can find a CHEK Practitioner in your area by clicking here.
It is evident from Emma’s programme that we don’t necessarily need much equipment or even weights to follow a strength training programme.
That’s why we’ve designed a 12-week bodyweight programme which you can perform at home, in the office or during your travels. It’s a membership site too so you’ll have unlimited access to it…forever!
Click on the big orange button below to find out more: