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Most people don't know how to pick up a heavy box off the ground without straining their back so, why do we think that most people understand the nuances of barbell, kettlebell and, even, dumbbell movements?


And of all the people who you see lifting in gyms around the world, most are self-taught. The vast majority of people lifting are not learning to lift but are self-taught or are tagging along in group classes where there is limited supervision or support.



Sound alarmist? Do the math. There are nearly 40,000 gyms in the US, and nearly 65 million members. Take into consideration that a place like Planet Fitness can have 1,400 outlets and 10 million members, and you could have 5,000 CrossFit type gyms with less than a million members in total.


The point is that in the greater scheme things, of the 65 million gym goers maybe 1.5 million are getting the best instruction in barbells and kettlebells, and some level of personal attention. Out of every 100 people you see in a gym, maybe 3 of them really know what they are doing.


The YouTube and Instagram Fitness Revolution

You kind of know all this yourself. You can see it on social media. All those videos and posts about the right way and wrong way to do stuff. ?or ?, You can't miss them. Some can be woeful and, no one needs to get another lecture on knees over toes in squats.


Unfortunately, that's what we are stuck with for two reasons: getting qualified coaching and training is costly and not within the reach of the vast majority of trainees and anyone can become a trainer which means that there is no quality control in the fitness industry. Another wrinkle is that celebrity is a currency and celebrity trainers on YouTube and Instagram hold sway over very large audiences.


On the positive side, the explosion in fitness content on social media has opened people up to Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, fitness sports, strongman and many other strength practices that would normally be seen as very specialized. You wouldn't see anyone doing a deadlift in a Crunch gym a few years ago.


On the negative side, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, fitness sports, strongman and many other strength practices are all very, very technical.


They require a serious amount of time to be devoted to learning and understanding correct form and safe practices. They're not for everyone either. You can't be a casual strongman or Olympic lifter.


Lifting Heavy Stuff Needs Brains

If you want to learn how to clean and jerk properly, increase your deadlift without increasing your medical insurance, swing a kettlebell, or just figure out the reason why your arms don't go above your shoulders in a dumbbell lateral raise, you need some intellectual curiosity or mindful movement.


A lack of curiosity or interest in learning the mechanics of a lift is a failure, as is a lack of understanding about how your body actually responds and works in any given movement.



For untrained individuals, feelings of mobility restrictions and tightness in the body may be simply because the body isn’t adequately braced, tension isn’t distributed properly, or the body feels imbalanced as the center of mass descends into a squat.

The Secret To Your First Squat Is Feeling Great Doing It


If you truly have ambitions in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting or strongman then find the people who do it properly. These are hard, esoteric sports that are great to look at, and can make you feel very strong quickly, but they are not for everyone.


They are sports. Most of the best coaches don't know what to do with casual practitioners when the main goal of each discipline is to win at competitions.


It's not like you pick a partner and play a game of tennis. Sure, you can judge your own performance over time by looking at how far you push your own records, but that's not the culture.


They are also highly technical sports where, without proper instruction or coaching support, you will probably end up hurting yourself. If you are the one person who learned how to snatch off of YouTube and can hit 100kg, you're the exception and I'd need to see the proof of your progress without external support.


  • The best lifters in the country have coaches.
  • The wealthiest CEOs in the country have coaches.
  • The best coaches in the country have coaches.

7 Steps To Find The Best Coach For You


Fitness sports, like CrossFit, are an incredibly mixed bag of disciplines done at speed. They don't make for easy viewing for traditionalists but they have a following. If that's what you want to do then you better have a coach who is proven in each discipline or a few of them that have expertise in individual aspects.


You think indoor rowing is easy? Maybe it is on the surface, but it is highly technical. Granted, you can do it casually, but if you want to get the most out of it, you need to understand the mechanics of the form and be able to deliver on that knowledge.


I taught myself how to type when I was at college. I placed my fingers one key over than recommended on my left hand but that didn't matter because I practiced enough that I could type out my work really quickly. So, I decided I wanted to see how fast I could type and I tried to relearn touch-typing to improve my speed.


Turned out to be the hardest thing I could do because of what one offset that I adopted by myself. That's typing. You know what that would mean if it was 20 years of squatting with your left foot at an angle that wasn't optimal.


You wake up at 40 and realize that squatting hurts and someone smarter than yourself points out one simple adjustment that could have saved you half a lifetime's pain. We are not always the best judge of ourselves.


This is a post from Coach Daniel Bell. He should make it into a maxim – Drive a hundred miles, 2-4 times a month, if you have to, but make it to that coaching session.


You don’t have to hammer away alone in your garage—at least not all the time. And you’ll get to talk to your coach face to face. If you are ready to level up, email

A post shared by Daniel Bell (@rubbercityweightlifting) on Mar 4, 2020 at 2:01pm PST


All lifts are technical.



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