7 Benefits to having a Strength Coach/Personal Trainer 

It’s educational. Sessions are much more than you just working out. You gain knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and how it benefits your health and fitness. You learn the most important things you need to concentrate on to be most successful and what things are fitness myths that are very irrelevant. Education is going to help you focus on your goals and develop a strategy to get there.

They perfect your form. Don’t think it’s that important? We correct form on nearly every exercise with every client every single day. Keeping clients safe is a huge priority for us which means we pay ridiculous attention to the very small details of every exercise. Stop asking yourself, “Is my deadlift form correct?” We are here to fix it!

LiftAugust241.jpg

They tailor workouts to you. Good coaches work around your experience, skill level, abilities, restrictions, and injuries to give you YOUR perfect program. Many people ask, “Should I exercise with injuries?” The answer is yes. Very rarely is any client perfectly capable...we know that. If you’ve had chronic injuries, pain, or recently had surgery, our coaches design a program to get you better stronger, and hopefully pain free.

They hold you accountable. You know when you tell yourself you’re going to get up early and workout before work it really turns into you hitting your alarm and falling back asleep. When you set an appointment with a coach/trainer you are way more likely to go because they are there expecting you. They will also call your ass out if you’re slacking. We all know accountability works, you just need to take the first step.

Set realistic goals. Many people want to achieve their fitness goals very quickly. If it were that easy no one would struggle to get to their goals. We help you set a solid yet realistic timeline of achieving your goals. We aren’t here to blow smoke, or inflate your ego. We are here to be honest and get you where you want to be.

IMG_9426.jpg

Save time, be efficient. When’s the last time you went to the gym and walked around aimlessly for an hour and a half without getting much done? That doesn’t happen here. We set the pace, guide you through every step of the session, while making it super effective and efficient for you. Science tells us we don’t need to be exercising for hours on end. Short, but intense bottles of exercise will do wonders for our schedule, lives, and fitness goals.

Helps you form great habits. Having a solid coach or trainer can significantly snowball into other good habits in your life. For example, after training you will probably not want to waste that workout so you will consume a fairly healthy meal. Since you eat healthy you’ll probably sleep better, and wake up with more energy to train again. Coaches can also give you insight into things they have done to improve making exercise a habit and ease any worries you may have.

Just like anything else in your life you want to excel in, a coach is always a good idea to ensure you are on the right path to your goals.






REAL STRENGTH SERIES: LET'S RETHINK YOUR CORE TRAINING

Core training may be, simultaneously, one of the most overused and most commonly misunderstood concepts in the fitness world. Whether we are at the gym, taking a yoga class, or simply scrolling through social media, we see countless fitness influencers performing incredibly complex movements and slapping them with labels such as “functional” and “core” training. Some of the most common examples include people throwing themselves to the floor and jumping back up, swinging their legs to pull up over a bar, or twisting ballistically with a free weight. Unfortunately, as sexy as these moves appear, we live in the world of physics and extreme or uncontrolled bending, twisting, extending, and flexing of the lower back is extremely dangerous. These movements do not provide a beneficial training stimulus to the core.

Everyone has his or her own definition of “the core”. For our purposes, “the core” refers to the muscles of the hips, torso, and shoulders. To keep this simple, let’s focus on those coveted six pack muscles (and a few other muscles of the trunk). True core training provides an optimal training stimulus that will improve movement, performance, strength, aesthetics, and prevent injury.

It should be understood that the term resistance training involves resisting (get it?) an external force to strengthen a particular muscle group. The muscles around the lumbar spine and trunk act as stabilizers that prevent extreme ranges of motion. Exercises such as burpees, kipping pull ups, and dynamic twists use momentum that creates excessive extension, bending, and rotation of the lower back. These excessive forces on the lower back can lead to injury and do not recruit the muscles of the trunk. The job of these muscles is to prevent excessive motion of the spine. So, how do we train the core? Enter anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, and anti-rotation training.

ANTI-EXTENSION

These exercises include actively resisting excessive extension of the lumbar spine (think fat belly and arched back).

These exercises primarily train the rectus abdominis (think six pack abs) and external obliques (large muscles on the side of your stomach)

At Lift Chicago, our foundational anti extension exercise is the deadbug.

ANTI-LATERAL FLEXION

These exercises include actively resisting excessive lateral flexion of the lumbar spine (think aggressive side bending)

These exercises primarily train the lateral core (quadratus lumborum and the obliques)

At Lift Chicago, our foundational anti lateral flexion exercise is the side plank.

ANTI ROTATION/ROTARY STABILITY

These exercises include actively resisting excessive twisting of the lumbar spine.

These exercises train much of the core (rectus abdominis and obliques) when performed correctly.

At Lift Chicago, our foundational anti-rotation exercise is the half kneeling anti-rotary hold.

GAIT/INTEGRATED CORE TRAINING

These exercises include developmental movement patterns that are foundational to movement function and injury prevention.

This exercise category works virtually every muscle in the body, improves mobility, and teaches coordination and balance.

At Lift Chicago, our foundational gait pattern begins with the bird-dog exercise.

Now that we’ve discussed the core and its primary role as a stabilizer, be sure to take a closer look the next time you’re watching individuals perform fitness fad exercises. See if you can identify excessive motion in the lumbar spine when they dive onto the floor during burpees, or if they aggressively swing their legs during kipping pull-ups.

At Lift Chicago, we elevate your core training experience with our series of foundational exercises that provide optimal training, improved strength and aesthetics, and prevent injury. There are many examples of exercises in each component of core training that we implement once an individual has mastered the foundational movements. We create an elevated training experiencing by identifying and correcting dysfunctional movement patterns. We then prescribe individualized core exercises that address weaknesses, prevent injury, and follow systematic progressions. We do not follow the latest fad exercises or use cookie cutter programs. Leave the burpees behind and come experience the quality core training your body deserves. Get Lifted!

Feel free to share this post on social or with a friend with the buttons below.

Mike McClain

Director of Group Training, Strength Coach

Lift Chicago









Quick Tips to Maximize Strength

If you have been exercising for quite some time and feel you aren’t getting any stronger try concentrating on a few of these pointers! Maximizing strength is a lot more straight forward than people make it out to be. Let’s take a look at what I am talking about.

IMG_7814.jpg

First, simplify everything! If you want to be strong at deadlifts don’t waste your time doing 4 sets of 20 chest flies and start deadlifting! Too many times people become too fancy with exercise variations and accessory work. It is just like any skill..do that skill over and over again!

Second, master the technique. Granted your technique will vary in some ways from other people because of biomechanic differences, but honing an effective technique will go a long way. This is very important because you will need to be precise when the load becomes heavier in order to complete the lift safely. My rule is to never give up form for weight! The risk isn’t worth the potential injury. NOTE: It can weeks, months, even years to dial in your form and technique. Most coaches and experienced lifters are continuously making adjustments to their lifts in order to keep growing.

Third, violence! Yes, you need to be violent! This doesn’t mean head butting your bro before getting under the bar. You need to think about being aggressive during the lift because no one has ever moved heavy weight by being slow. Think “fast and aggressive” throughout the entire movement, not just at the start!

Last, choose correct maxes. A max is the weight you can do for 1 rep. Disclaimer: you do not ever need to attempt that 1 rep max to become stronger or increase your max.  Many times people will over estimate their max and get buried or injured. I would select a max that is going to be doable even on a “bad day”.  This way you never fail on reps, and you can train at submaximal levels and still become stronger.  You can increase the max slowly as you go (5-10lbs)/ week, but there is never shame in keeping it the same or decreasing. Listen to your body!

-