A notable strength and conditioning coach shared some great words the other on his social media account: “Exercise selection shouldn’t just be about ‘good vs bad;’ it should be a discussion of ‘optimal vs acceptable.’ Eric Cressey. This speaks volumes to where my philosophy sits within the programming world. When I administer a screening test to a client, or whomever is listening, my goal is not to determine what is good or bad for them.
I’m looking to make an assessment on ones usable range of motion and strength capacity. With this information we can create a discussion around what exercises create the best path forward and offer the least amount of risk for their development. I love creating a discussion, even if it means breaking a few hearts or pissing a few folks off, because we learn more about why we’re in this in the first place. My job is to provide one with the optimal suggestion for their goals, taking everything into consideration, as well as highlighting the level of acceptable risk. Optimal exercise selection, while creating understanding on the acceptable levels of risk for other exercise selection.
Some individuals love being told what to do when it comes to a field they’re not experts in, that’s why they hired me in the first place. Others may feel like something is being taken away from them, because they’ve done X for past few months, years etc. In some cases this can create a mindset that is, you can’t do this, so you’re not allowed to do this. I like to think we’re all grown ups, even if I’m 8 going on 32 years of age. We need to be making sound decisions based on the information provided to us. Screening tests are designed to provide all parties with useful information to make informed decisions.
If you like playing with fire, you should prepare yourself for how badly you may get burned. We’ve been burnt on the path to greater strength. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the only way we learn.
An even more notable strength and conditioning coach recently told me, “Analogous to real life, your momentum will slow, then eventually stall, and you will have to figure out how to get going from a dead stop. A valuable skill.” Coach Andy, likely borrowed from someone much wiser than both of us.
Big love, make an informed decision,
Emile Maxwell Connaughton