When it comes to medicine…do you think you are smarter than your doctor?

Then why after almost as many years of study as doctors do people think they are smarter and know more about strength and conditioning than their strength and conditioning coaches?

As usual I am going to update my blog over the afternoon/evening….not just because I want to annoy people but just because I can.

I want to give you my opinions on the title of this post as it is something that has been discussed a lot in the gym and in my to’ing and fro’ing around various fitness establishments around town.

I’m also going to outline and detail what I think worked well and not so well with Johnny’s last training cycle and give you his next one.

I need to make some decisions on HH’s program and ‘air’ some of my thoughts about it.

On a positive side…I found out today that at least one person took my advice and bought Lyle McDonald’s The Protein Book…it made me smile a little when I found out that they purchased it directly from Lyle’s store so as to screw me out of my commission and because they knew that it would deny me some small joy and satisfaction at shafting a friend out of money. Well done…it is people like you that will make this blog the massive financial success that I hoped it would be from the outset.

Warning: Rant of sorts to follow.
We’ve been talking a lot in the last few days about coaching and approaches to coaching. This includes the preparation and development of athletes for whatever competition in which they take part. Now sport is very similar to the fitness industry in this regard. There is a very good reason that you look around gyms and see clients and trainees that have looked exactly the same for the entire time they have been training there…this isn’t an opinion…it’s just a reality…and you see the exact same thing in sport. There are teams that perform and finish the same place in the table every year because they do the same thing every season and yet expect a completely different result at the end of it. This happens from the very top of professional sport right down to amateur level.

Ask yourself why you get an accountant to do your taxes? Surely you can use a calculator? All the tax laws and regulations are available on-line? Ask yourself why you get a lawyer to represent you in court? You have the power of speech and you can walk into a library access to all the relevant statutes and laws? Yet everyone thinks they know all about fitness and training and can do it all themselves. They get programs from friends or from magazines…like those people who take advice from friends on DIY and from magazines on how to build a gazebo at home….and how exactly does that turn out? I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to an opinion…they are…but sometimes you have to put your ego aside and get some ‘professional’ advice. Also when and if you do this…you should think about listening to it…you might be surprised how things turn out for you.

Johnny’s next 4 week training cycle:
Session 1
Rower (10 by 250m/30sec)
1A Neutral Grip Pull Ups – 10 sets of 3 reps
1B Push Ups (elevated) – 10 sets of 10 reps
DB Rows – 3 sets of 15 reps
Roll Outs – 3 sets of 8 reps
DB RDL’s – 5 sets of 8 reps
Roll Outs – 3 sets of 8 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions – 5 sets of 8 reps
Cardio – 10km/Level 10

Session 2
Rower (10 by 250m/60sec)
DB Floor Press – 5 sets of 12 reps
1A Blast Strap Inverted Rows – 5 sets of 10 reps
1B Blast Strap – Push Ups – 5 sets of 10 reps
DB Windmills (each side) – 3 sets of 8 reps
Chest Supported Rows – 5 sets of 15 reps
DB Windmills (each side) – 3 sets of 8 reps
Ezy Bar Bicep Curls – 5 sets of 8 reps
Cardio – 10 30/30 intervals & 5km/Level 5

Session 3
Rower (10 by 150m/30sec)
1A Pendlay Rows – 5 sets of 12 reps
1B T-Push Ups – 5 sets of 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 15 reps
Hanging Leg Raises – 3 sets of 8 reps
Rack Pulls – 5 sets of 8 reps
Hanging Leg Raises – 3 sets of 8 reps
Cardio – 10km/Level 10

Session 4
Rower (10 by 150m/60sec)
Partial Bench Press (Foam Roller) – 5 sets of 12 reps
1A Blast Strap Inverted Rows – 5 sets of 10 reps
1B Blast Strap – Push Ups – 5 sets of 10 reps
Torque Press – 4 sets of 8 reps
Natural Reverse Hyper (Bands) – 5 sets of 8 reps
Torque Press – 4 sets of 8 reps
Cardio – 10 30/30 intervals & 5km/Level 5

Now…on Wednesdays he is also going to have a conditioning day…I’m not going to list that here for two reasons…1. Because if I do…Johnny might not show up. 2. Because I will decide what he is going to do on the day.

Questions?

I know I have some.

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12 thoughts on “When it comes to medicine…do you think you are smarter than your doctor?

  1. That must of been me mate – I mentioned you in the comments though as why i bought the book. Apologies on the financial loss

  2. That’s OK…Lyle needs the money more than I do…have you seen how skinny he is….he looks like he hasn’t had a good feed in years.
    p.s: I’ll add the cost of the commission to your training fees for this month so no harm done.

  3. you’ve mentioned repeatedly that we should all listen to the professionals and find a coach. But what would you suggest for those of us who do not have the money for professional guidance? Are there some resources or books you recommend above others?

  4. you’ve mentioned repeatedly that we should all listen to the professionals and find a coach.

    Look…I’m not a writer…and I know that I’m not very good at expressing myself…I didn’t start this blog with a plan…I’m not doing it to be professional or as a business and I think people can tell…I did it because I get accused all the time of having opinions but not offering solutions. The reason for that is not because I don’t have them it’s because I’m just not very good at getting my thoughts across.

    I got an email today from a colleague who offered the opinion that this blog was making me look bad but I made the point that is because I am…it is a long way from perfect but I’m just trying to be straight and honest and I know that is going to get me in the shit but so be it.

    I’m not saying that everyone should stop what they are doing and race out and get a coach or a trainer…because just like with the example I made in this post…some are great and some are crap.

    I’d like to maybe help athletes and people involved in training think critically about what they are doing and why they are doing it and to let them see what athletes are doing and to try and give people a look at what I do and think for what it is worth.

    By all means listen to and take advice from friends and family…but think critically about it…my general rule of thumb is that if someone can’t explain to you why and how they do what they do then they are usually full of it…so ask questions…if you don’t get satisfactory answers…then that is good to know in of itself. Be critical and keep it simple…everyone wants to know the secret…well it won’t come as a surprise to most…there isn’t one…do the basics first and stick with what your comfortable with.

    But what would you suggest for those of us who do not have the money for professional guidance?

    Where are you from Alex? Most people don’t need professional advice…most people need guidance…to be pointed in the right direction…most people don’t actually take advice very well but that is a whole other issue.
    I don’t know many coaches that don’t like to talk about training…seek some out…you might be surprised how much help you get.

    Are there some resources or books you recommend above others?

    I’ve actually not come across that many…I’ve lots of great books apparently…why do I think they’re apparently great I hear you ask? Well because that’s what people keep telling me…because I haven’t read them.

    I think there are some really basic principle of training…basic training guidelines that in ‘most’ cases result in positive effects…maybe I’ll write a book….more likely though I will get around to just writing them here…I don’t think what I do is that complex and a lot of it is really straight forward…very little of what I do came from books I read…maybe they came from books that other coaches read…I don’t have a training philosophy and I don’t say that I’ve been heavily influenced by Eastern or Western styles of training…I’ve been influenced by what I’ve seen work.

    I will have to put together a book list I suppose…I really don’t know where I’d start though.

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, and whilst I understand what you’re trying to say, I think you’re mis-diagnosing the problem.

    The health and fitness industry is more often than not more concerned with ‘industry’ than ‘fitness’. Particularly in regards to supplements, expensive training equipment and, dare I say it, fitness experts.

    Going to an ‘expert’ in this field for advice can be a real hit-and-miss affair.

    If I was to follow the advice dished out by many fitness industry professionals I’d have a $10 grand home gym set-up a $1500 a month supplement habit and have multiple personal trainers each devoted to different aspects of my ‘fitness’ (once again costing serious dollars).

    OR I could TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for my own fitness and health, do the research, and take my chances.

    “When it comes to medicine do you think you’re smarter than your doctor?”

    Depends what my doctor suggests. Just because someone is a ‘professional’ is hardly a good enough reason to blindly do what he says.

  6. I just read a post (to alex) which must’ve popped up whilst I was writing my comment. You dealt with most of my concerns answering that post.

    And btw, you ARE doing a great job blogging. Saying what you honestly think, despite the potential for misinterpretation, is a good policy

    keep at it.

    cheers

  7. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it.

    I’m glad.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, and whilst I understand what you’re trying to say, I think you’re mis-diagnosing the problem.

    Firstly…whether you are trying or not…this is definitely a good place to be argumentative.

    With regard to me ‘miss-diagnosing the problem’…I’d say you are more than likely absolutely spot on here.

    The health and fitness industry is more often than not more concerned with ‘industry’ than ‘fitness’. Particularly in regards to supplements, expensive training equipment and, dare I say it, fitness experts.

    I am with you 100% here…I was working as a gym manager as far back as the early 90’s…my day was consumed with ways of finding people to join and not train…that was always my goal back then.

    Going to an ‘expert’ in this field for advice can be a real hit-and-miss affair.

    Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more…as I said it is like any profession…you get good and bad and everything in between…I suppose all I can say is that you need to be a discerning consumer.

    If I was to follow the advice dished out by many fitness industry professionals I’d have a $10 grand home gym set-up a $1500 a month supplement habit and have multiple personal trainers each devoted to different aspects of my ‘fitness’ (once again costing serious dollars).

    Wouldn’t that be brilliant though…I mean seriously…how cool would that be…such is the life of a professional athlete in the NFL/NBA/MBL I suppose.

    OR I could TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for my own fitness and health, do the research, and take my chances.

    “When it comes to medicine do you think you’re smarter than your doctor?”

    Depends what my doctor suggests. Just because someone is a ‘professional’ is hardly a good enough reason to blindly do what he says.

    As with above…I agree completely…you can ask my doctor who I fight with endlessly. As a questioning and sceptical approach is a good one…so long as when the truth is staring you in the face you can recognise it.

  8. Blast strap push ups are quite difficult but were extremely beneficial for me in rehabbing my right shoulder after its second surgery. Scapular stability/strength or whatever you want to call it they work great. The inverted rows are quite tough too.

  9. Michael,
    You sound like an incredibly intelligent, tall and good looking young man. Your insights into blast strap push ups and rows are remarkable with regard to their benefits to scapular stability, strength and control. Who ever you spoke to regarding your rehabilitation and programming following your injury and surgery is quite obviously a genius rarely found these days…you are incredibly lucky to know such a person.

  10. Hi Will,

    Reviewing Johnny’s next 4 week training cycle the things that stick out for me are…

    low volume vertical pull (neutral grip pull in session 1)

    low volume vertical push (no strict vertical pushing but you’ve got incline DB oress in session 3)

    high volume of both horizontal push and pull…more push volume than pull

    low volume quad dominant…actually no volume…or have I missed something glaringly obvious? 🙂

    low volume hip dominant…just the DB RDL’s and rack pulls

    I’m not really asking any questions :)…just observing…high volume of upper body work against low volume lower body.

    As an aside, I think the reason I’m not asking anything specific is because I tend to ask questions about little things like…why 5 x 15 of this, or why this exercise in particular, or why pair these two exercises and do straight sets of these…and I’m wary of being seen to be not looking at the bigger picture. So without asking you to go through the program line by line, what is the main train of thought…the big picture if you will.

  11. Ian,
    I’ll say the same thing to you that I’ll say to anyone reading this…ask whatever you want to ask…ask any questions you want an answers to. I’m just about to head back to the gym so I will answer all these questions along with any others you might have when I get home from work this evening.

  12. Hi Will,

    More observations…

    I recall…because I reviewed previous posts…Johnny is recovering from knee surgery, so that explains the low volume of lower body work and the choice of RDL and rack pull.

    You’ve no prescribed direct shoulder work for 10 years…hence no direct vertical pushing…but the various oushes and pulls take care of that…and the incline and elavated stuff puts a little more emphasis on the anterior delts.

    The blast strap stuff targetting scap stability I guess?

    The thing that really strikes me is the shear volume of work…5 sets of 10, 12 or 15 reps…and I still can’t tell what kind of loads you would prescribe for each set relative to 1RM. Johnny is a chunky guy…already carrying some bulk.

    I need to collate all the posts about Johnny and file it better so that it’ll be easier to keep track of where he’s been and where you’re taking him.

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