In the first draft of this blog post, it was titled “How to be a Great Core Blender”. I decided to ditch that though because it implied that some of you weren’t great members, or that there was something wrong with not taking full advantage of our services. We’re here for you, regardless of how much time you want to spend here. If you never want to learn the role of the lat in stabilizing your spine, that’s fine. You absolutely don’t need to have that information to live a happy life.
However, if you would like to get the most out of your experience as a member, I have a few tips for you. The first one, which probably isn’t a surprise if you read the title, is to ask more questions.
Ask more from your trainers. From little things like “Why are we doing this exercise?” to “How can I get more from my nutrition?”. The trainers we have on staff are PHENOMENAL. They are incredibly knowledgable and have a lot more information they could be throwing at you, they’re just not because most people either aren’t ready for an overload of facts about exercises. There aren’t any bad questions to ask, but I’ll go over a few different types of questions you could ask that would improve your experience and why.
“Why are we doing THIS exercise?”
This is a wonderful question. Your trainer should be able to answer why an exercise was selected over other exercises, what the goal of it is, where you should feel the exercise, etc. For example, “Coach, why are we doing a Sumo RDL?” should get a response like “We chose the Sumo RDL because we want to improve your posterior chain strength but want to present it with a different challenge than you’re used to facing. The wider stance is going to allow you to feel your hamstrings and glutes engage differently than you’re accustomed to. We’re using a Barbell for the movement because we’re super setting it with a Lateral Raise and a lot of the DB’s are going to be taken up by the shoulder exercise.” An unacceptable answer would be “I don’t know. Just do it.” If you ever get THAT as an answer, then you need to let me know because that person doesn’t deserve to teach you, or to work at Core Blend.
One quasi exception to this rule would be an answer of “I don’t know, but it works so we’re doing it”. That doesn’t sound like a great answer, but let me rephrase it in a way that sounds better. “I don’t know the mechanisms of why it’s so effective, but I’ve personally done it for a while and so have my clients and we’ve really felt like it was effective”. That’s a much nerdier way of saying the same thing and I won’t get mad at our trainers for not being nerds.
“Where should I be feeling this exercise?”
This is a wonderful question because it not only helps you to have better technique on an exercise, but it improves your knowledge of why we’re doing a particular exercise. This is hugely beneficial and any of our trainers will be able to answer this exercise.
“Do you have any tips to improve on this exercise?”
I’ll answer this right now. YES. Your class instructors know a ton about the big movements, especially the compound movements. Now it’s entirely possible that after a few tips, you’ve exhausted the advice they’re going to have on a bicep curl, but you could talk to Cason or Morgan for an hour about deadlift technique if you so desired. Your high school math teacher is likely capable of teaching college level Calculus to you. They’re not though, they’re just teaching HS Algebra because that’s what you’re ready for. If that doesn’t apply to you, and you want some more advanced cues, just ask for them. I teach the deadlift in 3 steps to beginners. I teach it in 5 steps to advanced people, With the super advanced I’ll teach it in a TON of steps. We’ll cover grip, breathing, lat engagement, head position, stance, foot pressure, sequence of muscle firing, dead stop vs touch and go for their goals, straps, overloading techniques for sticking points, weak point training, etc.. Our members just learning how to deadlift and working towards their first body weight deadlift don’t need all of that.
“Do you have a modification for me? This exercise bothers me.”
Yes. They do. If you let them know exactly how it’s bothering you, they can pick a better exercise for you and your goals. The reason we hire expert trainers is so that they can make these modifications. This is the primary reason they’re there. Otherwise I’d just film an hour long class and play it all day long for whoever wanted to come in. The reason we have spent (I don’t want to calculate it) money on equipment is so that they have the tools to modify. Dumbbells, sleds, kettle bells, 18 types of specialty barbells, machines, belt squats, bands, TRX Straps, etc. all exist so that we can modify away from the movement that bothers you. That’s a huge part of what separates Core Blend from other places.
“Do you have any tips on sleep, nutrition, stuff to do on my off days, etc.?”
Of course they do! You might get an answer like, that’s outside of my scope and I’d recommend you ask someone else, but they will also give you the best possible answer. Another way to phrase it to help keep them out of trouble is “well what do you do?”.
I hope these are helpful and that they empower YOU to start getting more out of your gym experience. Our trainers love answering these questions because it’s an awesome opportunity for them to show how knowledgable they are. Give Morgan a chance to talk to you about rowing technique and let her show why she’s the American Record Holder in two different events on that machine. Ask Cason about how to Deadlift so that he can use some of the tips that got him to deadlifting over 600 pounds. Let our trainers demonstrate what makes Core Blend different.