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Should We Lift Weights Anymore?

Fitness is an extremely cyclical industry. Stick around long enough and you will see trends come full circle. Sometimes it is because we have a better understanding than we had before of a concept, others it is the nature of an industry where a professional usually doesn’t last more than 3 years. With turn over like that, it is easy to see mistakes we have made in the past come back to be the forefront of what is popular today. 

A great example is the landscape we see forming today. We are getting back to a time where so much energy and time is being devoted to mobility, stability, and recovery. At first glance, such ideas aren’t bad ones, but like all things it is the context in which we seem them come back. 

Why are these topics becoming so “in” right now? Partly we came off of period where we rejected many of these concepts the first time. It was all about “lifting heavy” and forget all that silly mobility and stability training. The real key was just getting freaking strong, or so many thought. 

I can speak about these cycles because I was part of it. Having been in this industry for over 25 years now, I’ve been around long enough to be part of those mistakes and have such better perspective today. My fear though is we are going to the opposite of the lift heavy phase and this is where we see issues. 

It was the late 1990’s and I had gotten into functional training and functional training itself was becoming popular in the fitness industry. I went to more courses than I could count because all these ideas that were coming to the forefront were so ahead of anything I learned in getting my degree. There was just a hunger I had to learn about everything so I went to enough courses I probably paid for a master’s degree. Sadly, not all the information would have validated that degree. 

This misunderstanding caused us to make some silly mistakes. 

Time and time again it was shown how dysfunctional people were for one reason or another. Pretty soon my training programs for clients were packed with the “real” training information they needed to make a difference. I was confident, so confident! However, my flaws were about to be badly exposed. 

Like most, I had hour long sessions with clients. All of a sudden 30 minutes of that hour was just stretching, soft-tissue, breathing, and mobility (not the type you see today from us either). How could I go wrong, this was ABSOLUTELY what people needed! I didn’t take into account a few things. 

Most notably, I wasn’t getting the results that all these programs I would achieve with my clients. Often it just felt like groundhog’s day as the issues never seemed to improve much over time or even that session. Sure, people felt “warmed up”, but that was about it. Then the real hammer dropped on me. 

Client after client began to share with me how much they started to dislike our training. They went from being raving fans of the work we had been doing, but now hated most of it. It was to the point that I can remember over 20 years ago a client turning to me and saying, “Josh, I liked what we use to do so much better.” 

One statement like that doesn’t make me change everything, however, between that comment and all the other issues, I would be foolish not to reconsider what I was doing. Of course, like many, I fell going to the other extreme that posed many similar and even different issues. At the end of the day I was frustrated because all these great ideas didn’t add up to me helping people any better! 

I can see the same happening today. We have a society that is moving less and less, coming to fitness professionals with a desire to get “fit” while also addressing so many of their health and movement issues. It can easily be overwhelming, but that’s our job right?! 

After speaking at pretty much all the national conferences this year, I got to hear what was being taught and the response of many coaches. I can see we are almost back at the spot that I was all those years ago. Why? Why do we repeat our mistakes? Sadly because we don’t learn that it isn’t about an extreme, it is largely about the middle. What do I mean? 

lifting weights

The mobility crowd will want the body to be perfect before we do any serious training. The heavy lifting crowd will laugh off much of the mobility/stability people and will promote going hard AS the solution for pretty much everything. There is even the more logical crowd that figures, “heck, I will do the mobility and stability thing THEN I will do the heavy lifting too.” Sounds pretty smart, the right path huh? 

That is until we start to see that the issue lies in the fact that both groups need to be combined. No, not in the way that I just mentioned above, that is even MORE a recipe for madness. Why? Many of the mobility/stability issues that are addressed early in training get trampled and discarded once we get into the “lifting heavy” mode. At the same time, the mobility/stability crew does little to bridge those lessons into more dynamic and strength based arenas. 

DVRT Master Coach, Cory Cripe and his crew at Fitness Lying Down show some amazing examples to scroll through!

When people ask me what DVRT is, I want to tell them THIS! What if our serious training improved our mobility/stability while making us more fit, stronger, and yes, look better? Sounds too good to be true right? Not if we have a system that shows us how. We have to be willing to break free of outdated ideas of both strength and mobility/stability training. We can’t seem them independently, but as having synergy. 

How? Well, I’ve been spreading videos throughout this blog to hopefully show you not only is it possible, but HOW it is possible. Tomorrow, I want to break down the flaws of many workouts to show you how we create evolved strength training programs that not only lead us to lifting and training hard, but require it! There is no being hardcore by how much you beat yourself up, it is only intense if we get the desired results from the thought process we put behind our training! Let’s explore how in this next post!