The overhead press is one of the most valuable lifts anybody can do, but many people set themselves up for failure. Check out the short video below and learn how to set up TIGHT for this invaluable lift.
In 2012, I worked as fitness manager at a ritzy gym in New York City. Part of my job, which I loved, was building a team of rockstar trainers -- and helping them make bucks.
Unfortunately, building a great team means hiring, and hiring means interviewing. For better or worse, anybody who enjoys working out thinks he or she is qualified to train others, so I interviewed a LOT of duds. Here are my top five anecdotes of job candidates shitting the bed in the interview.
(Confession: #5 didn't actually happen to me, but it happened to a good friend of mine who also manages a commercial gym.)
ME: OK, I'd like to see a sample program from you. There's not really a right or wrong answer, I just want to see how you think. Let's use a pretend client: a woman who wants to lose body fat. She's going to train twice a week.
CANDIDATE: I usually have a chest day, shoulder day, arm day, back day....
ME: That's cool, but our clients generally don't want body part splits. Could you jot down two total-body workouts?
CANDIDATE: You can't train more than one body part per day. That's overtraining.
ME: Where were you working before this?
CANDIDATE: I trained independently, going to people's apartments, in the park, etc.
ME: Cool. Where did you get your clients?
CANDIDATE: I took them with me when I left my last gym.
ME: Oh. So you stole from your previous employers?
[Super awkward silence.]
ME: What resources do you use to stay on top of this industry? What books or blogs do you read? What educational events have you been to recently?
CANDIDATE: Um. [Long pause.] I follow a lot of fitness models on Facebook.
ME: One of the best things about this job is you get to make your own schedule, more-or-less. But not right away. It takes roughly a year to build your business to the point where you can start to shepherd clients into the times you want.
CANDIDATE: Well, I'm not interested in training before 10am.
ME: Hmm. Many people prefer to work out before work. 6am and 7am are valuable time slots. But, if you offer later evening and weekend hours, that could work.
CANDIDATE: No, I don't want to work later than 5pm. Or on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
CANDIDATE: I love anatomy and the scientific names for things. I'm an anatomy junkie.
MANAGER: Awesome! OK, pop quiz: what is the function of the latissimus dorsi?
CANDIDATE: I don't know.
MANAGER: The lats. What do they do?
CANDIDATE: I don't know.
MANAGER: Do you know where they are?
[Silience. She points to her thigh.]
Over the past few years I've noticed that my absolute best, most invigorating and technically masterful training sessions have always occurred when I'm just a little crunched for time.
Maybe I have exactly 60 minutes free between clients, or some other hard deadline. It imbues the entire workout with a sense of hustle, an urgency. No time to lollygag or overthink.
Train against a ticking clock. Look into EDT (escalating density training) or strictly timed rest periods. Hustle up; rise up.
The deadlift is the most important and SAFEST thing you can do at the gym.
It is the most efficient and potent way to build total-body strength and even prevent injury.
The deadlift uses the powerful joint action of hip extension, coupled with strong back muscles and a locked-down core to pick a weight up off the floor. The weight could be a barbell, kettlebell, or some other implement. Everybody, regardless of current strength and fitness level, should practice this movement in some way.
The deadlift is special for another reason: it provides vast benefits at a relatively low level of proficiency. Consider this: the world record in the deadlift is about 1,000 pounds. But a person who can deadlift 200 pounds with perfect form will have reaped tremendous benefits in their strength, athleticism, movement quality, and injury resilience. That's a mere 20% of the world record.
Let's compare that to another popular fitness activity, running. The world record in the mile is 3:43. To achieve 20% of that, you'd need to cover a mile in 18.5 minutes. Even an overweight person could walk that pace. With a cigarette break, maybe.
My point is: odds are, achieving an 18-minute mile does nothing for you. But a 200-pound deadlift could mean a whole new quality of life. No aches or pains. No struggles with groceries, luggage, or shoveling.
How long does it take to go from "what's a deadlift?" to lifting 200? It depends. For men, maybe only a few weeks. For women, maybe a few months. Check out Char below. She's 40. That is 225 on the bar. It took her 3 months, training about three times per week.
200 is an arbitrary number; I chose it because the math was easy. You might find that your life-changing deadlift number is 185, or 315, or 405. The reward is in the process. The final number is just bragging rights. RISE UP!