Thursday, January 24, 2008

How do you get strong?

This past weekend I was teaching a kettlebell workshop in a club that had more amenities than my own home. During a break I was speaking with a trainer, who asked me what kind of facility I worked in. I briefly explained that ours was studio space that consisted of mostly kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, lots of rings and pull up bars, and few odd tools that make training a little fun and different. We don't have any machines.

He looked at me in utter confusion. The first thing he said was, "How do people get strong if you don't have cable machines?"

I paused for a second to make sure his question was was. I couldn't believe it, or could I? Here I was in one of the most beautiful and fully equipped gyms in the world and I was being asked how people get strong without machines.

I first want to clarify that I am not totally against all cable machines, but I certainly don't think they are the answer to everything, and I most certainly do not believe in their ability to make one the strongest they have ever been. So my reply, was, "Our philosophy is that the body moves through everyday movements as a whole so we train it that way. Rarely do we perform isolation movements, and we can create/encourage/motivate strong and conditioned bodies within all of our training programs."

Still I got a look of disbelief. Then, remembering the equipment that I just listed, he asked, "Well what do you for cardio if you don't have treadmills?"

Again, I had to pause to make sure he was serious, and he was. Again, I almost couldn't believe it. I mean I was there teaching him how to use kettlebells. We'd been "hands on" for an entire day, and were two hours in to the second.

So I again discussed the benefits of kettlebell training, I talked about using intervals instead of 60 minute treadmill sessions. I talked about the inadequacy of the recombent bike and the elliptical. I invited him to workout with me, he declined, and still looked at me in disbelief. All the while, I had demonstrated just about every single kettlebell lift with the 24kg bell.

I guess you can't break them all. I'm the strongest, most well rounded athlete/person I've ever been, through years of competitive swimming, soccor, track, and now jiu-jitsu. I left the converstation a little disappointed, and even when he walked past me after 15 mintues into my workout he still didn't believe.


Camille Remarkable said...

Incredible how some people refuse to believe the truth even when it is standing right in front of them!

I guess you were sort of like a grownup telling him there was no Santa Claus, he...just...couldn't ...compute.

Ah well, alas ya can't save them all! But God help the people who take him on as a "certified" personal trainer.

Dan Hubbard said...

I am not very surprised...I see these people on a daily basis. And, yes they are certified personal trainers. I have given up arguing with them.

A while back I over heard a trainer tell a bigger, stronger, gym rat (who could deadlift over 400lbs) that he was lacking in his leg development because he did not do leg curls and that deadlifts don't develop your hamstrings because you need to shorten the muscle (with leg curls) to develop them. He did mention that deadlifts are a good stretch for the hamstring, though!

Pamela MacElree said...

The notion and benefit of training the body as a whole is still off the charts to some people.

Thanks for dropping a few lines on the topic.

Pete said...


The fact that he did not want to train with you after wathcing you teach showed his inability to believe the world is round and not flat. If you couldn't convince him, chances are no one could.


Pamela MacElree said...

Hey Pete! Thanks.

How's training going?

Keep me posted.