The debatable leg extension or the crunches is my two main examples. These two exercise people have really been doing for years. In fact I knew some great athletes that these two exercise were part of their regular routine.
My point is everywhere you turn fitness professional seem to disagree with one another. What is the best exercise or which exercises to avoid, some say bad technique and other say it’s okay?
How do we educate the general population without added to the confusion?
you have a good point. But is it not true, that some quite different opinions can both be valid, particularly if applied to different people?
I used to get frustrated to no end when I went to the IDEA conferences and when two presenters, both experts in their field, seemed to say things that appeared to be a contradiction of one another.
When people ask me today about exercises and whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, my answer invariably is “it depends”. Unfortunately, people like to think in absolutes, and it appears that everybody is so used to three minute soundbites that differentiated reasoning has gotten out of style.
The problem with educating the ‘general population’ is that there is no such thing. The general population is made up of individuals who, by themselves, defy the law of averages.
You have opened an interesting conversation, and I am curious to read what my colleagues have to say.
Hi Russell. Great question. Unfortunately, we (the fitness industry) are not alone in the world of confusing or sometimes conflicting ‘professional information or advice.’ Since our trade is comprised of both an ‘art,’ and a ‘science’ it lends itself to differing opinions. Additionally, since there are very few things in LIFE that are absolutes, where the answer is ALWAYS…, we shouldn’t be surprised that those same principles apply to the fitness industry. Think medicine where the same patient can get one opinion from one physician and then seek a second opinion which my differ widely from the first. As a licensed attorney, I can think of many instances where my legal opinion varied from another attorney’s. I think that this points to a very important point, and one that I learned many years ago in this industry. We all need to conduct our own research, think critically about the available information (i.e. consider the source etc), and try to not speak in ‘absolutes’ when it comes to exercise, fitness and health.
I don’t know about you, but I shudder when I hear some in our industry speak in ABSOLUTES because there is pretty much an ‘exception’ to the absolute floating around out there. I have learned that in our industry there are no real ‘absolute truths’ about exercise because many exceptions exist. The key to being a GREAT TRAINER, in my opinion, is knowing when you are faced with a situation where the exception should and does apply.
Great question my friend!
I often think the same applies to nutrition. It can definitely be confusing to find the truth in the information. I often try to use it as an opportunity to discuss how to evaluate the source of the information. Who’s the source? What were they trying to find? What did they find? What type of people were they looking at? May the findings not apply to a different group? What methods did they use? How many people were involved? Is it fact or opinion?
I have found that by educating the client in looking at the information source, they better know how to evaluate all sources of information whether its exercise, nutrition, politics, etc.
The other side of this is that they then trust the sources I reference and bring up because they know I’ve looked at the source and not just the information. It validates my skill set vs. others in the field. It’s a win win opportunity.
The important think to remember here is what you think and what you know about a specific training method or an exercise. Each exercise serves a purpose and it might not be for everyone. A number of clients or athletes train in a specific way that incorporates a number of exercises that others will not. Yes, the opinions vary from one fitness professional to another, but at the end the only thing that counts is yours. If my clients need to do a specific exercise because it’s essential to their training, then I will have them do it no matter what others think (as long as they execute the movement in a good and safe way).
The bottom line is that fitness professionals will have different opinions about pretty much everything. We all come from various backgrounds and so are our philosophies.
There is no right or wrong
When I am confronted with this question, which is quite often, I try to put things into perspective.
Each individual needs individual answers, no two people are exactly the same, thus, it’s great to have a vast array of exercise options and more importantly to use them after you explain WHY it works!