When I started my fitness career in 2004, you’d have to go to a weightlifting club to find bumper plates and weightlifting barbells. They just didn’t feature in commercial gyms. Weightlifting was a minority sport, not something regular gym goers were interested in.
When CrossFit reached our shores it dragged weightlifting kicking and screaming into the fitness limelight. Weightlifting started to be seen as something we could all benefit from.
The change started to happen.
Fast forward a while and now commercial gyms nationwide have bumper plates, lifting platforms and specialist barbells. Just like kettlebells a few years before, weightlifting has made the jump from fitness niche to mainstream.
Unfortunately, few personal trainers know how to effectively use this equipment and teach correct weightlifting technique, missing a huge opportunity.
Improving Your Training Tool Kit
There’s an old saying… If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
This applies to our industry more than ever. Despite advances in Sports Science, equipment and training methodologies, lots of PT’s rely on their old way of working, stuck with a basic toolkit in a rapidly advancing world. One where clients see weightlifting in gyms, on social media or YouTube videos and wanting to learn how to do it.
Weightlifting is a skill set that will benefit every personal trainer. I personally qualified as a weightlifting coach for a couple of reasons….
- I wanted to upskill when it came to my training and my job as a personal trainer.
- Weightlifting was a growing sport and I could see the momentum. I’d watched Kettlebells grow in popularity and thought weightlifting would be the same.
Most exercises we use in day-to-day training and programming are a derivative of weightlifting technique. A deadlift is the first pull of a clean or snatch. The front squat is the receive position of the clean. Push presses are basically the jerk. There are countless other examples.
Weightlifting is arguably the purest form of lifting. It has been an Olympic sport since 1896 and has remained so with few exceptions since. Most exercises we know of were invented by weightlifters to improve their performance in competition. The crossover benefits to other aspects of fitness became clear and it helped fuel the growth of fitness industry.
Why Personal Trainers Should Learn Weightlifting Technique
Having delivered thousands of sessions to hundreds of clients over the years, I’m yet to meet a single person who hasn’t or wouldn’t benefit from structured, progressive strength training with good technique. As a PT who is a qualified weightlifting coach, you’re in a perfect position to deliver such training sessions.
As people who teach exercise for a living, if we can effectively coach weightlifting to our clients we benefit both them and us – the client improves their strength, coordination, balance, technique and mobility. We benefit by adding another string to our bow. We improve our own technique, our knowledge and our coaching.
From a business perspective, it puts you ahead. If you’re the only PT in your facility who is qualified to teach weightlifting, you have an advantage.
Fads Pass, Fundamentals Remain
I’ve spent a long time in this industry and I can say with confidence that fads pass, but fundamentals remain. Weightlifting isn’t a fad – the benefits to clients are too numerous and as CrossFit continues to grow, it’ll shine an even bigger spotlight on the sport.
Whether you like CrossFit or not, you can’t argue it has helped popularise training methods that were effective, but unpopular. Weightlifting is one of them, so use it to your advantage.
Steve Hoyles has been a Personal Trainer since graduating with his degree in Sports Science from Swansea University in 2004. Alongside his successful Personal Training business, he has contributed to various fitness industry magazines and has featured on BBC Radio. His website is www.hoylesfitness.com.