Information Overload

Note: I am currently taking a 5-day course as a pre-requisite for starting as a fitness trainer at Fitness First. I was too tired and annoyed at the end of the first day, but I would like to prepare journal entries for each day about my observations of my classmates, the instructors, and the training itself.


The biggest problem with a five-day foundation course is that it essentially means cramming months, if not years, of education into less than a week. It’s a bit unrealistic to expect anyone to learn musculoskeletal anatomy, biomechanics, fascial lines, and joint action over a few hours a day per week. The speed and degree of absorption aren’t huge problems for people with a medical education, and even I – with my limited, largely self-taught learning – am getting by fairly well.

The best and perhaps only way to develop a working knowledge of these topics in such a short amount of time is to sort through everything and figure out the important parts. You don’t need to memorize the name, origin, and insertion point of each muscle that makes up the rotator cuff to understand what it does or why it matters to someone who wants to improve his bench press.

Unfortunately, the ability to sift grain in search of diamonds isn’t innate – at least so far as I can tell. It must be developed, practice, honed. Learning to decide what’s necessary and what’s less so is a very valuable skill – and not just to a coach who needs to earn his client’s trust.

Having gone to one school my entire life, I don’t really know what was so wrong with the educational process in other schools. I don’t know why or where or when I learned how to filter data in search of the main idea, although I figure it has something to do with the numerous books, poems, and essays we had to read and summarize over the course of many years.

Other people, it seemed, never had the opportunity to develop it. So far as I could tell, none of my classmates had any idea how to search for what my English teachers would have called the main idea. All the effort I saw was going into sheer memorization, with little or no understanding of the practical applications even when our instructor was demonstrating.

Communication is a two-way street. Sometimes – as my previous post discussed – the fault in a miscommunication lies with the speaker. Sometimes, though, the problem lies with the recipient. It may be stubbornness, lack of understanding, or a simple unwillingness to hear something new.

I don’t know what I can do to help my classmates, or if I could even help at all. Technically, I don’t have to do anything – I’m the only person whose final grade matters to me, if I’m to be frank. Still, it’s a reminder of the myriad challenges inherent in a profession requiring so much knowledge. The problem is not that there isn’t enough information or access to it, but that there’s almost too much to really grasp.

Again, it’s a communication issue. It’s even similar to yesterday’s post in that there’s no shortage of correct, usable data available – but none of it is of any use if you can’t figure out what to do with it.

You could say that the middle deltoid’s concentric contraction is responsible for abducting the humerus along the coronal plane.

Or you could say that the shoulder raises the arm.


Workout

5min Row @ progressive pace

5x10s hard / 50s moderate Row

Bar Warmup

Complete exercises consecutively using an empty 20kg barbell.

10x Bent-over Row

10x Romanian Deadlift

10x High Pull

10x Hang Clean

10x Front Squat

10x Push Press

10x Back Squat

Round Interval

1 round per 30s for 5min (i.e. 10 rounds) @ 35kg

1x High Pull

1x Hang Clean

1x Front Squat

Round Interval

1 round per 30s for 5min (i.e. 10 rounds) @ 45kg

1x Power Clean

1x Hang Clean

Round Interval

1 round per 30s for 5min (i.e. 10 rounds) @ 60kg

1x Power Clean

1x Front Squat

Deadlift Work

3×5 @ 75kg

3×3 @ 90kg

3×3 @ 105kg

3×2 @ 125kg

6×1 @ 145kg

Cooldown

5min Stretching

Notes:

  • I’ve been looking at ways to put in more barbell work, since I’ve lately only had access to one a maximum of twice a week. This may change soon.
  • My clean has gotten weird, or I managed to boost my power without realizing it. I’m no longer catching the bar perfectly – it’s crashing down onto my delts as I get under it. This means I’m either pulling too high, dropping too low, or simply timing it poorly. 
  • I’m not sure what exactly is causing me so much trouble with deadlifts now. I feel like I’ve been stuck hovering around 145-155kg for months now for no apparent reason. Whether it’s heavy singles or low rep sets to build grip strength, I’ll be forcing more work in this area. I want my double bodyweight score back.
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