Fitness Coaching with Analogies

When it comes to coaching everyone has a different style. Sure we pick things up from different coaches here and there. We’ll steal a tip from this one. We’ll adopt a practice from that one. But for the most part we have to figure what our style is and then develop it to the best of our ability.

Learning to Lift Analogies

For me one of the things I like to use when coaching is analogies. Big surprise right!

Why analogies? Well because it allows the coach and client to find a common reference point regarding the concept being addressed. It gets away from the specific language and terms that both people may people may not be familiar. Analogies can also make the experience more fun.

Because when someone steps on the training room floor they be very unaware of the technique required to perform a lift. Some may think they know what they’re doing and then as a coach when you watch them lift you realize they don’t. So you need to step in and coach them. Here’s how I like to coach a lift.

Analogies Save Time & Money

First, of all don’t let someone continue performing lots of reps the wrong way. This just ingrains a poor motor program which is then harder to fix later. For example, I wouldn’t look over and say to myself ‘wow, that guy (or girl) is using terrible form on their deadlifts! I should talk to them later.’

That would be like watching someone drive past you in their car going the wrong way and you don’t stop them. You let them continue on thinking they are making progress in the right direction but instead they are wasting time and money. Worse the path they are headed down may cause extensive damage to their vehicle. So you have to say something right away when it is done wrong.

After, stopping someone with faulty technique I’ll first expain with words what is I am seeing. Next I will demonstrate their error to them. At this point I always exagerate the error so it is easy for them to see what I mean. Lastly, I will demonstrate the lift with proper form.

Then before I step out of the way to let them try I give them an analogy to visualize what it is I am talking about. For example, if we were training deadlifts I like the chest to be tall with the arms straight and squeezing the lats. Here’s the analogy for this one.

An Analogy for Deadlifts

T-Rex arms. Good for deadlifts.  Some people will initiate the pull on a deadlift with bend in their elbows. As they stand up they will feel a jerk in their bodies as they take the slack out of the elbows. The analogy here is like going water-skiing and having slack in the line when the boat goes to pull you out of the water.

With slack in the line the boat can accelerate too much before the line goes taut and thus creates a jerking force when there is no more slack. So whenever you deadlift make sure to take the slack out of the line.

Another way to think about this is to be a T-Rex and not a gorilla. Picture the arms of each creature and you’ll see what I mean.

Knuckles on the floor won't help you deadlift.

Knuckles on the floor won’t help you deadlift.

A T-Rex has short arms kind of like that college buddy that could never reach his wallet when you went out for beers. Yes, MN I am looking at you. A gorilla on the other hand has long arms that grag on the floor.

When you deadlift think of being like a T-Rex and have no slack let in your arms. When you go for a post-workout shake after training however this not the time be a T-Rex when it comes time to split the tab.






2 Responses to Fitness Coaching with Analogies

  1. kayla says:

    This brings back a lot of great memories!! You are the king of analogies!

    • Chris says:

      Hi Kayla! Thanks, I think I could get used to that title. I remember many mornings discussing training in between appointments with clients with you. Good times in our early days.


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