Coach Jake Shannon – The Basics

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June 14, 2017

Often people ask me how much goes into training athletes and if I follow online methods such as P90x or Instagram famous* “Fitness Professionals” who have never actually trained or coached anyone and have no recognised qualifications whatsoever. They look good in a bikini or with some baby oil smooshed all over their big muscles and people automatically think they must be a great and trustworthy person to help me achieve my athletic goals and desires. They’re not. They’re frauds and they are the people giving the industry I love a bad reputation.

The short answer is, no I don’t follow any of this crap. Being a good strength coach is about utilising what is scientifically proven to work. Not cutting corners and trying to use a method that has a cookie cutter program designed by one person with a goal of them getting rich. Here are my thoughts…

When it all comes down to it, the programming for my athletes and for the most part, the general population clients I train is based around these 6 exercises;

Squat, Hinge, Lunge, Push, Pull, Carry.

Pretty simple hey?

Of course there are endless variants of each of these exercises and depending on the sport and the athlete and the time of year will depend on what I program. Just as a side note, I should add that at some point jumping, hopping, plyometrics and conditioning work will become a part of the athletes program as well. However I know how to program it properly and when to program it and why to program it. It’s not something I add into a program to fill up time or because I saw some moron on Facebook doing jump squats with a backflip and thought “yeah that looks wicked bro.” God, social media is the devil and has wreaked havoc on people’s minds to the point that they can’t think for themselves anymore and they copy what idiots do online because that must be the way to go.

The point I’m trying to make is that keeping things as simple as possible is what creates great athletes. Utilising some gimmick or new age training method or exercise technique is never going to last or be as effective. Being disciplined and consistent is far more important than looking good in the gym. It astounds me that people are drawn to what looks sexy and cool and fun in the gym as opposed to what has been proven to actually work. And while we’re here, stop buying in to TV infomercial fitness products. You won’t get abs from pushing some machine into your stomach while sitting on the couch. You sure as shit won’t get the strong legs and chest that the steroid induced fitness models have that are modelling the machine on TV. Do I really need to tell you that these things don’t work? Stop trying to find easy alternatives and stop making excuses.

Standard barbell squatting may never seem as sexy or crazy as standing on a bosu ball* with an unevenly weighted barbell while trying to do blindfolded squats while someone throws tennis balls at you. However the fact is the basics work. Squats are as basic as you can get in the gym, yet they are one of the single most important and beneficial things you can do. I guess standard barbell squats aren’t as cool as this clown doing squats on a God damn tractor tyre. Like how cool is this dead set fool?

squat on tyre

I look at this picture and think why? Like why are you up there? Why do you think this is more appropriate than a standard overhead barbell squat? The barbell overhead squat is a super exercise in the first place, yet you had to go and try to ‘one up’ the social media world for a few “likes” on your page so you could sleep at night feeling like you are a God damn rock star. I’m here to tell you champion, you’re not. You’re an idiot and what you’re doing is dangerous and its rubbish like this that makes parents worry that I will prescribe their children the same crap. You’re doing yourself and me a disservice. Please stop.

Another example – can you believe that for a short lived time back in the early 2000’s ‘reverse deadlifts’ were a thing? I’m embarrassed to admit that I even tried them a few times while at Uni in Ballarat until I realised how insanely idiotic they were. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the guy in this picture is asking for an injury. Even if he was doing a normal deadlift, I’d still think he was a moron for having no shirt on. There’s never an acceptable reason or excuse for training anywhere without a shirt.

reverse deadlift

For as long as strength training has been a part of our lives, the basics have been the go-to exercises. Strength training isn’t new, it’s been happening since ancient Greece when Milo of Croton would carry (carry – refer back to the original 6, God I’m clever) a calf on his back every day and as the calf grew, Milo got stronger. Eventually he had a bull on his shoulders (well legend has it anyway). He sure as hell wasn’t carrying the bull on a tractor tyre or ancient Greek equivalents. I like to think he ran up hills with the bull on his shoulders like a damn boss.
Gimmicks come and go because just as in life, people eventually realise the gimmick is unreliable or not as effective long term. We always go back to the tried and tested methods. Train hard and train smart. Do what has been proven to work and leave the circus tricks for the circus clowns.

Lucky for all you readers out there that I have just touched the surface of two areas of the fitness industry that I am most passionate about and there will be blogs on them at a later date.
*Instagram famous “Fitness Professionals”* if there was a font that represented complete rage and anger that makes you want to scream at everyone around you I would be writing in this very font now. I’ll get to them later…
*Bosu Balls, ahh my least favourite piece of equipment in any gym or facility. I shall have a rant on these and their lack of effectiveness at a later date when I dispel the myth that unstable training is good for you…