Chris Lopez

Chris Lopez

#AlphaDAD to 5 Amazing Kids, Husband, Coach, Entrepreneur, Minimalist. For more workout stuff, check out

Poor Form

I’m allowed to rant a little, aren’t I?

A couple of weeks ago, I trekked up to Markham (a suburb where I grew up just north of Toronto) to pick my dad up and take him to a doctor’s appointment. Before heading over, I needed to get some training in so I headed down to the local YMCA for a quick lifting session. It was a dead lift day and I managed to get in some DB presses and some chins in as well. Overall, a great, quick session.

While I was on my 3rd set of deads, I noticed a relatively big guy (big as in “jacked”, not big as in “fat”) trying to teach a novice dude how to lift. They were doing what looked like a clean and press from the floor…AFTER they did bunch of heavy dumbbell AND barbell overhead pressing, lateral raises and front raises.

Now, I don’t profess to be the most technically sound trainer when it comes to Olympic lifting (I still try to see a friend of mine who is a strength coach with the Maple Leafs organization to brush up on my technique every now and then). Here’s my issue with what was going on (READ: wrong) with the situation:

1. The novice guy was about 6’3″ and (I’m guessing) 150lbs soaking wet! He could hardly lift the 45lb bar that they were using. I doubt this guy couldn’t even do a full push-up.

2. The guy “teaching” him had the worst form I have ever seen in my entire life! His spine was curved forward and his knees were locked when he picked and launched the bar off the floor and then he would arch his back like he was looking up to heaven to press the bar over his head.

3….And this one’s the kicker. The YMCA trainers were all standing around in awe admiring the guy for such a great feat of strength. These trainers were watching and I’m sure taking notes so that they could use their new found exercise on their next 40-year-old, overweight, female client.

So what’s the big deal, you say? First, a novice lifter should not be Olympic lifting at all unless he’s being taught by the proper coach (ie. NOT your “boy” with the massive traps that you sit behind in English class). Learn how to squat, deadlift and bench first…better yet, show me you can do 20 push-ups. Second, just because your “boy” is massive, doesn’t mean he knows what he’s doing in the gym. Third, if you’re a trainer or on the staff of any gym and you see someone doing something questionable, show them a better alternative…IT’S YOUR PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY! I almost went over and suggested something myself and played the “off-duty cop” roll….should I have? I didn’t think it was place seeing as to them I’m just another “member” trying to get my swell on.

No, I’m not a know-it-all and I will be the first to admit that I have so much more to learn (and I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now). What I do know, thanks to many a mentor, is that the basics work. Stick to your presses, squats, deadlifts, chins, rows and dips and you’ll build the body you want (and that goes for both male and female athletes/lifters/regular people). Olympic lifting has it’s place in the performance enhancement world, but not for 17-year-old toothpicks who don’t even know how to pick a weight up off the floor properly.

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