Teaching people how to use the barbell again is reversing the process of the fitness industry ‘dumbing exercise down’, something that has been going on for over 40 years.
As planes of motion were fixed, cushioning added and technology implemented, the raw power of the barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell and pull up bar were eroded. Instead, replaced with the instant gratification to the 'illusion of fitness’.
Teaching someone how to use the leg press or how to change the resistance on the elliptical does not prepare them for lifelong health and maintenance of their body, in the same way teaching a child to only use a calculator or spell checker, does not make up for the development of their own mental arithmetic and cognitive functions.
Yes, it’s better than nothing and all movement should be encouraged, but we can do better than that, especially when the education has been removed for the pursuit of financial gain.
Since the 1970’s, huge gym facilities have been filled will anyone walking off the street, given minimal tuition or education on movement, and then sent out into the mass of machines to find their own way. This rarely achieves the desired effect. Trainers are merely there to show the adjustment of machines, but never actually teach the skill that the machine is there to replicate! A movement originally performed with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells.
Because it is capable of giving mass markets a very cheap method of feeling fitter. Low tuition means lower costs. Lower costs mean greater uptake, but at the expense of limiting the actual benefit, they walked through the door to receive - an improvement to their health and fitness.
Thankfully, the emerging ‘micro-gym’ market is changing that. Yes, great gyms still existed through these times of ‘automated fitness’ but recently small gyms are springing up more frequently offering something different from the bigger facilities.
Coaching. And people want it.
It seems to coincide with a change in attitudes towards the application of disposable income. People want experiences rather than objects. And that’s good because coaching costs more than no coaching.
It costs more to employ a human to give advice and impart knowledge on a subject that they have been trained in. More than it costs to solo navigate an unmanned 24 hour facility with no tuition, no intensity and no community. And this is ultimately the choice. An accountant costs more than it does to complete your own tax return, and a solicitor will cost more than writing your own will, and fitting your own kitchen will be cheaper than getting a trained joiner.
But would you?
Ultimately a good trainer will teach you the correct movements, skills and awareness that will allow you to take care of your body for years to come. Even add years to your life.
What’s worth more than that?