Active Life RX has two goals: to get people out of pain without the doctor and to keep them in the gym. One of the ways they do this is by training coaches, chiropractors, and physical therapists through two-day hands-on Coach Training Workshops, to help them gain a more accurate understanding of flexibility and mobility, how movement impacts injury and performance, and how to apply these lessons back in your gym.

Here are 8 things I learned from attending an Active Life Coach Training Workshop at Red Wolf CrossFit.

  1. Before all else, gain trust. Propriety, commonality, and credibility will get you there. Look the part, find commonalty with every client whether she is 65 and terrified or 25 and sure of himself. Make yourself credible and then live there.
  2. There is no such thing as Pass or Fail, only Full or Limited. When you use words like “fail” it sets a precedent with your athlete. No one body is a failure, nor can any one person “fail” a movement. It is a range of motion. Everyone works at their own measure.
  3. Be transparent. As trainers and coaches, we need to be clear from the outset. Trainers that act as though injuries never occur in CrossFit are not doing anyone any favors. If you’re training with intensity, there is a risk of injury. By being upfront about the risk you are minimizing the potential fall out, not removing it.
  4. Do not assume. Never. Not ever. Everyone has a subset of tolerable conditions that we just walk around with every day. Take the time to assess every client’s movement, and follow through with all the assessments. Be thorough.
  5. A functional diagnosis is not a medical diagnosis. A functional diagnosis addresses how a body moves;  it is not a medical diagnosis. You can address the movement without making a medical diagnosis. You are not a doctor. (Unless you are, then lucky you!)
  6. Irritation drives adaptation. We see this everywhere. Members whose back squats look like good mornings. Members who can’t remain upright in an air squat, who cannot lunge because of ankle mobility. People’s bodies are like water. They will take the path of least resistance. Re-train the path.
  7. No athlete will want to spend 15 minutes in class testing ankle mobility instead of deadlifting. You must find ways to incorporate things like mobility and flexibility into class regularly until they realize the value in it. People’s bodies are like water. They will take the path of least resistance. Re-train the path.
  8. It’s your job to teach them to know their bodies. We can assess athletes coachand give them a dozen drills and cues, but when they walk outside the gym they need to know their own body. What is their threshold for pain? What does an injury feel like versus an irritation? How do I know when to go full send and when to taper it back? If we can get an athlete to know their own body, we have coached them well.

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