I have given the advice of steering clear of failure in the gym thousands of times. That’s also been the advice of every respected coach in the fitness industry. That’s because it’s great advice and you should focus on building strength rather than constantly testing and missing reps.

That’s how you get weak and fucked up.

But there’s become a major issue with this amongst coaches, trainers, and trainees across the globe.

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Since CrossFit came around and people started getting injured more often, it opened a gateway for coaches and trainers to bring corrective exercises, mobility drills, and all things alike to the surface, which is great! This stuff is incredibly useful and has helped many people get out of pain and perform better.

The problem here is that many coaches have taken the idea of corrective exercise and mobility drills to the next level, and suddenly, people are spending hours on end on rehab drills and mobility.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that for people to get out of pain, get healthy, feel better, move better, and look better, there needs to be enough stress created during a given training session to create a stimulus and elicit a training effect.

chris tutela training hard

When you spend 67 minutes on corrective exercises, people will never get the results they’re looking for, and chances are they won’t even feel better. They’ll be bored with their program; results will be lacking, and they won’t be consistent because of it.

I can speak from my experience over the last 14 years and tell you that the best form of mobility and correcting the common issues found in most people is a well-designed training program using compound strength exercises through a full range of motion.

The corrective stuff should then be sprinkled INTO the program; they shouldn’t BE the program.

When developing strength in the fundamental human movement patterns (squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, and carry), you will develop stability, mobility, strength, muscle, and even a cardiovascular training effect.

That doesn’t mean that every person should be doing the same exercises. I’ve hammered the idea of exercise variations and modifications in previous articles, so I won’t go too crazy here. But if these movement patterns are being trained and, for the most part, the progressive overload principle is being followed, your clients and athletes will see results.

They will:

  • Move better.
  • Feel better.
  • Perform better.
  • Improve their health.
  • Get out of pain.
  • And look better.

If you’re a coach, it’s important to understand that is what people want. Why wouldn’t they? Isn’t that why we all train to begin with?!

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What’s happened in our industry is that you have one side of the spectrum beating themselves into oblivion, and the other side spending way too much time on corrective exercise and rehab drills.

It’s time to bridge the gap.

It’s time to go back to hard fucking work. But not just hard work — smart work.

Stress — not too much stress, but certainly not too little, either.

There’s a balance that you can only figure out by working your own ass off in the trenches. I hate to give that advice because most people will then work too hard and not give themselves enough time to recover. But I feel that every good coach out there has learned this the hard way, which is probably why they’re good coaches.

They know what training too hard actually feels like, so in their own training, they had to figure out a balance.

From my experience, I made the mistake of training way too hard for years in my early 20s. Regardless of how shitty I felt, I pushed in my training, and as a result, I burnt myself out. I then started to recognize the importance of mobility work, recovery, corrective drills, and all things alike to fix the problems that I created.

But from those mistakes, I became a better coach. It taught me how far I can push people, when to back it down, and when to crank it up.

I’m not suggesting that you start doing stupid shit and destroying yourself. What I am saying is that a lot of new trainers and coaches are coming out of school with all the knowledge and information but zero practical experience of really knowing how to push themselves in the gym.

tutela intensity

In Cal Dietz’s book Triphasic Training, he talks about the importance of stress. Too much of it will lead to overtraining; too little and no adaptation occurs.

You need just the right amount for the body to adapt, grow, and get stronger.

I believe that the only way you can really understand that is by getting in the trenches yourself and doing the damn work.

If you’re a young coach or trainer just getting out of school or getting into the game, my advice to you is to work with a respected coach in your area. Have them train you so you can get a better understanding of hard, smart work. If you can’t afford it, pay them with your time and intern for them. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to not only be working alongside respected coaches but working with them and having them coach you as well.

This way you’ll be putting in the work that will create progress, and you’ll be learning firsthand how to push yourself without frying yourself out for the long haul.

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Remember that the people you work with, whether they’re athletes or general population clients, want to look better, feel better, perform better, and live longer. It’s our job to help them obtain those goals. The last thing that I want you to do after reading this article is to beat them to death with a nonsensical workout. That is far from my purpose of this post.

The big takeaway I want you to have is an understanding of the importance of knowing the difference between working too hard, not working hard enough and stressing the body just enough so adaptation can occur.

Apply corrective exercise and mobility work, design well thought out training programs and always remember our golden rule: DO NO HARM! But remember that your clients want results — hell, they NEED results. And in order for them to see the results they want, you must introduce the required amount of stress into their program.

And if you, the coach, don’t truly understand that then you are doing your clients a disservice by not hiring a professional who can teach you.

You must do the work yourself.

I hope that this article helps you grow as a coach and opens your mind to bridging the gap between idiotic and a lack of stress and results.

If I can help you in any way, please drop a comment below or shoot me over a DM on Instagram @chris_tutela.

Thanks for reading.