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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The Biggest Loser" Part 2: Making Trainers Look Bad

Contestants come to the Biggest Loser Ranch weighing between 250 to over 400 pounds.  So what's the best thing to have this group of over weight, out of shape people do?

A 1 mile run!  In the desert!

"Hmm... I wonder why contestants continue to have knee issues?"

1st workout in the gym:
Walking on a treadmill.  Good start... nothing wrong with that.

Walking Lunges... really?  Most of these people can barely walk without their legs hurting.  Now you are making them perform walking lunges without first teaching them proper squat mechanics?  Most of these people can't perform a single squat, much less a single leg exercise!

Maybe they teach proper technique behind the scenes?  Maybe they assess and progress the contestants properly off camera?  Maybe they don't show this because it doesn't make for good TV?  I hope, for the contestants sake, they do these things off camera.  But why not show these things on camera?  Technique and progression are the most important aspects of training.

The reason is, I believe, because they don't do these things.  The trainers on the show have shown they know very little when it comes to proper progression and technique.

This photo of Jillian Michaels makes an untrained eye say "WTF?".  It makes a trainer cringe!  Yes Jillian, that is a great kettlebell swing if you HATE YOUR LUMBAR SPINE!  (In the past you could find videos of Jillian Michaels performing kettlebell swings on youtube, but they have been "removed by administrator".  Probably because anybody who knows anything about kettlebell swings has ripped her apart for teaching poor technique!  Google "Jillian Michaels kettlebell swing" to find some of the posts.)

There are thousands of people watching The Biggest Loser every week listening to these trainers and attempting to perform the movements they show.  Most of the movements shown are great, and most people can perform them.  But for The Biggest Loser to not show proper technique and proper progression is irresponsible.  Instead they just show their trainers yelling at the contestants.
Motivating or just demeaning?
To be fair, I must say there is a big difference between yelling to motivate and yelling because it makes you feel tough (like Jillian does!).  In the following video, Biggest Loser trainer Bob yells at one of the contestants.  He does not yell to demean or to make himself look tough.  He yells to motivate and to get the best out of the contestant.  Look at the contestants face after she accomplishes what Bob is asking her to do.  That is a proud look of accomplishment!


And it's not just the trainers on The Biggest Loser!  My father attempted a "lunge" that was demonstrated in a golf magazine which instructed him to lunge so the back knee touches the front ankle.  Great instruction... IF YOU WANT TO DEVELOP ACL PAIN AND MENISCUS ISSUES!  Guess what he said after attempting this lunge?  "My knee hurt so bad I could barely get up!"  Guess what he said after I showed him how to perform a proper lunge?  "That doesn't hurt my knee at all!"  You don't say?  Show somebody proper mechanics and there are no joint issues!  Who would have thought?

Be careful when a trainer on TV or in a magazine tells you to do something.  The movement might be great, but sometimes it might be an advanced movement that you have to learn first, or progress to.

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