View Full Version : Being a better trainer

Greg Battaglia
10-22-2009, 05:14 PM
This past summer I trained a few people and really enjoyed the experience. My clients got results and I think we all benefited from the interaction a lot as I try to focus on not only training the client but also educating them so that they carry this knowledge throughout their life.

Despite this, I'm always looking to improve and there are definitely areas where I could use improving. Most notably, I need improvement in my O-lifting instruction. I taught all of my clients the power versions of the O-lifts because for one, most detrained individuals simply are not able to do these movements neurologically and in terms of flexibility, but also because I haven't even perfected these movement myself. I'm certainly not going to train people in movements that I myself am not an expert in. Also, my clients didn't plan on ever becoming pro O-lifters and simply wanted to get ripped and feel good and healthy.

Anyway, my question is for those of you who are already established trainers. What have you found to be the best resources for improving your O-lifting skills as a trainer and a trainee and also just as a trainer in general? I have a Crossfit Level I Cert. and lots of personal experience with Crossfit and other programs based on functionality. Can you recommend any books, specific seminars that were particularly helpful (and ones that you found not so helpful), or other resources that may help me to improve my skills?

I've heard a lot about Greg E's O-lifting book and Starting Strength and will probably give them a go. Any other good resources?

Thanks guys.

Steve Liberati
10-22-2009, 05:44 PM
great timing...just ask our friend Vern:


10-22-2009, 07:23 PM
for Olympic lifting, Gregs book is great, but so is artie dreschlers book the encyclopedia of weightlifting... Gregs book is probably easier for beginners to understand and apply, while arties is much more extensive in the areas it covers.

Those are really the only two books i can think of that i would recomend to help with O lifting, but neither is gonna replace getting together with a good coach. Find an experienced coach you can work with... that will cut a 10-15 year journey down considerably in time....

Michael Hartman
10-23-2009, 06:39 AM
A great piece of advice I received from Glenn in regards to coaching was that nothing can replace competition. Even if your goal, or your client's goals, don't necessarily involve competing in OL at a high level, there is a ton you will learn by stepping on the platform. You will be better at performing the lifts, coaching the lifts, and understanding the process of improving the lifts so much more when you test yourself this way. I had coached the lifts to athletes, used books and videos, and even got my Club Coach, and thought I had a good handle on things. I learned a ton more in 6 months where I competed in 3 meets then in the 2.5 years prior.

IMO, find a meet about 3 months always, and spend the next 12 weeks working with a coach to improve your total, then do it again a few months later.

Steve Forman
10-23-2009, 08:15 AM
Two things for me.

1. I did just complete the CF Oly lift 2 day seminar with Mike B. That was awesome. That alone did wonders for my lifts and my clients. I will go again soon.

2. My best friend trained at CA with Greg and crew for about 6 months. That was incredible for him. I am trying to get in there. I would recommend finding a gym that concentrates on Oly lifts or someone there that has actually competed and can coach you.

You will find that actually doing the movements over reading a book will be that much more beneficial. Plus having someone monitor your movements every lift is a key for success.

have fun!

Greg Battaglia
10-23-2009, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the helpful replies guys. I'm too burnt for cash right now, but when I get things rolling I'll hit up some seminars. For now I'll read some books for sure though.


Mike ODonnell
10-25-2009, 12:21 PM
Does it have to be just O-lifting based? Most general people can easily be trained with a resistance band or dumbbell (along with bodyweight movements too). You can also use DB for some movements like clean and snatch if that is what you enjoy.

In the end....find what you enjoy teaching....find what your clients enjoy doing...and then you will have a match made in heaven. You don't have to spend $1000 on equipment to help people get healthy.

Greg Battaglia
10-25-2009, 08:55 PM

This is something I've contemplated. I personally have kept myself in great shape in the past using nothing but my own body weight, so clearly complex movements likes the O-lifts are not absolutely necessary. In fact, A lot of my own current training is focused around using homemade equipment. Sometimes I feel like I want to learn the O-lifts just to meet the status quo within the CF community. I plan on affiliating, and if I don't have good grasp on the O-lifts that will not reflect positively on my reputation or my business as a CF affiliate.

Nevertheless, I do agree with you. My clients generally show no interest in the O-lifts and I've found that they are not necessary for my clients to reach their goals, at least not in the full versions when a barbell is used. In fact, i started one of my clients off with a month of nothing but calisthenics and he saw rapid results. I guess this simply shows that most clients won't be athletes (especially O-lifters) and therefore don't require the same training as athletes. I have found that almost 100% of clients simply say "I want to look good naked and be pretty fit". I agree, you don't need O-lifting to accomplish that. But i don't limit myself to non-athletes, so it may be a good investment.

Mike ODonnell
10-26-2009, 10:00 AM
Always good to have as much education as you need....just don't go broke in the process thinking more is better.

Example of 2 trainers I know very well.....

Trainer #1: Buys everything new in the Perform Better catalog because it is "functional", has the same clients who look the same month after month...and an old rusty car.

Trainer #2: (Ex powerlifter too) Trains clients on simple movements with dumbbells and machines, dials in their diets, they get results, he gets referrals up the nose and can charge $100/30min session...and he drives a Lexus.

Moral of the story....find your balance between the hobby of exercise/fitnes and the business if you really want to be in it for the longterm. If you want to train athletes then go for them....if you want to train overweight people....focus on that....don't try to be a jack of all trades, as the ones who target their niche will be more successful. Find what you enjoy...and works for your clients....and don't get distracted by anything else along the way.

Greg Battaglia
10-26-2009, 11:20 AM
Yeah, good points. I personally want to work with unhealthy people and do my best to get them back to health. That's definitely my niche.