Functional Training Zones

Call Them Like You See Them

By: Michael Boyle, MA, ATC

The expression “I call like them like I see them” is actually derived from the baseball umpire calling balls and strikes.  In other words, the ump decides if it’s a ball or strike. However, the concept of calling things as you see them also has great application to strength and conditioning and to personal training.

The idea for this article actually came from a conversation with one of our coaches who had just taken a new job. He came back and said “wow, they ( the coaches at the new job) have strange names for some exercises”. “They call lateral bounds Heidens and they call the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat a Bulgarian Lunge”.

My response was “we used to call lateral bounds Heidens also but in the last few years I’ve made a conscious effort to call exercises as we see them”.

Calling it as we see it makes it easy for everyone to speak the same language. When I say I want a Half Kneeling Chop, I think it is pretty easy for someone to figure out what I want.  A pullup is pretty easy to envision? You grab on and pull up.

However, if I say Pallof Press, Cook Hip Lift or Heiden, people can easily get confused. Don’t get me wrong, I like John Pallof and Gray Cook a lot but, we need to move away from names that it make it difficult to communicate.

It’s much like speaking a foreign language. The language of strength and conditioning should be consistent world wide so everyone can read everyone else’s programs

Here are just a few examples:

We don’t do Pallof Presses, we do Anti-Rotation Presses

We don’t do Cook Hip Lifts, we simply do Hip lifts or better yet, Single Leg Bridges

We don’t do Bulgarian Lunges, we do Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats ( PS- it’s not a lunge unless you step)

We don’t do Heidens, we do Lateral Bounds ( no offense to now Dr. Heiden)

We don’t hurdle hop, we hurdle jump ( hop is one leg, jump is two!)

I’m sure there are lots of other examples. The important thing is that if we are going to continue to develop as a profession we need to be consistent in our exercise descriptions. As you develop your programs, try to lose the people and country references and call the exercise exactly what it is. Remember, even though everyone in your gym understands that doesn’t mean that a reader thousands of miles away will.

I’ll leave you with one last example. Years ago a coach from California called me and said “wow, your programming must really work. I can’t get one of my athletes to hop over a 30 inch hurdle and your athletes do 5 sets of 5”.  Of course our athletes were doing double leg hurdle jumps but, my old program this coach had said “hurdle hops 5x5 30”. Oops?

Seems small but, small mistakes can be big.

(November 2015)