What is Your Intent?

By Sparta Science

February 13, 2019

Recently there was a post on Instagram by trainer Ben Bruno in which he shared his stance on a well-known exercise, which was titled, “Why I Don’t Like Burpees.” Now to some this may look like another trainer throwing shade on a popular, yet often poorly executed exercise. However, the intriguing part of this post was not his hate for the movement, but rather the choice to do the movement in the first place.

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What is the goal, or intent?

The intent is a word that has become popularized in the physical preparation world, as it helps hold us accountable to have a reason or a ‘why’ for everything that we prescribe for the athlete. Intent should also refer to the overall intention of the program itself… what is the goal of training at all? Availability? Movement quality? The plan of “getting fit” or “in shape” is far too broad. Throwing in movements in which the individual has no business doing is a surefire way to halt progress before it even begins.

in·tent noun

\1. intention or purpose.

What are the chances these athletes will injure themselves during these movements? Source: T-Nation

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Success leaves clues.

Have you ever seen a pro strength coach prescribe burpees? Probably my favorite line, as Ben eludes to how success is about having a plan based off individual needs, goals, and preferences. Like coaches, good trainers are good teachers. We need to understand that what we do is a means to an end, and the only true way to judge the effectiveness of these means, is to evaluate the ‘end.’

In athletics, and many other worlds as well, there is nothing more pertinent to the goal than availability. The great debate of Olympic lifting in the collegiate setting is a perfect example. Many coaches choose not to do them for lack of time to properly teach them to their athletes, and instead program an alternate, “safer” movement to accomplish the same task. While many may disagree with that logic, the idea is to eliminate risk to accomplish a goal. The best chances of winning are when the best players are healthy and ready to perform - and the same goes for general population, military, and fitness.

Be able to explain the “Why’s?” behind every movement or tactic.

It’s fair to say that great coaches are great salesman. Oftentimes, selling brings a poor image; a pushy salesman with a hidden agenda that benefits only one person. The reality is that all great coaches excel at sales, especially when you consider the definition of coaching, “the transfer of knowledge from one person to another.” Perhaps a more palatable term for selling is education. Enabling your client to understand why you do or do not do a certain movement will help them to buy into everything else you’re suggesting on the menu. It’s not about you.

Takeaways:

  1. Always have a plan. Understanding the “why” for everything is important.
  2. The most important ability is availability. Without health, there is no longevity.
  3. Be able to sell your intent. Educating your clients on a daily basis is part of it.

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