The Strength of Social Media

No, this is not a post about the strength of social media in the world we live in today. This is a post about the abomination of strength as a physical trait and how social media is ruining the world of strength and conditioning.

As a strength and conditioning coach and avid enthusiast in sports and fitness, I have dedicated the past 8 years of my life to expanding my knowledge in the scientific principles of the following physical traits: Strength, Speed, Power & Size. By no means does this make me an expert and I am accepting of how much I still have to learn but there are a few things I know to be true and one of them is that there is a lot of silly training happening on Instagram/twitter and none of them are backed by the scientific principles I have come to know.

I could talk about this for hours and there are so many rabbit holes I can go down, but I will not bore you with the “science” and statistics of it all. What I will be covering is the imagery of training that is put on social media of top athletes doing things that are perceived as elite due to the media coverage of the video but in fact have no translation to the development of athleticism for the rest of the population or to them for that matter.

When top athletes and their trainers use their social media accounts to promote themselves as fitness professionals, things can and most often do go wrong.

FIRST UP, ALVIN KAMARA

This is a video of Alvin Kamara catching color coordinated sticks while balancing on a physio- ball. Via: Bleacher Report

Although this might be an impressive feat and difficult to do, the issue I have is that Alvin Kamara is one of the most genetically gifted people in the world when considering his physical traits that translate to football and when a young athlete who sees him training this way, it gives them the perception that if they train like this they could be the next Alvin Kamara. A young athlete will not realize that Alvin Kamara has built the speed, strength, and football specific skills to make him one of the best football players in the NFL from years of training and practice. The circus act he is performing in this video is just a display of these skills.

NEXT UP, JON JONES

After reading the title and caption in the image above, I hope a couple things stood out to you but if they didn’t, I will highlight them now.

“Showed his insane strength by squatting a 225lbs barbell five times.”

Five Times?

225lbs?

Insane strength?

If you do not find the humor in that, then we can’t be friends. A grown man and better yet a professional athlete who weighs 205lbs himself squatting 225lbs five times is a warmup. To call this feat of strength “Insane” is that exact situation I referenced in the beginning of this blog when I said, “the abomination of strength as a physical trait”.

In no way do I blame Jon Jones for this because he clearly did not write the article and he could in fact be using this set of five at 225lbs as a warmup. I blame the person who wrote the article. Which brings me to my next point on the matter. People who are not trained in the world of strength and conditioning or people who do not have a base knowledge in training should not be in a position to write such statements. How many hands did this article go through before being published and how did no one laugh in the writer’s face?

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, LEBRON JAMES

Picture of Lebron Squatting Via: Men’s Health

Oh Lebron,

This video of Lebron went viral due to the clear lack of “Good Form” in the set and Lebron was “Dragged” through social media for it. I believe this is the perfect way to wrap up my quarrel with training on social media. Lebron is clearly one of the best athletes in the world and you would expect him to know how to do a basic barbell squat but clearly, he does not or his training has coached him in to something meme worthy.

Just because its on social media, goes viral or your favorite athlete is doing it does not mean it is a good idea.  The lack of knowledge in training knows no bounds and social media has given a voice to the uneducated in the matter.

Social media could be a great place for young athletes to find advice on how to improve themselves as athletes but currently that space is occupied by the inexperienced. In order to make progress in this issue, more real strength coaches need to put out media on Instagram and twitter. This is something that won’t come without a fight because most experienced strength coaches are “Old School” and hate the idea of having a social media account. Social media is very important to grow a brand but currently the brands that are growing are in my opinion, the wrong ones. Come on Strength Coaches, stand up and post something!!!

Questions:

What are some of the crazy videos you have seen on social media that had you scratching your head?

Do you automatically think the more followers a coach has equates to their level of experience in their job?

What would you tell a young athlete who is doing something that is questionable because they saw their favorite player doing it?

References

Ellis, Philip. (2019, November 27th). Alvin Kamara’s Trainer Just Shared a Few of His Difficult Offseason Workouts. Men’s Health, Doi: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a30024633/nfl-alvin-kamara-workout-stability/

Watch: Jon Jones Squat 225 lbs With Ease During His Last Workout. (2020, June 27th). FR24 News, Doi: https://www.fr24news.com/a/2020/06/watch-jon-jones-squats-225-lbs-with-ease-during-his-last-workout.html

Ellis, Philip. (2019, August 29th). The Internet Just Dragged Lebron James For His ‘Sexy’ SquATS. Here’s How to do Them Right. Men’s Health, Doi: https://www.menshealth.com/entertainment/a28856565/lebron-james-squats-workout-instagram-video/

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