“Do” not “Try” this.

I recently had the opportunity to work with a some great personal trainers, and movement educators in their domains, the gym and personal studios.  A common thread I was made aware of seemed to be a bit of an insult, looking in on the training as a non participant.  I am wondering if this is taught, or just something that some trainers fall into?

In screening movement and reeducation, it seems to be common place to use the word “try” rather than “do”.  In performing the screening of movement function, the trainers would cleverly discover a movement pattern dysfunction: ankle flexion, hip extension, trunk rotation, rib basket expansion, etc.

Moving on to the reeducation segment of the training.  The trainers, armed with the information of dysfunctional segments of movement in the kinetic chain, would use the word “try”.  “Try to bring the hip into extension.”, “Try to feel the glute max fire as you come through this portion of extension.”  With a simple reassurance that the tissue was not firing, a sideways glance, or a slight chuckle, the trainer may now has the client in the position to become a junkie, a student, a follower.

I am curious, at which phase these trainers move into saying things like “Bring the hip into extension.” or “Feel the glute max fire as you come into extension.” with some positive verbal reinforcement and kinesthetic cueing?

I can’t recall if it was my Mom, track coach, Boy Scout leader or who at some point I heard the phrase “There is no trying, only doing.”  This phrase has been ingrained in my brain and being.  If I really want something, this is how I approach it, and I share this with my clients.  I like to see my clients succeed as quickly as possible.

I invite your feedback, please help me understand this.


Filed under body mechanics, Flagstaff pain relief, High altitude training

4 responses to ““Do” not “Try” this.

  1. Most of my cues are specific and direct but I do use the word try sometimes. I also believe the word “try” is adequate in some cases. The reason why we use “try” rather than “do” or “feel” (which I use most) is to reasure the client that there is no penalty for not getting it right as long as maximum effort is present. I want my clients to have good mechanics, work hard and enjoy the time they spend exercising. So sometimes we do,other times we feel and some other times we try but the message is always clear.

  2. gbishop75

    Thank you for the response Luis. I do realize that, for many, the primary goal is to assist the client/patient achieve wellness. I have not seen you work, and I was not generalizing in saying “In screening movement and reeducation, it seems to be common place to use the word “try” rather than “do”.

  3. Noa

    The same goes for coaching… but I guess it depends on who you are working with. I never use the word ‘try’, mainly because I don’t work with athletes who would respond favorably to that. I would assume a coach who primarily works with beginners might use ‘try’ rather than ‘do’?


  4. Siene

    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of the words that we use in our work. As a massage therapist and personal trainer, I spend 40-50 hours a week with clients, educating them about their bodies and encouraging them to develop body awareness. However, I realized that I have also fallen victim to the “try” rather than “do” approach frequently. This week, I am going to be more purposeful in the language that I use!

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