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What Would You Do

 

The Situation:

 

Father and Son (Age 45 and 16 approx). Father is teaching his son how to Deadlift. Father takes the bar loads up 30lbs on each side puts it on the floor and then in what amazed me proceeds to bend at the hips down keeping knees locked and lifts the bar up using only the back. Now he has his son do the same thing only the son starts out with much less weight. Rinse and repeat this for 5 sets approx 5 reps each. I am next to them doing squats and while resting am totally amazed that the father is not only teaching his son how to destroy his lower back but that he has the ability to walk since this is his normal deadlift practice.

 

Now I didn't say anything due to the fact that I didn't want to make the Dad seem like he didn't know what he was doing during a father son bonding experience but I almost did.

 

My question is would you have said anything?

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Nope, unless you wanna take his pride with it. Pull the dad off to the side without the kid around to say something. Ask why in particular he was doing so and then recommend the safer alternative.

 

I have the same situation in my gym with a father son... doing squats and the dad made the boy put on a lifting belt. Kid didnt want to and dad said "if i would have known about using a belt when I lifted I would have the bad back that I now have."

 

and the dad has a pot belly... go figure.

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Before going after the dad too much, I'd probably cushion the blow by saying "I'm just curious as to why you're teaching your son stiff-legged deadlifts instead of conventional style, since it's a more advanced lift and requires form to be very precise to avoid injury" and see what his reaction is. That opens up the potential for him to ask "Well, how would YOU suggest teaching him?", and it can go smoothly from there via instruction on what should be doing vs. what he's been teaching The thing is, some people's deadlift style will be very focused on less leg and more lower back, but it's NOT the way you want to start off teaching someone unless, again, it were actually stiff-legged deadlifts he were giving instruction on.

 

I think that the saving grace is that they weren't using too much weight - heck, my wife doesn't even train for lifting and can pull about 150 on any given day, so it's fortunate they were going lighter on those sets

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Yes there saving grace was next to no weight. I just felt bad. His squats were nearly as bad he uses a Smith Machine and for some reason puts his feet all the way out in front of his body and what appears to me as using the bar to actually hold himself up as he squats. I mean with all the instructional videos on YouTube and nearly every other website around and the fact that there are two trainers on staff at the gym why not ask or do some research prior to attempting a lift you might not be that familiar with.

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I think VeganEssentials had a great suggestion. It's always important, pride or not, to help someone out if they're doing something that could potentially damage themselves. If in a group setting (in this case, dad and son), use tact. Hell, it's always good to use tact, but even more so when you're talking to more than one person...the other guy's pride gets in the way of listening.

 

If you're too worried to go up yourself, have one of the gym's trainers help out.

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Good advice so far. I guess it all depends on how good of a Samaritan you want to be. As was pointed out, there are ways of approaching someone which come across as friendly and helpful instead of hostile or condescending. I had some "friendly advice" from experienced lifters the first few times I went to the gym, and while some of it wasn't game-changing, it was clear their intentions were to help out, and I appreciated it.

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