And shut the f**k up!

Rapid firing movement cues to your client during an exercise is dumb.

The desire to see a movement pattern performed PERFECTLY is understandable. After all, as a coach, your job is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your clients strength training program.

Choose the most important cue and have your client focus on that.

The squat, as basic as it seems, has so many intricacies that, if you were to explain them all at once to even a novice lifter, the information would be overwhelming.

That’s when prioritizing the cueing process comes in.

Take the squat for example again. What about that squat, for that person, needs urgent attention. A flexed spine? Diving forward on the way down? A shift to one side? “Caving” knees? A reminder for core bracing?

Imagine if you mentioned all of those, plus more, to a client in the middle of a squat set.

I have to confess, I’m guilty of this often. The need to correct and sometimes just TALK leads me to overwhelm a client during a set with a barrage of feedback.

Sometimes I tell myself to just shut up and watch during a set, saving my simplified feedback for after the set when the client can pay closer attention.

So, if a fix has to be made on the spot, pick the most important thing that can be fixed with a simple cue. Let the client focus entirely on that one thing until they don’t have to focus on it anymore. Then pick another one.

Throwing up information all over a client during a complicated exercise will only hinder their ability to improve the movement. And they might just get annoyed.


Something else to consider is whether or not a cue CAN fix the movement on the spot. Cueing someone with poor thoracic mobility to simply “keep their back straight” wont fix the problem on the fly. Most fixes require some specific strengthening, which takes time to correct. Cue only the aspects of movement the client is CAPABLE of improving, and has simply lost focus on.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS