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Alwyn Cosgrove

Alwyn Cosgrove on Program Design and Being an Effective Coach – Ep 9

Alwyn Cosgrove is the founder of Results Fitness, based in Newhall CA. Alwyn has featured in Mens Health, T-Nation and Bodybuilding.com. He has recently appeared on Fox News, discussing the current pandemic and how it effects fitness gyms.

He is also the creator of Results Fitness University, dedicated to helping fitness professionals to build their business.



Key Discussion Points

Alwyn Cosgrove is a former ITF Taekwondo competitor and a 4th degree black belt. At the beginning of this episode, Alwyn talks about the impact that martial arts has had on his life and how it has influenced his career as a fitness professional. The biggest nugget of information that Alwyn offers us here is that “strength is a cheat code.” There are weight divisions for a reason. Strength is an advantage in the ring.

I asked Alwyn if static flexibility could fit into a warm up. He explained that we are temporarily weaker directly after a static stretch. However, if we were to implement additional dynamic work, the negative effects of the static stretching may be completely undone. Furthermore, a static stretch can aid in improving our skeletal alignment. For example, a kneeling hip flexor stretch (couch stretch) can aid those who sit down too much as their hips are often quite short.

I first came across Alwyn Cosgrove in a YouTube series called Strength Coach TV. In Results Fitness, they utilise TV screens to guide the coaches and the clients through their warm up protocols. Alwyn warns us that the TV screens are not a replacement for good instruction but a tool to guide the coaches.

Alwyn made a strong case for training the abdominals first. Whatever you train first gets the most out of the workout. As you can’t have too strong a core, it makes sense to start there. You may argue that this will be detrimental to your primary lifts but Alwyn hasn’t found this to be the case at Results Fitness.

At Results Fitness, they use the RAMP warm up protocol. This stands for Raise the heart rate, Activate the muscle, Mobilise the joint and movement Preparation. Plyometrics, or as Alwyn calls it “elasticity,”  is best done when you’re warm and fresh. This will enhance your strength work.

Elasticity is built in levels. Level one is a box jump. This limits the ground reaction force of the exercise and therefore offers less pressures. Level two involves jumps in place or jumping over an object, which of course offers the ground reaction force that box jumps neglects. The third level is depth jumps. These progressions are always offered after a client learns to absorb force.

Psychology trumps physiology.

A depth jump is the last bullet in the gun. Even a six inch depth jump offers substantial forces. Alwyn encourages coaches to consider the risks that are associated with such a lift.

Alwyn argues for training economy. This involves getting the most amount of muscles activated in the shortest amount of time. For example, why add an Incline Bench Press and a Flat Bench Press to your training if they train the same muscle group or the same movement pattern? If you can’t justify why an exercise is in a programme and why that exercise is in that particular order, take it out.

Periodisation simply means some sort of planning and direction. In traditional periodisation, we look at the relationship between load and volume. When programming for a general population client, consider their needs. If they don’t want to gain maximal strength, maybe they wish to get leaner. Furthermore, the training cycle doesn’t need to be as strict. Keep the planning loose and be flexible in your approach.

When programming for strength, consider why the athlete isn’t strong in the first place. Does the athlete have a weak chain in the link? For example, if your back gives out during a heavy squat, maybe you should do more core work. Alwyn mentions that Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 method is an excellent approach to building strength for both athletes and the general population.

Alwyn is a survivor of stage 4 cancer. Whilst recovering in hospital, he offered business consulting with his friend Eric Creasy of Creasy Sports Performance. This, along with many other enquiries, had inspired Alwyn to open Results Fitness University. Results Fitness University offers Alwyn’s years of experience in the fitness industry.

When it comes to time management, we need to consider energy management. How much energy are we brining to our time? Are we as good on a Friday evening with our last client, as we are on a Monday morning with our first? It is important to minimise tasks to the most essential. When you say yes to something, you’ve said no to something else. If you add a task, what are you going to stop doing?

If Alwyn was to start his career from scratch, he would improve his business and communication skills faster. He would also invest more in coaching so that he could learn faster.


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