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Max Shank Interview Part 2 – Strength Training, Showing Off, Lunges For People With Only One Leg, and Knowing Who To Listen To

Max Shank Zercher Squat

This is a man who knows what a good time is.

Read Part one of the Max Shank interview.

Josh: Max, you mentioned doing feats of strength for “shock value.” How do you know if you are inspiring your clients, or intimidating them? Do you even think about it? I know some guitar teachers who basically only take students so they have someone to play complicated solos for. Sad sad sad.

Max: I don’t throw my strength in anyone’s face. In fact, when I demonstrate a technique, 99% of the time I will use an bright pink 8kg kettlebell. On this same line of thinking, I don’t work out with my clients. Seems like a small thing, but if you coach people, don’t work out with them–you’ll miss things that are potentially dangerous.

Josh: I like what you said about everyone with abs being an expert. I have heard you advocate for “walking the walk.” I’m personally thinking about that Jersey Shore guy, whose infomercial I recently had the extreme displeasure of watching. But what’s on the other side of this? How good does a trainer need to look? How strong does a strength coach need to be?

I feel that if you take someone’s money you accept the criticism that comes with it. At what point is someone not walking the walk?
Max: There are exceptions to every rule, but you should at least practice what you preach. If you are 50lbs overweight, barring some medical condition, you’re not a fat loss expert in my eyes.

Same thing with strength, it’s all relative, but you should at least practice what you preach. The only caveat is that there are some truly excellent coaches (strength, sports, etc) who are fat, weak and the most conditioning work they get during the week is peeling an uncooperative orange.

Trainers and fitness experts are the worst, because some of them just flat out suck at fitness and training. So there has to be a balance. In the end, I’d rather have an out of shape coach who actually knew something about training, than I would have captain abs’ latest and greatest special report of the top 100 ab crunch variations.

Josh: You talk about not jumping on the bandwagon and doing what you’re told. Do you ever just take someone’s advice as truth? Do you need to test everything out for yourself? Where is the line between doing what you’re told (assuming that you consider the person doing the telling to be knowledgeable) and thinking for yourself? How do you reconcile the two?

Max: Everyone has a filter. It has to do with how we determine whether or not we think a person is smart; if you agree with what they are saying you think, “boy that guy sure knows what he’s talking about.”

If they say something you disagree with you’re first thought is, “wow, that guy’s an idiot.”

So the filter is individual. I take everything with a grain of salt and usually try it out myself if I think it is something I want to implement for myself or members at my gym.

I think that everyone should join me on the common sense bandwagon. No lunges for anyone who only has one leg, you heard it here first.

The more you read and the more you understand, it becomes easier to quickly spot something that is worthless or something that has a lot of potential value. Being the boss at Ambition Athletics, I get to decide what is good or evil and have the power to eliminate or implement training philosophies, ideas, or equipment.

Please visit Max at Strong as Hell, or swing by his gym Ambition Athletics if you have the urge to experience a rear naked choke from someone powerful.

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