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Thread: Cue Prioritization

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    elk grove, ca

    Default Cue Prioritization

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    I was recently evaluated to become an SSC in San Diego. Overwhelmingly and unanimously the response was I did not clearly demonstrate a knowledge of the priority of cuing deviations I saw in the lifts. This seems to be subjective to a certain degree. A few things:

    Thing 1 is there a source of an objective list of priorities? To alleviate confusion. I searched the site and there was a thread from 2013. I realize that dangerous movement is important to address first. And Wolfe makes mention of this, but still leaves a lot up to interpretation.

    Thing 2 if there are multiple deviations, do you continue to address one, the most important one, until it is fixed for a set, in order to not overwhelm the lifter? Or Would it be prudent to address them for several sets or individual reps? Guess that depends on the severity of the deviation. (Did i just answer mu own question?!?!) At what point do you address other deviations? I guess is my main question.

    I want to continue to grow as a coach and would appreciate any insight!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    Welcome to the wonderful world of coaching the barbell lifts.

    If the thread you're referencing is the one I'm thinking of, Wolf does a good job of explaining a lot of what you're asking. I can't find the thread now, but I'll likely reiterate what he wrote. There's no official list of priorities for cueing.

    First, you have to remember the criteria for exercise selection - most muscle mass, longest effective ROM, move the most weight. Then you'd need to know what the hallmarks of a properly performed lift are. There are things that will be consistent, regardless of anthropometry, for the vast majority of the population when performing the lifts according to the Starting Strength model. Exercise selection criteria and the models of the lift are inextricably linked, so keep this in mind when coaching or thinking about the movements.

    So let's take the deadlift. Distill it down to it's most basic, diagnostic points of performance. Every point of the 5-step setup process is meant to put the lifter in a position to move the bar from the ground to the lockout in a straight vertical path, so they can lift the most weight and train all of the musculature involved. My point is that if you look at form deviations and cueing to correct them as a list or boxes that you need to tick-off, and don't understand why they need to be addressed or how they affect the lift, then it'll be tough effectively coaching the movement. The greater you understand why the lifts need to move like they do, the better you'll be able at seeing and diagnosing the root cause of movement or setup errors.

    Here's a thought experiment to practice on your own. With the lift models and exercise criteria in mind, can you describe a perfectly performed lift to someone that has never seen it before in as few words as possible?

    Hopefully these points have helped and you find yourself doing some introspection on where your strong points and weak points are. There's also several resources available now that weren't when I was studying to earn the certification. Have you checked out the Careers tab above? There are camps and courses available that you may find helpful.

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