Under Armor has come up with some great advertising over the years—but its current Taylor Hall campaign is not up to previous standards.
I liked the Click-Clack campaign.
I also liked Protect This House.
And I really love Will Finds a Way, featuring The Rock.
But the new Ugly Reps series with New Jersey Devils star Taylor Hall is sub-par.
Lift Well, Get Stronger
The new Ugly reps campaign can usually be found during hockey games. It features Hall doing trap-bar deadlifts and banded squats.
I’ve got no problem with the movements or even the technique. My issue is with the line that closes out the commercial:
“The uglier the rep, the stronger it makes you.”
This is totally false.
Hard reps and smart training make you strong. Ugly reps increase the chances of injury even if they aren’t guaranteed to cause injury. At best, they’re very inefficient.
I realize this is just a marketing slogan, but it gives people the wrong impression about lifting. We’ve built a business around coaching people to do things properly so they get strong fast. We don’t want to waste time with sloppy movement and inefficient technique.
So we teach our clients from 5 to 82 years old to use great reps.
If you watch Hall in the videos, he isn’t using particularly heavy weight, and he doesn’t actually do a single ugly rep. He lifts pretty well—especially on the deadlift, where you can see his lumbar curve. That’s good form.
Strength coaches working with pro athletes would be remiss in their duties if they actually allowed superstar athletes to perform ugly reps, and Hall has clearly been coached by someone who wants him to perform well on the ice.
What Under Armour is trying to say is that “hard work and effort make you stronger,” and that’s true. But that doesn’t make a rep “ugly.”
In our gym, we coach people to perform great reps. That doesn’t mean they don’t work hard. There’s nothing wrong with a challenging heavy lift with good form. In fact, reps like that are key to building strength.
So the next time you see the Under Armour campaign, know that it’s a dud. And now you can tell people why.
Hall isn’t lifting ugly. Hall is lifting well and working hard. As he should.
If you’re working hard but not sure if you’re lifting well, come see us. We can help.