Most of those who seek out personal training, are confronted with impressive sounding personal training qualifications and almost instantly accept them at face value, calmly trusting the trainer with their physical health without further ado. They don’t ask nearly enough questions (if any at all) but nevertheless, on what amounts to literally negligible awareness of that trainer’s actual level/quality of professional training and the in depth details/nature of their experience, still place their safety and wellbeing in their hands.
This situation is very common indeed, with vast numbers of people unquestioningly accepting whatever ‘personal training’ they receive as being appropriate, correct and precisely what is supposed to happen for their very individual needs. Apart from the disturbingly short training periods required to attain a very large number of the impressive sounding personal training qualifications out there, other numerous negatives abound too; such as measures that should always happen but usually don’t! Such things are what every personal training client has the right to automatically receive, simply as the basic elements of the service provided to them.
Below are merely a few of them, but a competent and professional trainer will be doing all of these correctly and much more.. So I wonder….what level of service do you get…..are about to receive…. or have had in the past?
- – A credibly comprehensive health and nutrition questionnaire provided, and always completed BEFORE any exercise is attempted.To professionally justify the term ‘credibly comprehensive’, it would most certainly need to be at the very least.. 5 pages of A4.
- – A realistic physical assessment performed… BEFORE any exercise is attempted. It is most unfortunate but nevertheless perfectly true, that very few personal trainers have the depth of qualification/specific biomechanical expertise to perform full head to foot Range of Motion testing. However; although they are not as in-depth or as comprehensively efficient as a full Range of Motion Test, there are other smaller testing procedures that at least help to get things a little more on the ‘right track’ and take the client a tad closer to receiving safer and genuinely personalised training. The basic but nevertheless helpful ‘gait and posture test’ is just one of them.
- – So the bottom line truly is….. that no person should embark upon anything presented to them as personal training, before they have completed a professionally realistic questionnaire and received formal pre-exercise testing. These are crucial components for ensuring any personal training client’s safety and injury free progress.
- – Completely and without fail, throughout their entire session, the client must totally occupy 100% of their trainer’s attention and focus.
- – The trainer should NEVER be looking around the room/exercise area in any way at any time, but be focused entirely upon the client and every single move that they make throughout their session from start to finish… and nothing less is acceptable.
- – Apart from an initial demonstration if necessary, a trainer should NEVER actually exercise themselves between a client’s exercise intervals, as in doings sets themselves between the client’s sets. It is not the trainer’s place to use any client as a training partner because doing so is a profoundly unprofessional practice, but the lame excuse often used for this type of behaviour, is that it’s part of client ‘motivation’ Yeah right, as we say!
- – Between periods of exertion when a client is resting, the trainer should always be watching them intently, to observe and note for physical adjustment purposes, exactly how the client has biomechanically reacted to the exercise. The client’s rest periods for example, could be spent stretching the muscle groups they have just used, because one law of muscle physiology states ‘ the more you stretch a muscle, the more powerfully it contracts’, so this principle can be positively harnessed to assist the energy/efficiency of the client’s next set, or for any following use of that muscle group.
- – If a client is running, jogging or power-walking, the trainer should NEVER be right next to them.
- – In a closely adjacent position, it is physically impossible for the trainer to view how the client is biomechanically reacting to what is happening and then, by the conclusions derived from those observations, decide what biomechanical adjustments are necessary to ask them to make or consider. It is the observations made during this process and the consequent recommendations implemented as a result, which ensures that the client is exercising at their safest physical ‘best’ and not biomechanically moving towards an injury scenario without consciously realising it themselves. Simply out there just running, jogging or power-walking with the client is profoundly inadequate, in terms of providing a client with a proper personal training service which maximises both their safety and progress.
- – For accurate and effective biomechanical observation purposes, being either three or four metres behind the client, or three or four metres to the side of them are a trainer’s optimum efficiency positions. Also, changing sides en route is a very important course of action, as posture and physical reaction signals can differ right and left.
But…. how many of you out there always have your trainer jogging, running or power-walking right there next to you!
- – NB. Exercise caution when the personal trainer is some constantly explosive, hyper-energetic demon in action.
Motivation is all very well, but making closely accurate observations of a client’s reactions to exercise along with the specifics of their physical adaptations, is extremely important. This absolute necessity is pretty much impossible to achieve, if the trainer is leaping around this way and that, to a very pronounced degree. Remember…. a client should be paying for and duly receiving… intelligently structured personal training, not retaining the services of what can sometimes amount to nothing more than an energetic cheerleader!
Bringing energy and enthusiasm into one to one personal training is fine, but most definitely not at a level which can pro-actively compromise safety and efficiency.