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How Knowledgeable is Your Personal Trainer?

Over 125 million Americans suffer from at least one chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and a staggering 33% are considered obese.  In order to tackle these scary statistics we need to call upon knowledgeable and well-trained fitness professionals.  Unfortunately, many fitness professionals lack the knowledge to become effective agents of change, and others are misguided by faulty information.  The average personal trainer has the ability to demonstrate proper exercise form and motivate a client through an intense workout, but very few can answer one simple question: WHY?

WHY are clients doing these exercises?  WHY are these exercises effective or not effective in helping clients achieve their goals?  As a result, many trainers habitually design ineffective workouts that do not benefit clients or even workouts that cause frustration and injury.

  • An overweight client doing crunches
  • An elderly client using exercise machines
  • A client doing back extensions to alleviate back pain
  • An athlete doing heavy squats to increase their vertical jump

These are prime examples of popular exercises that are completely inappropriate for the intended purpose.  Functional training methodology, based on scientific proof, states that every movement needs to have a purpose.

  • An overweight client should focus on interval circuit training using full-body movements
  • An elderly client should avoid machines in order to enhance balance and stability by using free-weight and bodyweight exercises
  • Back pain should decrease with functional core exercises done in a standing position
  • Athletes should progress to explosive plyometric movements to increase their vertical

So before you pick the most common exercises or workouts that many consider cool and fun, ask yourself WHY.  Are you providing a service or a disservice to your value client base?

 

Jerry Nguyen

PFT Program Chair, CHCP Austin