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If you’ve ever struggled to teach a client a particular exercise that they just aren’t getting, you know how frustrating it can feel—for both of you. Your job as a personal trainer is to help clients learn the exercise technique, but that process can get awkward if the client feels embarrassed or discouraged by their lack of mastery. You might also feel this way for missing the mark on how to teach it. Your best line of defense for diffusing these potentially high-pressure situations is to prepare multiple options for breaking down an exercise. Try using the suggestions below as a starting point to achieve success.
Save it until the end
As long as the client isn’t at risk of injury, sometimes it’s best to leave a detailed technique tutorial until the end of the set or better yet, the workout, especially if you’re dealing with a case of “learner’s block” that’s made worse when there’s pressure to perform.
Besides that, you might interrupt the flow of the workout when you spend too much time breaking down an exercise. If a client isn’t getting a particular move, regress it a bit and reserve a few minutes at the end of the session—once the client has cooled down—to “workshop” the exercise progression. With the workout over, there’s less pressure to accomplish the right technique asap.
Cater to multiple learning styles
As a personal trainer, you might have observed that people prefer to learn a new exercise in different ways, such as by watching, listening and/or doing. Usually a combination of all three works well, perhaps with an emphasis on one particular style.
Most personal trainers naturally notice which approach works best for which clients. Still, get in the habit of using a variety of teaching techniques when needed. For example: show the client what the exercise looks like by doing it yourself. As you visually demonstrate, explain what’s happening. Invite clients to perform the exercise with you. Remember that touch, when appropriate and with a client’s permission, can also provide feedback on what to focus on. Continue to demonstrate, explain and perhaps modify as needed.
Use props and tech tools
Trainers are known for using props such as a bar, band or dowel to help demonstrate proper movement angles with clients. Sometimes asking clients to look in the mirror is all it takes for them to see—and correct—what’s going wrong with their form. This might be especially true for people who are visual learners.
If that doesn’t work, or there are no mirrors for them to watch their form, turn to your phone for assistance. Take photos or video of clients in action to help them understand and correct technique problems (be sure to get their permission to do this first). Mobile apps like Coach’s Eye and Hudl Technique allow you to go in-depth with on-the-spot footage or video imported from your camera roll. For example, you can view slow-motion playback and draw lines, angles and arrows on a video or photo to review and analyze problematic or desired movement patterns.
Go back to the drawing board
If a client still hasn’t improved after a thorough tutorial, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the progression you’ve chosen. Re-start the exercise with something less advanced, temporarily eliminating or lightening the load. Remove any other equipment if appropriate and go back to bodyweight basics.
It might also be that the client needs more time to become aware of, and properly isolate, a muscle or muscle group involved in a given exercise before you can move on. Opt for foundational mastery before getting too complex.
Let it go
Finally, if a particular exercise seems to create a stumbling block for multiple clients, you might need to face the fact that it’s not the right exercise for right now. Perhaps some clients need to do more foundational work before they’re ready for this next step. If you can’t logically tweak the movement so it’s more user-friendly, consider ditching it (for the time being, at least).
Personal trainers are responsible for helping fitness clients improve and progress. To that end, carefully break down exercises and carry on from there, using the tips in this blog post.
Do you have additional tips for breaking down exercises with clients? Share your recommendations in the comments section below!
The NASM Certified Personal Trainer Certification and Specializations are developed with NASM's exclusive Optimum Performance Training (OPT™) model, the industry's first comprehensive training system based on scientific, evidence-based research. It takes the guesswork out of program design and helps you produce consistent and remarkable results for your clients. The OPT model was developed to concurrently improve all functional abilities, including flexibility, core stabilization, balance, strength, power, and cardiorespiratory endurance. OPT has been extremely successful in helping clients from diverse populations to reduce their body fat, increase lean muscle mass and strength, and improve performance and overall health.
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Fit-NL is an accredited education institute by EuropeActive. Our courses International Fitness Trainer and NASM Certified Personal Trainer allows you to registrated yourself in the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS). EuropeActive, Fit-NL and EREPS have teamed up with the German advisory boutique edelhelfer to conduct a survey amongst fitness professionals in Europe. To achieve reliable insights into the situation of employees within the fitness industry in general and, personal trainers in particular
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We are very honored that Mike will come to Europe to train NASM Personal Trainers in Brussels.
Date = friday 29th of September 2017
About Mike Fantigrassi
Mike Fantigrassi is director of the department of professional services and Master Instructor at NASM. Mike has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry as fitness manager, personal trainer and nutrition coach. He teaches and regularly acts as an expert in his field of scientific articles, magazines and books. Mike has obtained a degree in Nutrition at the University of Florida and has also obtained a Master of Exercise Science at the CALU.
Mike's specializations: NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS, MMACS. NSCA-CSCS, PN-Level 1.
Session 1: Corrective Exercice-Take your skills to the Next Level (2 hours)
At this session we will discuss why the corrective excersizes are a skill you must have as a Pesonal Trainer.
What is the difference between exercise and corrective exercise. How to perform advanced versions of the NASM overhead squat assessment and single-leg squat assessment. Best practices for identifying and determining compensation. Vi vil også jobbe i hånd med å gå gjennom den fire trinns prosedyre for å inhibere, forlenge, aktivere og integrere det som raskt korrigerer bevegelseskompensasjoner og omskolinger i nervesystemet til bruk for optimale bevægelsesmønstre.
Session 2: Fast Fat Loss-Integrating Nutrition and Exercise to Maximize Fat Loss (2 hours)
Most clients' primary goal is to shed unwanted body fat. In this interactive lecture, we will discuss strategies to maximize fat loss.
Topics will include how to structure exercise programs with periodization to bust through plateaus, what is the right amount of exercise, and what are the top speedbumps that sabotage solid fat loss.
Session 3: Performance Training-Taking Your Clients to the Next Level (2 hours)
At this session you will discover - by combining the concepts of NASM Personal Training and corrective excerzises - why and on which way the Performance Enhancement Specialization (PES) the solution for athlets is.
We will discuss how to approach a client new to performance training versus working with a high level athlete. Types of periodization and which work best depending on the athlete's goal. We will finish the day with practicing hands-on with two key performance assessments and work in small groups training designing Phase 5 strength and power supersets.
Date: September 29, 2017
Time: 9:30 - 16:30 hrs
Location: Brussels (Belgium)
Cost: € 250, -
Included in the price are:
- 3 * 2 hour workshop with Mike Fantigrassi
- Lunch in the afternoon
- Water throughout the day
Payment must be met before commencement of training
Access: These workshops are for personal trainers only with the NASM CPT certificate
More information: www.phyisicalcoachingacademy.be
Speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) training is too often associated with sports and other physically demanding activities. Upon closer observation, we realize we have missed the everyday events and activities that can greatly benefit from SAQ training. You never know when you’re going to run after your kids, play a pick up game of basketball, or cut through the trees during your next ski trip. This method of training can help with the previously mentioned scenarios, but will also enhance workouts for anyone who is involved in recreational sports, exercises on a regular basis, or simply enjoys activities such as walking a dog or playing with their child.
As fitness professionals, we see so many people that come to the health club or gym to run on treadmills, climb on elliptical machines, or pedal away on bikes almost every day. Traditional modes of cardiorespiratory work lend to repetitive motions with little, if any, emphasis towards the frontal or transverse planes of motion. In order to cater to the body’s need for stability in all planes of motion, the fitness professional should integrate movements at varying speeds and body positions into their client’s training plan. This can be made possible with SAQ training, in addition to adjusting exercise selection and techniques.
Speed is defined as the ability to move the body in one direction as fast as possible. Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and quickly change directions with proper posture. Quickness is the ability to react and change body position with a maximum rate of force production (1). All three components will enhance the client workout experience, satisfy the need for cardiorespiratory work, and provide variety in movement direction and position.
Before a new workout is started or modified, the participant needs to go through an assessment process. A kinetic chain assessment (KCA), goal assessment, and PAR-Q are great when they can be used together; however, the KCA will play a big role in program design. This is an opportunity to identify and qualify any recommendations for all components of the clients’ training program. These components include, and are not limited to, warm-up and flexibility, core, balance, reactive, SAQ, strength, and cool down.
The assessment process will not only address the fitness goals but will also give grounds for a corrective exercise strategy for novice and experienced exercisers alike. This client-specific strategy will complement the warm-up and the cool down needs of all workouts, not just those sessions with SAQ. Both the information provided and movements recommended should coincide in providing performance enhancement results as well as support injury prevention measures.
A gradual and structured progression is highly recommended for a client that has not incorporated a regimen for speed, agility or quickness. The following SAQ moves can be implemented 2-3 times/week into an existing workout or as a stand-alone workout with a warm-up and cool down.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique that has been embraced throughout the fitness industry. This effective and simple to do technique delivers positive, feel good results. Foam rollers have become easily accessible, either shared at the gym or found in almost any sporting goods aisle to bring home for a minimal investment. Using the foam roller can deliver improvements in flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just minutes of application.
SMR can be done with a variety of tools beyond foam rollers, such as medicine balls, handheld rollers or other assistive devices. Foam rollers vary in density, surface structure, and even temperature modifications. Whatever the tool or variation selected, SMR focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body that can be negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, or dysfunctional movements. These mechanically stressful actions are recognized as an injury by the body, initiating a repair process called the Cumulative Injury Cycle. This cycle follows a path of inflammation, muscle spasm, and the development of soft tissue adhesions that can lead to altered neuromuscular control and muscle imbalance. The adhesions reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and can eventually cause a permanent change in the soft tissue structure, referred to as Davis’s Law. SMR focuses on alleviating these adhesions (also known as “trigger points” or “knots”) to restore optimal muscle motion and function.
SMR is based on the principal of autogenic inhibition. Skeletal muscle tissue contains muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs (GTO), two neural receptors. Muscle spindles are sensory receptors running parallel to muscle fibers, sensitive to a change and rate of muscle lengthening. When stimulated, they will cause a myotatic stretch reflex that causes the muscle to contract. The GTO receptors, located in the musculotendinous junctions, are stimulated by a change and rate of tension, and when they are stimulated will cause the muscle to relax. When a change in tension is sustained at an adequate intensity and duration, muscle spindle activity is inhibited causing a decrease in trigger point activity, accompanied by a reduction of pain. In simpler terms, when the pressure of the body against the foam roller is sustained on the trigger point, the GTO will “turn off” the muscle spindle activity allowing the muscle fibers to stretch, unknot, and realign.
The Benefits of SMR
The NASM Personal Trainer course includes SMR and is a substantial part of the OPT model.
Be a part of the biggest European event for the fitness community! About 3,000 trainers and instructors will get together for the first time at FIBO in Cologne to train with and learn from the world’s best presenters! Among those who have signed up are GUILLERMO GONZÁLEZ VEGA, GIL LOPES and LUKAS KOLEK.
The programme consists of practical masterclasses on various stages on the following themes: “Group Fitness Freestyle”, “Body & Mind”, “ Group Fitness Pre-Choreographic”, “Hip Hop” and “Aqua Fitness”. What’s more, leading industry speakers will be sharing their know-how in theory seminars!
BE THERE RIGHT FROM THE START TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT Extend your theoretical and practical knowledge Acquire new trainer skills, try out new fitness programmes and be among the first to offer these in your studios Experience the stars of the scene live on stage and try out new trends with “colleagues” from all over Europe Our offering covers ALL aspects of Group Fitness.
Buy your tickets with Euro 10,00 discount. Use the promotional FIT-NL code 2cu4vt7b2q9qmbe6 at the website.
NASM’s exclusive Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model is the industry’s first comprehensive training system based on scientific, evidence-based research.
It takes the guesswork out of program design and helps you produce consistent and remarkable results for your clients. This systematic and integrated (total body) training,
reconditioning and rehabilitation program incorporates six components:
The OPT model focuses on integrated solutions for every fitness level. It’s proven successful in training, reconditioning and rehabilitating elite, college, and recreational athletes alike. It’s also been extremely successful in helping people decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass, improve performance and overall health. In other words, it’s good for every body.
Interested in learning all about the NASM OPT model? Sign in for the English course in Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
Pursue your dreams. Live happier. Improve your life as well as the lives of others. Be your own boss, set your own hours, and go to work in your gym clothes. Best of all, have the job security of working in a growing industry. NASM is the premier science-based certified personal training program founded on the exclusive Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model. You think business casual means workout wear, the office should be equipped with barbells, and success is helping others get healthy, you're ready to turn your passion for fitness into a rewarding profession as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).
All needed information about the National Sports Academy and the Certified Personal Trainer course you'll find on www.nasm.org. To sign in for the English course given in the Netherlands read the information on our website.