Why It’s Important To Understand Movement As A Personal Trainer

Screenshot_2016-05-03-14-32-11If you’ve been in or around the fitness industry a while you’ve probably had exposure to a wide array of training styles, systems and programs.

You’ve also probably developed a bias towards a particular type of training or system – it may have got results for your clients or it maybe the way you like to train – either way you probably have a go-to training style, program or system that you use.

This is definitely not a bad thing. It’s great to get results for clients and it’s great to be known for something, but sometimes the need for a specialised skill set arises and you may have to step away from your default training style, system or program.

At this point a trainer will often do one of two things:

  1. Argue that their type of training lays the ground work for specific training (may be true)
  2. Go and find exercises that might be more relevant and add them in to the program. (might be a good thing)

In the past as a trainer I’ve done of both these things and neither produced bad results for my clients.

To offer the next level of service though, what I really needed was a different way of thinking…

Rather than trying to mould a clients training around a bias (like strength training) it’s important to consider the clients end goal first, then look at the way they perform their sport, then look at building a series of exercises geared towards the client and their end goals, set at a difficulty level appropriate for the client.

The Thought Process

Step 1 – Gather Information

Analysing the Touch Rugby long pass

The first thing I do is gather all of the information about a client’s specific goals.

  • What do they do? (sport)
  • What do want to do better? (goals)
  • Where to they think their problem lies (perception of own skill, physiology or psychology)

From here you may get a Touch Rugby player that wants to prevent recurrent injuries and also wants to improve their sport specific movement, get faster and be more agile.

Or you may get a Dancer who wants to improve their mobility and address their body’s imbalances.

Once you have gathered the clients goals you can then think about assessment.

Step 2 – Client Movement Assessment

A task-driven test of Thoracic Lateral Flexion

If we use the client examples above it’s pretty obvious that both have totally different end goals and so their training will be different and their assessments will be different too.

However, the first thing I will often do is watch a client walk. A gait assessment can give a good indication of how a client’s body likes to move at the foot, hip and spine which will more often than not translate into their sport-specific movements too.

If a client isn’t injured, the next thing I get them to do is perform a typical but non-specific movement of their sport – so I would get a Touch Rugby Player to run (probably forwards, backwards and laterally) and I would get a dancer to perform a typical moving warm up routine.

If a client has a specific skill related goal I will then assess how they perform the skill they perceive to be a problem.

From here you can then start to break down their problematic movement and work on individual components of that movement, like biomechanics, ROM, strength, balance etc.

Step 3 – Training

Once I’ve highlighted the problems in a clients movement I will then go about creating specific exercises for that client to help them improve the skill they need to get closer to their goal.

The exercises I create will match reflect the end goal movement as closely as possible, making sure every movement has a specific point.

Once your exercises are built it’s then a case of matching the movements you’ve created to the energy system(s) of the sport and then building them in to a unique program.

Hopefully you can see that generic testing, exercises and programs may be fine for your client but if you really want to be sure, it’s better to have a wider knowledge base.

Want To Learn More About Movement Assessment And Exercise Creation?

Cardiff Physio Dani using Functional Therapy to help her back from her running injuries

If you’re a Personal Trainer and you want to learn how to assess your clients’ movement and then start building specific exercises for them, why not get on our FASTER AFT Course.

This is the course that I started with when I wanted to up-skill and start understanding movement better.

Learn more about the course here…

Click here – http://www.sportfunction.com/advanced-functional-trainer-performance-aft-live-2/

Hopefully see you there!