Friday, November 4, 2011

Personal Training: Be Critical of Circus Trainers by Anders N W Lindgreen

If you are new to personal training and are observing local trainers in your gym or outside to determine whether they are good or not, you should be more mindful of client retention, results and interaction than what you see them do in the gym. It is easy to assume that the trainer who teaches his client to do the most spectacular (or sometimes downright dumb) exercises should be trainer for choice – and her or she well may be, but you need to be aware of a few things.

While it is extremely impressive to see people doing squats on a Swiss Ball, is it functional and is it safe? Actually, let’s ignore the safety aspect of the client falling off breaking his or her neck (or someone else’s) and let’s look at the exercise itself. To stand on a Swiss Ball takes increasable balance and core strength, but should we squat on it? It’s a challenge you say, but think of the person’s feet. In order to remain balanced on a round object the client needs to have his or her feet turned inwards. Now see if you can see anyone in the gym doing squats with their feet like that, or try to think of any situation in everyday life where we need to take look through such a position. I can’t think of any.

If the client specifically asked to learn this circus skill, that’s all good and fine, but if it’s the trainer’s way to show off his skill – it’s all bad in my eyes. You see, there are millions of ways to make exercise harder and sometimes it’s viable and sometimes it’s not. Just because something is more challenging doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better for you and if you as a client is looking to lose weight, then you are really wasting your time. Don’t think I’m beating my own drum here, I am not, I am just educating you on what to look out for. It doesn’t even have to be a squat on a Swiss Ball, that was only an example, and I’ve got hundreds of them. And if you saw me training in the gym, either by myself or with one of my clients, I would love to be criticised just the same. More knowledgeable clients will keep good personal trainers on their toes and force the ones with no thought behind their set-up to find a more suitable occupation.