The purpose of this guide is to pull back the curtain on some of the issues to be watching out for when working with a personal trainer.
There’s one phrase that needs close attention, and that is”scope of practice.” Scope of practice is a term generally utilized in the medical field that dictates the bounds within which physicians and therapists can work. This is applicable to any personal trainer as well, since there are a few boundaries that a trainer should not cross.
The first practice is massage. In most states massage therapists will need to be licensed. The name licensed is key, here. The definition of licensure is as follows:
Under the licensure system, states specify, by statute, the tasks and function or scope of practice of a profession and provide that these tasks could be legally performed only by those that are licensed. As such, licensure prohibits anyone from practicing the profession who is not licensed, no matter whether the individual was certified by a private organization.”
Certifications, on the other hand, are a voluntary procedure provided by a PRIVATE organization that states the obtainer has finished preset coursework and a potential exam. This is a really important distinction, as to be accredited means that there is stringent government oversight that dictates the practitioners’ ability to do their trade.
The reason why massage therapists will need to be licensed is because giving a massage is an extremely invasive procedure. There is an enormous quantity of manipulation of the body and muscles, and there is a certain risk factor with massages, also.
With how muscles are manipulated, it is highly possible for an inexperienced person to cause significant injury to the client. That is why Licensed Massage Therapists spend hundreds of hours studying body, angles of pinnation, muscle actions, and anatomy to understand precisely how to control the body safely.
A lot of personal trainers– especially the inexperienced– want to give clients”extra service and attention.” Personal trainers will occasionally have a false sense of confidence that they know more than they really do. This is when inexperienced coaches will break scope of practice, and massage customers to”release trigger points” and alleviate pain. The issue with this is that they underestimate the danger they are putting their clients in.
This is the exact reason that experienced trainers teach their customers to utilize self-myofascial release. Self-myofascial release contains things like foam rolling, where a client can work on releasing trigger points, and loosening tight muscles, without ever needing a coach to put hands on them.
Stretching is another location where trainers can get a little too invasive. A side effect of resistance training is the tightening of muscles. So, stretching is absolutely necessary for maintaining loose muscles and protecting range of movement. Again, with an inexperienced coach this may result in injury.
Stretching is unquestionably within a trainer’s scope of practice, BUT it needs to be done responsibly. Overstretching a muscle or extending a muscle in the wrong direction may lead to muscle or tendon tears. Not following proper protocols for stretching can also lead to injury. Stretching should always be done after a workout; not before. This will protect the client during the workout.
Stretching should ALWAYS be performed with muscles that are warmed up. In case you’ve ever tried to pull a rubber band that’s extremely cold, you notice that it is brittle and snaps. Muscles work exactly the same way; if they are cold and the coach tries to stretch them, there is a possibility of them snapping.
This is extremely important when using advanced stretching techniques such as PNF stretching, where the muscle is stretched, contracted, and stretched again to make a larger stretch and range of movement.
Additionally it is crucial to have great tactile awareness. Your own personal trainer in essentially where ever you look in Connecticut has to be experienced enough to know precisely how far to stretch the muscle without going too far.
A knowledge of anatomy and muscle activity is also critical. Muscles move in certain patterns according to their angle of pinnation. If you attempt to stretch a muscle against the pattern, you are placing the client at risk, or will no longer be hitting on the ideal muscle.
Knowing muscle activity is also very significant for stretching. If it’s the joint is flexed or extended will determine whether specific muscles are contracted or relaxed. It is very simple to teach a client how to stretch themselves properly, which will allow them to control how far and how much pressure is applied. This is a much safer method when supervised by a knowledgeable personal trainer.
Don’t forget about the comfort factor for a customer. A personal trainer like where I am located or where ever you’re looking should NEVER make a customer feel uncomfortable with conversation or”too much” touching. Touching should really be kept to a minimum. The only time a customer should ever be touched is to create rapid positional adjustments, or in an attempt to help with stretching. This touching should be as minimally invasive as possible, and there should be consent from the customer.
In my 10 years as a very successful personal trainer, I have not had to touch a customer for more than a short position adjustment, to emphasize where the focus of this work should be, or to assist with light stretching, when requested to do so. I have never had an issue with clients being not able to learn how to stretch themselves, or to utilize self-myofascial release. As personal as this business is, there is such a thing as too personal!
In the end, the biggest sign of an inexperienced or insecure coach is over-compensation. I’ve discovered the loudest trainer at the room tends to be the one that should overcompensate for their lack of knowledge and confidence. These are also the trainers who tend to be the ones to learn a new”skill,” and that is all they do until they learn the next one. These coaches have the need to demonstrate how much they understand by using”parlor trick” exercises or”new” methods, but they do so without any rhyme or reason. The ideal trainer is the one who can gently get a client the results they need for their precise objectives, without shouting about it, and without boring the client with information they, honestly, usually do not care about.
The majority of clients do not necessarily care about the how; they only want to reach their goals. It’s up to the trainer to have all of the tools necessary to help the customer achieve those goals. The best trainers I have ever met know a lot about a lot… But you may never know because they don’t have the need to verify that they are better than any other trainer. Their sole objective is to help their customers reach their goals. A good trainer never overdoes new tricks they learn. Instead, they cherry pick out of their bag of knowledge to find the best methods for the right clients!