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 trainer.
There is 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 boundaries 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 need to be licensed. The name licensed is essential, here.
Licensure”is the state’s grant of legal authority, pursuant to the state’s police forces, to practice a profession within a predetermined scope of practice. Beneath the licensure system, states define, by statute, the tasks and function or scope of practice of a profession and provide these tasks may be legally performed only by those that are licensed. As such, licensure prohibits anyone from practicing the profession who’s not licensed, regardless of whether or not the individual was certified by a private organization.”
Certifications, on the other hand, are a voluntary procedure offered by a PRIVATE organization that states the obtainer has finished preset coursework and a possible exam. This is a really important distinction, as to be accredited means that there’s stringent government oversight that dictates the practitioners’ ability to perform their trade.
The reason massage therapists need to be licensed is because giving a massage is an extremely invasive procedure. There’s an enormous amount of manipulation of the body and muscles, and there’s a particular risk factor with massages, as well.
With the way that muscles are manipulated, it is highly possible for an inexperienced person to cause considerable injury to the customer. This is why Licensed Massage Therapists spend hundreds of hours studying body, angles of pinnation, muscle actions, and physiology to know precisely how to control the body safely.
A lot of personal trainers– especially the inexperienced– want to provide customers”extra service and attention.” This is when inexperienced trainers will break scope of practice, and massage customers to”release trigger points” and alleviate pain. The problem with this is that they underestimate the danger they are placing their clients in.
This is the exact reason that experienced coaches teach their customers to utilize self-myofascial release.
Stretching is another location where trainers can find a little too invasive. So, stretching is absolutely necessary for maintaining loose muscles and shielding range of movement. Again, with an inexperienced trainer this may lead to injury.
Stretching is definitely within a trainer’s scope of practice, BUT it has to be done responsibly. Overstretching a muscle or extending a muscle in the wrong direction can lead to muscle or tendon tears. Not following proper protocols for extending may also lead to injury. Stretching should always be done after a workout; never before. This will protect the client during the workout.
Stretching should ALWAYS be performed with muscles that are warmed up. Muscles function almost identically to rubber bands. If you have ever tried to pull a rubber band that is extremely cold, you notice it is brittle and snaps. Muscles work exactly the same way; if they’re cold and the trainer tries to stretch them, there is a possibility of them snapping.
It is also key to have great tactile awareness. Your personal trainer in basically where ever you look in Connecticut needs to be experienced enough to know precisely how much to stretch the muscle without going too far.
A knowledge of anatomy and muscle action is also critical. Muscles move in certain patterns based on their angle of pinnation. If you try to stretch a muscle against the pattern, you are placing the client at risk, or will no longer be hitting the right muscle.
Knowing muscle action is also very important for stretching. If it’s the joint is flexed or extended will determine whether certain muscles are relaxed or contracted. It’s quite easy 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 an experienced personal trainer.
Don’t forget about the comfort factor for a client. A personal trainer like where I’m located or where ever you’re looking should NEVER make a customer feel uncomfortable with dialog or”too much” touching. The only time a client should ever be touched is to create rapid positional adjustments, or in an effort to help with stretching.
In my 10 years as a very successful personal trainer, I have never had to touch a customer for more than a brief position adjustment, to highlight where the focus of this work should be, or to help with mild stretching, when requested to do so. I have not had an issue with clients being unable to learn how to elongate, or to utilize self-myofascial release. As personal as this business is, there is such a thing as too personal!
In the end, the greatest sign of an inexperienced or insecure coach is over-compensation. I’ve found the loudest trainer in the room tends to be the one that should overcompensate for their lack of knowledge and confidence. These are also the trainers who are inclined to be those to find out a new”ability,” and that is all they do until they learn another one. These coaches have the need to show 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 person who can gently get a client the results they desire for their precise goals, without shouting about it, and without boring the customer with information they, honestly, usually don’t care about.
Nearly all clients do not always care about the how; they only want to reach their objectives. It’s up to the trainer to have all the tools necessary to help the customer achieve those goals. The best trainers I’ve ever met know a great deal about a lot… But you may never know because they do not have the need to verify they are better than any other trainer. Their sole purpose is to help their clients reach their targets. A fantastic trainer never overdoes new tricks that they learn. Rather, they cherry pick from their bag of knowledge to find the most effective methods for the ideal clients!