How would you start with a beginner client?
I'm a newly certified trainer, at age 50, and I have a friend who I'm helping get started on a fitness program. I was thinking of starting her out on the machines, like I was 12 years ago. Mostly to get her comfortable with them so she can use them when I'm not around and also to just get her familiar with how all the muscles work individually. Would you say that's the correct way to approach it? I'm only asking cause I don't use machines anymore except for the back sometimes. I like more of the body weight functional exercises.
Have you performed a full assessment of this client? Have you looked at her alignment? How she moves through basic movement patterns? Have you assessed her cardiovascular capability, strength, flexibility, balance? Do you know what her goals are and what she wants to achieve by working with you? These are all questions I ask of all my clients, beginner or not, when they first start with me. This way I know what type of program to design for them. Most people have movement patterns they've developed from years of moving that may be due to tight muscles in a certain area and under-developed ones in another. A through assessment can show you these.
As a beginner, I often think of core stability and cardio programming. You want to set her up for success, doing things she enjoys, so she'll keep coming back. If her core is not stable, it is difficult to correctly execute other movement patterns. But not knowing her, seeing her or doing an assessment on her, this may not be the correct starting point for her. But it is how I usually start a beginner, with modifications based on their assessment, goals, likes/dislikes and starting point.
Good luck! You have a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact in this clients life by having them enjoy exercise.
I often took that approach when I first got started as a personal trainer 18 years ago, and I realize now that I may not have served my clients well, even though it was the best I knew then.
Scores of people are still started off that way in gyms today.
How good are you at fitness assessment, particularly the musculoskeletal portion? This should ultimately inform the way you approach the program design. I tend to start novices to fitness training with instruction to work on core stability first, and I include the shoulder girdle and hip movement in that definition.
Machines often give a false sense of security - to the client AND the trainer. Whether it is the best way for your client to start is ultimately for you to decide after you have weighed all the options.
I wish you success.
Congratulations on your new certification.
With my very first clients, I used my education to help them reach their goals with the resources they have available to them. I still do the same, actually.
I do not let the workout dictate the program, I let the client's needs and wants dictate the program design.
I agree with previous answers to your question. Don't forget to do a fitness evaluation and/or a PAR-Q before you begin your training your client.
Wishing You Great Success!
She failed her 3 min step test! Probably because she's a smoker. She's working on her cardio. I did some strength and flexibility tests in the assessment but have not learned yet the functional assessment system.
She's a hair dresser so I think we'll work on shoulder and back, tho she did seems quite strong in that area.
I don't want to scare her away with too many squats or lunges and have her be sore for days! But I think I will mix it up with a little bit of free weights, machine and body weight.
Any tips on boosting confidence?! :)
Basic weight training and walking are advisable here.
Setting realistic, specific goals can only help her with success.
Sign a waiver, do a fitness assessment, set realistic goals according to the results of her assessment and then go from there. There is a lot of good information here posted from others, so it should give you an idea how to proceed. Machines are not a bad way to start training her and since only you know her, what her assessment, and health history and fitness goals are you are the one who can make the best decision for her. Progression is the best way to proceed.
Then it would be best to at least assess ROM and postural issues. These both are good to address early on. Clients should begin with performing foundation movements and working to at least be able to assume a position of good posture, even if it is only temporarily. Other fitness assessments can also be performed. I find that which assessments would be helpful are uncovered during the teaching of foundation movements and working on improving posture.
Many clients and instructors want to go right to the resistance training with weights or machines, but a majority of clients will have inadequate strength, stability, and/or ROM for this. Adding weight to movements before teaching proper movement patterns will only make correcting movement and imbalance/compensation patterns that much more diffficult.