I have seen many trainers do all sorts of wild things with clients. Mostly those that haven’t properly studied human movement. Various modifications exist in exercise, some I THOUGHT were a little over the top, but when performed correctly are safely challenging the exerciser from a different angle. Many years ago, I about flipped when I wittnessed a curtsy lunge; I do them regularly in my own routines now. Usually, if the form isn’t there, then its probably too soon for that advanced modification. If it cannot be done with good form, it just shouldn’t be done as a TRAINING technique.
I have seen some off the wall stuff. Some of it just absolutely fabulous and some down right dangerous/inappropriate/being performed poorly or just too blah.
As a professional I try hard not to judge what others are doing because I do not know what the client’s goals are and what their current abilities are. I’ve been known to have jousting matches with clients using foam rollers while standing on a bosu on 1 leg! Some may say this is off the wall. I look at it as a fun way to break up a boring workout and I use this only when I know a client has the ability to do this safely.
So I guess if you want just the run of the mill stuff you can get that from most trainers. Personally, I would be bored.
Yes, I have watched people talk on their cellphone while working with a client. I’ve watched people not even watching the client and looking bored out of their mind. I have watched trainers make the absolute worst exercise choices for clients (overloading too much or too complicated.)
I’ve been in clubs where it was encouraged to over-push people and I wouldn’t do it. I’ve been in clubs where I’ve seen really great trainers as well. The profession has a lot of turn over, many people think it’s an easy job and decide they can do it. They have no idea how much work it is.
The bad thing is, it’s hard to erase a person’s bad experience with a trainer, making people not want to use another trainer, or maybe not continue exercising.