that really depends on the size of the barrier. I once was asked to give instructions to a couple from Ukraine who only spoke Russian. In that case, their daughter was there to translate. I probably could have gotten them to do the techniques but it was important to me to explain the ‘Why’ behind the ‘What’, and that would not have worked in any other way.
Otherwise, I believe that, with exaggerated demonstrations, you can train somebody without speaking the language.
Yes, I train people from other countries often and for those who do not speak very good English I just demonstrate the movements. Most of my income comes from virtual training so this makes it easier for those clients of mine who live in a different country because they can also see me and not just by giving them exercises in writing or only queuing.
Funny question to me as I’ve taught group fitness to people who can’t speak English and it certainly is educational! Here’s my best tips:
1. Know what their back ground in fitness and athletics is so you can use exercises that they may be a little more familiar with.
2. DEMONSTRATE EVERYTHING over and over again.
3. KISS principle: keep it simple. Regardless of if they know any English, this will make both your lives easier and keep the focus on persons goal.
4. Same goes for cuing: less is more. Simple~ up, down, in, out. Less words.
5. Be very visual. If they are ok with being touched I would definitely do so: for instance~if you want them to bend their knees, touch the back of them and then demonstrate the move again. Point 2 fingers to your eyes, at your knees, then back to their knees. Think of it as if they couldn’t speak at all 🙂 or hear.
Translators are nice, but rarely available and if so, I reserve those for the start of the lesson or end, to either summarize what I’d like for next time, or what we’ll be doing in the lesson.
Group exercise, nearly every class I teach, as I can cue Zumba with my hands and I have a wonderfully diverse class.
Personal training, not as often but yes. I’ve found show / do to be helpful, as well as light touch cues, drawing a gentle touch in the direction I want movement, i.e. light shoulder-blade touch and draw them in towards the center for scapular retraction.