I have been in this situation a hand full of times. Even when I was at the gym working out myself.
I find it depends on how bad the form is and even how the individual looks. If it is obvious they have been working out for a long time I assume they wouldn’t listen to me anyway so they have to be real bad.
Lets say I have been in this situation 5 times. My first step is to talk about the proper form with MY client at a louder voice and say why bad form can hurt you. 2 out of 5 will be listening because my shirt says trainer and they listen for free tips already. Next would be to mimic good form and bad. this will cat attention for maybe a total of 3 out of 5. My next step is to wait for them to finish and have a couple seconds of rest and just go over and say “hey my Name is Marcus and I am a CPT and notices you were working great, if you don’t mind can I show you a way to get more out of this exercise tho?”
People don’t like to hear “your wrong and are going to hurt yourself” Then I offer them some free training time.
Beyond that there is not much more I do. I don’t like to sound know it all so i do my part to correct them and the forget about it.
Hope that helps!
Hi Michael. This is a tough one! The humanitarian part of me says “yes,” but the practical/professional/risk-adverse part of me says “definitely not,” for a host of reasons. Here are just a few reasons why in my personal opinion I don’t think that interfering with the non-client while in a professional setting (working with my own client) is a good idea (I’m listing these in no particular order of importance). First, I should be “totally” focused on my client, not others who are also working out. So, why/how did I even get to the point of noticing another person’s poor form? Second, I know absolutely nothing about this other person (for example, their physical limitations that may “require” them to use this “poor form”), so trying to “correct” something that I know very little about is a big problem (remember, there is “textbook” form for certain exercises, and then there is/are adaptations that we, and exercisers make or have to make, according to their own physical limitations and make-up, so to presume that they SHOULD perform an exercise according to the “textbook” without knowing more about this person is a big no-no in my opinion). Third, in my opinion, as a professional trainer I should not be giving “professional” advice without first having a client-trainer relationship with the other person. Do you ever see a doctor, lawyer, dentist etc. giving unsolicited professional advice to a random person that they meet or see out in public? Absolutely not! They generally will not until they enter into a professional relationship with the person. Why? Liability reasons, also because they don’t know the person’s situation (giving professional advice with limited or worse yet, NO details or specific information is a serious risk … I could go on and on about this subject, but I’m guessing that you know my opinion on this. Others may disagree, but in my opinion, it a situation with little benefit and great risk.
One caveat/exception would be if I saw someone endangering their health/life or that of someone else, but that’s not the situation that your question asks and so my answer is not intended to respond to that situation.
I hope this helps.
I am with LaRue. There have been times when I have instructed my clients to do an exercise differently from the ‘normal’ way for very good reasons. In fact, I told them that it would be possible that they may be approached by somebody who points out the ‘improper’ form.
If I am at a gym and see somebody do something incorrect, I would only approach if there was risk to life or limb. Also, with the realization that some guys look at me with a ‘what do you think you know, lady’-attitude, I have in the past approached the gym owner to point out the situation on the assumption that nobody enjoys calling 911.
mixed on this one, I see people working out daily with their online printouts or magazines in their hand. During the course of my training session I DO NOT stop to correct someone. I have been asked a question during training, but I respectfully inform person am training but would be happy to assist when done. On the flip side if I am working out in the gym and someone is performing an exercise mechanically incorrect, I have approached and shown them “another” way to perform to get possibly more effective results. This is also a great opportunity to develop a relationship and dialogue for a new client.