There is loads of science that backs up the discipline of personal training and that is necessary for personal trainers to know and understand. For example, trainers need to have an in-depth understanding of biomechanics and how the body responds to exercise. This is because if they happen to engage a personal training client, who has something different from the ‘norm’, anatomically speaking, the personal trainer would need to know how to adapt this exercise to suit their clients.
However, just as personal training is a science it is also an art form. Want to know why we say this? Read on to find out more!
Everyone is different
As we said in the introduction when they study personal trainers learn about the scientific backing to personal training. For example, personal trainer wanna-be’s study subjects like:
- Physiology, and
As we also mentioned, they do this in order to see what the ‘normal’ human body looks like and how they can adopt certain exercises in order to get the same result.
The art form of personal training comes in if their clients have any sorts of differences to other people and will have to adapt the exercise routine to the physical capabilities of that particular person. The trick comes in that people with the same type of limitation can’t all do the same things. In most cases, it depends on a person’s mindset and determination to perform a particular exercise, despite his or her limitations, that governs whether or not they will be able to succeed with a particular exercise.
Exercise is affected by our thoughts, feelings as well as beliefs. A study looked into if your beliefs about how much you exercise affect longevity. The researchers found that those who perceived themselves as being less active were 71% more likely to die in the 21-year follow-up period as opposed to their peers. This is even after the researchers adjusted for the actual amount of physical activity that each person did.
The researchers wanted to see if changing this perception would lead to changes in health and fitness. They looked at a group of hotel maids’ perceived physical activity, which was low. The researchers then explained to them that their workplace activities consisted of a large amount of physical activity every day.
After four weeks, the maids reported raised physical activity levels. This is even though their activity was the same. In addition, they reported a reduction in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. This all occurred without any changes to their exercise routine and merely to their beliefs about it.
These investigations make the suggestion that those who perceive themselves to be inactive, or not active enough, will have worse health outcomes in time notwithstanding their actual activity levels. The reverse also appears true.
Figuring it out
In order to gauge a client’s abilities, a personal trainer will need to have incredible communication skills – both verbal and written. He or she will need to encourage the client to speak up about whether they can cope with a particular exercise. If they can’t, the personal trainer will need to be able to ask the right questions, of the personal training client, in order to find out what is preventing them from doing the routine and for the trainer to be able to see how they can adapt the exercise so that the same benefit is derived.
Let’s illustrate this with a practical example.
Say you’re a personal trainer and someone who is blind in one eye approaches you for helping with training. You’ll know that because they don’t have peripheral vision, they will not be able to perceive movement easily on the side of the body which the blind eye is on. This will have certain consequences such as when you ask them to hold their arms out straight, what feels ‘straight’ to them is, in fact, slightly crooked. Thus, you will need to help them readjust their brains so that they can learn what ‘straight’ means.