Over the past few years I’ve noticed a disturbing trend where in our desire to keep clients interested we have been introducing an ever increasing array of new and cool exercises to keep them engaged in their training. Many of these exercises are harder and more complex versions of the basics. Most folks have not taken to the time to master the basics so I seriously question the intelligence of giving them more especially when the harder and more complex version is more likely to jack your client up.
I realize there is inherent risk is participating in any type of physical activity. People can and will get hurt doing pretty much anything. This does not however mean that it is okay to be put clients in positions during training that have a high (or even a low) likelihood of injury. It is NEVER okay to get hurt during training. It is your job to improve your client’s fitness while protecting them from themselves. Most clients don’t know what they don’t know. If they don’t have the body awareness to do a certain exercise or haven’t met the prerequisites then they shouldn’t be doing it! Yes I realize most clients show up at your door with a laundry list of injuries they sustained during their lifetime and that can make things a bit more challenging. Tough cookies! If you don’t know how to improve those issues then at a minimum you should be able to improve other areas of their fitness while not making those issues worse.
I’ve had the opportunity to be trained by some really great coaches over the years. I also sustained some injuries while working with some of these folks. Looking back at my injuries I’ve realized that some of them could have been avoided because I was doing things that I probably wasn’t ready to do yet. Did I want to do them? Hell yes! Are these injuries those trainers fault? I’m not sure, but I know now when I’m working with my clients I always ask what is the best and worst outcome that could occur from including an exercise in their program. Just because a client can do something doesn’t mean they should or that the risk is worth the potential reward.
Some coaches will complain that I’m being overly conservative, but most clients are not elite athletes and are only training improve their lives. It is my opinion that part of our duties as professionals is to help protect clients from themselves. Our clients trust us, but sometimes I wonder if maybe some of them shouldn’t.
I really need to think back to this post when I’m getting impatient with my training or looking to make faster gains than I should. Everything in due time…