A client’s success is very dependent upon the skills of the personal trainer; here are five warning signs of an unqualified fitness instructor.
#1. Too much emphasis on floor exercises and balance exercises
About 80 percent of female clients want to lose fat. Doing routines balancing on one foot or standing on a wobble board will not slash fat.
Neither will struggling to do pushups off of medicine balls when the client can’t even do a single standard pushup. Endless planks, leg raises off the floor, one-legged shoulder presses and using a stability ball as the hand support for bent-over rows rank inferior for stripping off fat.
These kind of routines rank feebly also for sculpting the body or creating a fit, tight physique.
#2. Concentrating on isolation exercises over compound exercises
The best way to burn fat, build strength, bulk up and get fit—all four of these goals—is to do mostly compound exercises. These work several muscle groups at the same time, which means more fat burned during and after the session; more muscle fibers recruited because more weight can be lifted; and more dramatic improvements to one’s body.
Top compound moves include the deadlift, squat, leg press, bench press, dumbbell press, lat pull-down and rows.
Be leery of trainers who have clients doing a lot of isolation work like triceps kickbacks, biceps curls, inner/outer thigh work, sit-ups, crunches and trunk rotations.
#3. Not enough resistance
Other than warm-ups and brand-new trainees who risk injury pushing too hard, clients should truly be struggling through their sets.
If a person can carry on a conversation during a set, the resistance is too light. The client should not be able to perform two or three more reps beyond the goal total rep count.
Also, beware of trainers who engage clients in conversation during sets. This prevents clients from focusing on breathing, technique and effort.
#4. Failure to teach clients HIIT
Personal trainers usually tell their clients, “Do 30-40 minutes of cardio on non-weight days,” and leave it at that, never actually supervising their clients for a cardio session to see what exactly the client does.
An effective trainer will use a session to instruct the client in high intensity interval training (HIIT) and make sure that the client fully understands how to engage in a great HIIT workout.
#5. Helping too much
A personal trainer’s job is to educate and empower the client, rather than be an enabler.
There are personal trainers who will place their hands on a machine’s handles, sharing the workload, from the very beginning of the set, participating with the client in every repetition.
This is not the same as assisting for the last few difficult reps. When trainers over-help, this prevents the client from feeling the satisfaction of completing the task, and thus, the client never thinks, “Wow, I did that!”
Personal trainers are human and thus prone to making mistakes; some are hired strictly on their looks or ability to sell training packages. Scout out personal trainers first before going with the first one you see.
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