I consider myself a “greatest returns on investments” type of trainer. Everything I enter into a clients program has a directed purpose and progressions build upon the initial solid foundation. I sincerely consider everything by asking myself questions:
a) Why is that exercise in there?
b) What purpose does it serve?
c) Is that exercise the best choice for this clients ability?
d) Does this exercise contribute towards the clients goals?
I HAVE to be able to justify my programming and furthermore maintain the mindset that the clients’ time and mine is limited and valuable. In my mind, if I was allowed only 20 minutes of exercise per session, what would I do?
I sure as heck wouldn’t spend it on the hip adductor/abductor that’s for certain.
I believe this level of justification and sanity screening is what has kept my 100% safety record and my clients continually able to progress in their training.
I’ve seen what happens without forethought.
One of my least favorites was a trainer directing a beginner 50+* year old woman to “plyometric hop” onto a plastic step. (*50 is my best guess, she could have been well over 60 years old.)
Applying my justification and sanity screening…
a) Why would a 50 year old client need plyometric training? Wouldn’t the risk of falling (in an untrained elderly female that statistically has a chance of having knee issues and/or osteoporosis) outweigh any possible benefit of this exercise?
Fact: Falls kill a significant number of the elderly every year. Learning to hop isn’t really doing much to help keep her from falling…if anything its inviting a fall in training.
b) As demonstrated by the trainer, and attempted by the client (before the client did indeed fall) was a very slow hop. This is not a plyometric action. Plyometric actions are performed quickly, therefore the slow moving hop does not serve the intended purpose.
c) Having the client perform step ups is a better choice and having her work first in stable movement patterns is even better than that.
d) At 50+ years old, the client probably wants to retain or improve her fitness level, increase or maintain functional strength and move better with little or no pain. This does not call for using exercises that pose greater risks for injury, do not transfer any measurable skill to real life or train power when stability, strength and speed have not been developed.