Some of the most popular new trends in fitness right now are high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training groups. Make sure you’re prepared to meet the needs of your client or group, regardless of age, skill level, or choice of equipment. Whatever a client’s fitness goals may be, getting injured isn’t one of them. You can do this by keeping in mind and teaching your classes a few injury prevention steps.
Extreme workouts aren’t for beginners. Know your limits.
How far is too far when it comes to pushing the body? Humans are trained to adapt, and while a certain level of stress is required to achieve fitness, overloading can have serious consequences.
“Typical injuries usually involve muscle strains,” says Lori Harrison, manager of the Corporate Fitness Center for ELIVATE Fitness.
Individuals may also experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), pulled hamstrings and lower back injuries, as well as stress in the knees or ankles due to incorrectly performed squats or insufficient distribution of weight.
“It’s important that both trainers and trainees recognize and set limits according to tolerance and safety,” Harrison says. Harrison, a personal trainer, facility manager, and health and wellness coach, says her go-to injury prevention tips are all about creating a safe environment.
“Safety cues, explaining what might be complicated at the beginning of a session, warming up and cooling down— these are all rituals for any class I teach. As a trainer, I’m also responsible for knowing the nuances of every piece of equipment and how that machine interacts with the patterns and movements of the human body in the best way possible,” Harrison says.
One such piece of equipment is the Primal 7 Pro Movement System. Harrison prefers this system for injury prevention because she says it targets every part of the body in ways it was designed to perform.
“Push, pull, squat, bend, lunge, gate, twist. It’s a great tool for moving safely past your comfort zone and extending your range of motion,” she says.
Perfecting the most primal movements, according to Harrison, can prevent injury, lead to faster recovery, and enhance performance and general well-being.
Embrace a balanced fitness program and schedule.
All professional trainers must have a basic understanding of human anatomy so as to reinforce balance, proper alignment, and resistance for each exercise.
Trainers should start clients slowly, giving them time to learn correct forms first before speeding up or increasing intensity, Harrison advises.
“Increase either interval intensity or duration, but not both in one workout,” she says. Harrison also advises training on a flat surface to ensure even effort. A balanced high intensity fitness program must also consider the abilities, physical limitations, and age range of its participants.
Individuals over the age of 50 will be more likely to have joint and muscle soreness. As a general rule, Harrison says the intensity for seniors’ workouts should decrease as they age. On the other hand, when weight training with children, it is important for trainers to ensure that the child is physically mature enough to begin weight training and the equipment a child uses fits his or her body.
Create smooth transitions to help the body tolerate and prepare for the next workout.
Often, fitness beginners may skip warm-ups for a fast workout. Yet, Harrison insists a warm-up is necessary to help muscles become more elastic and ready for a full range of motion.
“Start warm-ups slow and easy with five-to-ten minute cardiovascular exercises like walking, jogging, or biking. The goal is to break a sweat and target muscles and movements specific to the exercises in later activities,” Harrison says.
Similarly, cool downs prepare the body to re-enter its normal state.
Immediately after a workout, lead your group in five-to-ten minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular activity, followed by stretching, Harrison says. This will help aid the body in recovery and decrease muscle soreness.
Nobody plans on an injury while at the gym. But almost any exercise can be a health risk if performed incorrectly. Individuals who are attempting to care for their physical fitness sustain far too many injuries in gyms due to lack of adequate warm-ups, incorrect form, too heavy a load or weight, or inadequate recovery time. Engaging in a fitness program may be one of the best things your client can do for his or her health, as long as injury prevention steps are practiced.