What separates one trainer from the next?
First, always confirm they have a current certification, and carry liability insurance. It’s important to recognize that in any profession, a certification or degree does not always mean they are a good trainer. The trainer may have been proficient at passing tests, yet did they retain what they were taught or have a grasp on sound training techniques? Further more, do they know how to apply in a personal way what they’ve learned? Programming should not be one size fits all. A trainer should be able to answer the “why” in programming as well as “how do we reach our goals”. Also, are they able to connect and communicate in a way that develops confidence and security in the program designed for the client? There are many trainers who know a lot of different exercises, but are not good at putting together a muscularly balanced program. You can also find many fun and dynamic trainers, but if they only know how to wear out their client without providing functional training to the general public or athlete you will ultimately waste your time and money. One other very important issue is injuries. Does the trainer know how to work around and ultimately strengthen any physical limitations? The trainer should be able to fully explain how they plan to improve any injury issue. Ultimately you should have a level of confidence and a healthy connection to your trainer. If you cannot openly communicate with the trainer, you are likely not going to stay committed to the program.
Why is strength important?
(Strength x Speed = Power). Muscular strength will dictate the amount of force an athlete can move with/deliver or even absorb. It also facilitates the athlete’s ability to throw further, kick harder/further, how fast they move, how high they jump as well as body control. A key component to a successful strength program is not only consistency, but also a balanced program (all muscle groups must receive equal work). Muscular imbalance is often a recipe for joint injuries. It’s important to understand that muscles are like shock absorbers to your joints. Thus if you are an athlete, the stronger your muscles are, the better protected your joints are. Additionally, strength always gives a level of confidence to the athlete they would not other wise have.
I’ve had surgery due to an injury what can I do?
Before working with a trainer, the trainer should ask you to obtain a signed release to exercise from your doctor. If the doctor has any restrictions, the trainer needs to know that and should be able to work within those guidelines. Many injuries will require physical therapy prior to working with a trainer. Often a client will see the PT a couple times a week and also the trainer. A PT will work with the problem area, while a trainer should be able to support that work and also work on the rest of the body.
I have a chronic injury what should I do?
First you must know that it does not require surgery. Seek medical clearance from your physician. Then a qualified trainer will be able to design a program that will progressively add strength, stability and range of motion to the affected area(s). If the trainer pushes too hard too fast, further damage can occur (speak up). It is vital that the trainer is aware of how various exercises feel as you work through the injured area (speak up). Knowing the difference between muscular discomfort and pain is vital. Improvement and even complete restoration is always possible if a sound progressive program is implemented. Also, keep in mind that inconsistent training will affect recovery.
At what age should training begin?
Youth can begin strength training as early as 6 years old. It is important to note that “strength training” is not the same as “weight lifting”. Bodyweight exercises are considered strength-training exercises. Until a youth athlete has mastered his or her body weight, they should not progress to additional weights. The primary focus on athletes from ages 6-14 are on; bodyweight control with proper alignment/technique and balance. Additionally, it’s never too late to start.
Why is it important that female’s train?
Research has shown that females are at an increased risk for ACL injury. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) report, female athletes are at a 6 time greater risk for ACL injury when compared to male athletes in the same sport. Because of this, female athletes must prepare their bodies for the demands of their sport by strength training just like the male athletes, if not more.
Are all athletic programs created equal?
Most programs have a foundation that they are built on and one key foundation is the principle of muscle specificity. Simply you get what you train for. If you train simply with Olympic lifts, you will become proficient at that, but you will not gain any speed or agility. Distance running will not translate into any type of speed on the soccer field, but you will gain endurance for distance running. Also, cross fit will not add to your speed, agility or vertical jumps. Again you get what you train for, you will become proficient at cross fit exercises, but you will not be a well-rounded athlete. Most likely you will put yourself at risk for injury that can end or delay your athletic aspirations.
Why is consistency important for the progression of an athlete?
To put it simply, retention of strength gains. Studies have shown that strength development can degenerate significantly after as little as 96 hours of normal activity. Working hard consistently is what gets results and enables progress. Rest and proper nutrition is equally important to the success of an athlete.
How many times a week do I need to train?
For general fitness, the guidelines are each muscle group should receive strength/resistance training no less then twice a week (for maintenance). Cardio exercise should be performed 5 times a week for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, or 3 times a week of high intensity for 25 minutes. Like it or not, if you want to see change or even maintain a good level of physical fitness, the above guidelines are a necessity. Put it in perspective, if you are exercising 3 – 5 times a week how much time is that out of your week? The benefits of that time will always justify the time investment. It is important to not have a narrow view of exercise. In other words, don’t simply think of it as a way to lose weight. You are fighting the aging process and causing physiological gains that are necessary to live a healthy fit life well into old age. You can also view it as a way to avoid the doctor’s office as well as avoiding medical expenses that are related to a life lived without exercise. Keep in mind a trainer is far less expensive then doctor visits and medicines that really only treat symptoms. Regular exercise can be a true cure to many physical ailments.