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The Fitness Zone

Training Athletes
August 20, 2012 | by Matthew Boulous

Training an athlete requires extensive programming and a high level of exercise prescription, says Matthew The Matrix' Boulous, Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness NSW, but we also know that training elite athletes is a goal for many PTs. With this in mind, Matthew has shared key tips to kick start your career path.

Prior to commencing training an athlete, a solid foundation must be laid in order to build some unique and sports specific sessions for a client who will be training at a highly advanced level.

After completing your Master Trainer ProgramTM at the Australian Institute of Fitness, it's important to get further education and experience. One course that is a MUST is your Level 1 Strength and Conditioning and Sports Trainer certifications, these courses will build on your current skills within the sports specific demographic. If you are looking for more courses that you can upskill, check out Fitness Australia’s website as they have a HUGE amount of courses that you can add to your personal training belt. A great way to take this further is to apply with local clubs within your chosen sport and build up valued voluntary hours and hands on knowledge to take the information from the books to the field. Having experience within the sport that you are training is also essential also.  

When training an athlete, whether they are at an elite or semi professional level, you first must take into account their current training load inclusive of team/club training sessions, trials, meets and matches. Overtraining can potentially affect performance, and worst case, cause injuries down the track.

If you have an athlete from the start of a pre season, ensure to build a strong aerobic base with a lot of aerobic volume on the field/track or an alternative venue. This can be coupled with a weights program that focuses on strength, and exercises which will test their balance and stability that can be built on as the season commences. These all ensure your athlete can recover more effectively between sessions, games, as well as more intense workouts, focusing more on speed and power as the season progresses.

Have an Exercise Arsenal' ready to fire when taking on an athlete. Most athletes will have a set strength and cardio routine, so a variety of sports specific exercises on as many training apparatuses as possible is paramount to take an athlete to the next level in performance.

If you are willing to go above and beyond, a way into working with athletes is by becoming a Remedial Massage Therapist. There are many opportunities to work with professional sporting teams as a therapist, which can open doors and lead to opportunities joining their training team.

One thing to note, if your career goal is to work with professional athletes, remember it won't happen overnight, but stay true to your goals. Take every opportunity that comes your way and establish your own personal and business brand based on how you want to be perceived. 


Matthew is the Lead Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness in Parramatta, NSW.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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