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The Fitness Zone

Training with Minimal Equipment
January 22, 2013

Many Personal Trainers are inclined to plan their clients' sessions around equipment, but then in the session they get distracted when it becomes unavailable resulting in the clients not receiving the best service. Katrina Cochrane, Lead Coach at the St Leonards Campus, explains why you need to get creative.

It is important especially for Personal Trainers who are working in a gym environment during peak hours to plan in advance and ensure they are capable of implementing exercises to train specific muscle groups and components of fitness with minimal equipment. It is common for equipment to not be available when we need it and there is nothing worse than a Personal Trainer looking confused or unsure of what to do next within a session.

Practicing with Less

I encourage Personal Trainers to consider just using one to two pieces of equipment and body weight options within a session. The session needs to have your client walking away saying WOW and understanding exactly why they are investing in a Personal Trainer to provide them with an inspiring, interactive workout that will push them to their capacity and achieve their results quickly.

Creative Personal Trainers will find themselves being successful sooner and will become known in the industry as someone who can help you achieve your results quickly and encourage clients to see exercise as an opportunity rather than a chore.

Creating an Exercise Bible'

So thinking about minimal equipment and what you can use, I suggest creating an exercise bible that can be specific and allow a full-body workout.

Choose a piece of equipment and write muscular patterns and specific exercises that can be used to train these. Some minimal equipment options can include:

  • medicine balls
  • Fitballs
  • CrankIt straps
  • Olympic bar
  • Dumbbells
  • Markers
  • resistance tubes
  • rings
  • agility ladders
  • ropes
  • boxing equipment
  • Kettlebells

You can take one of these options only and still create an outstanding session for your clients.

Exercise Bible Example: Medicine Ball

Push Patterns

Pull Patterns

Leg Exercises

Chest press (lying or standing)

Bent over rows (double or single with handled MB)

Leg extensions

Overhead press (2 hands or single with handled MB)

Single arm row variations

Hamstring curls

Push-up variations

Throws

Squats (holding in variety of positions)

Single arm clean

Lunge variations

Overhead extension

Deadlifts

Throws

You can also use the exercises listed above in the table and combine many actions to progress your clients through their sessions and to engage large muscle groups and encourage greater physiological responses in a shorter timeframe.

Training Outdoors

As an outdoor Personal Trainer, I specialise in training my clients with minimal equipment and see my training sessions as an awesome opportunity to educate my clients on how they can best use their local facilities in particular to enhance their training experience and results.

It's amazing what you can do with a set of stairs, a small or large hill, and a park bench or railings. Some of the best sessions I have had with my clients involve them arriving to the training session with a pair of joggers and then using the local facilities and their body weight to combine a variety of exercises to challenge their fitness levels.

By taking along minimal equipment, for example a medicine ball, you can add more resistance to your exercise selection or challenge their performance by utilising CrankIt straps or set of rings.

So don't hesitate to be creative and be aware that sometimes less is more in our industry to ensure that your clients get the most out of every experience with you and see exercise as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.

If you love training then make it your career and become a Personal Trainer - download an info pack now!

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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