Tips On Training Clients with Back Pain

Jul 25, 2021 | by AIF

Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments that clients will present to their Personal Trainers, so you need to be across how to train your clients effectively if they present with this issue.

Most people take for granted how great it is to have a healthy back, until they become injured! This type of pain is not an injury to be taken lightly, and referral to a physio is a smart move if the problem persists.

However, there are a few things a great Personal Trainer can do to minimise the risk of back pain in their clients, and be of most assistance to them. These include:

1. Have a great system for screening your clients. Always conduct a postural evaluation to identify any potential tight, weak or unstable areas, then follow up with a flexibility assessment to help confirm your findings. This will give you guidance as to how best to program for your client’s needs.

2. Prevent rather than cure. Muscle activation exercises and trigger point work at the start of a workout can go a long way to ensuring most of the load during strength training is accounted for by the correct target muscles, rather than smaller muscles that we have for stabilising or supplementary actions. The specific muscles you focus on will depend on what you learn in the postural evaluation and flexibility assessment.

3. Do your research. The brightest minds in biomechanics identified trunk flexion-rotation movements as being by far the greatest cause of back injury in the general population up to 80% of lower back injuries are linked to this movement, particularly when under load. Be vigilant in ensuring the exercises you choose are safe. Train your clients as smart as you do hard, and remember to ensure your clients earn the right to progress onto more advanced exercises. Just because it looks complex and flashy, doesn’t mean it’s conducive to a safe and effective workout.

4. Develop a strong, stable platform in your clients. Investigate and become proficient in exercises that help to take the stress off your back by developing the muscles that are supposed to support it.

5. Improve your own learning. Undertake specialised courses on screening, rehabilitation and pre-habilitation so you are confident in training clients with lower back challenges, and know how to best prevent future back pain.

In summary, your client only has one back, so we need to help them protect it. Screen your client’s posture and movement patterns thoroughly, and then invest some time in some pre-habilitation exercises to ensure your client has great technique when it counts. Make the effort to understand the basics about back issues, and choose trunk-strengthening exercises that build a great platform for safe, effective movement.

If you’re keen to upskill and corrective exercise is your cup of tea – check out the Corrective Exercise Specialist Course from The BioMechanics Method, available through Australian Fitness Network. 



The Australian Institute of Fitness
Note from the author: Where Certificate III in Fitness or Cert III/cert 3 is mentioned, it refers to SIS30315 Certificate III in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Fitness or Cert IV/Cert 4 is mentioned, it refers to SIS40215 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Massage or Cert IV/Cert 4 is mentioned, it refers to HLT42015 Certificate IV in Massage Therapy. Where Diploma of Remedial Massage is mentioned, it refers to HLT52015 Diploma of Remedial Massage.


At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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