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Mar
6

Using Total Gym for Spinal Stabilization #2

Spinal Stabilization on Total Gym PartII

Watch the video

How to Develop a Spinal Stabilization Program, Part 2:  Variations

With an appreciation of how intent can change the emphasis of an exercise, as well as an array of spinal stability exercises on the Total Gym GTS, let’s look at the previous exercises in Part 1 and how we can tweak them with strength and mobility. Strength adjustments may be increasing the intensity to muscle building or decreasing to fine-tune precision and control. Mobility may encourage greater range of motion, as well as exercises that inherently encourage more of a stretch, like a Pullover.

Side Lying

Single Leg Squat

The intent of the exercise is to progress neutral to anterior pelvic tilting during a squat. This movement may also prep the body for lunging.

> The foot, knee and hip are aligned. Note there is a compensatory tendency to place the foot too high on the squat stand.

> Observe the thoracic and cervical spinal alignment. A common compensation is sinking into the glideboard and flexing forward at the upper thoracic and cervical spine.

> The bottom leg can self spot, move forward or backward depending on pelvic positioning and client’s comfort level.

> For safety, ensure the pelvis is a hands distance away from the side edge of the glideboard.

Lateral Trunk Flexion

The intent of the exercise focus on the frontal plane movement of  lateral flexion. Although this is a unilateral planar movement, it is harder the trunk lateral flexion with rotation.

> The legs may be scissored, stacked or the bottom leg hooked over the top leg in a figure 4 position. The latter being more challenging as it is anchoring the hip.

> To modify, the top and/or bottom arm may assist. To progress, the arms may be crossed at the chest, or one to both arms reaching overhead.

> Observe the pelvic alignment. The tendency is to rotate backward.

> For safety, ensure the pelvis is a hands distance away from the side edge of the glideboard.

Quadruped

Alternating arm and leg extension

> The intent of the exercise is to challenge spinal stability while moving both upper and lower extremities. The exercise inherently strengthens both the anterior and posterior fascial slings.

> Observe the stationary arm and leg’s alignment. Avoid hyper-extending the elbow and pushing the hip out to the side. Cue to pull the heel of the hand and the inner knee toward one another to increase anterior fascial sling activation and improve alignment.

> Ensure the shoulders are sliding away from the ears and the pelvis is parallel to glideboard. Note that changing the height of the glideboard may or may not make the exercise easier for a client. If bringing the board to parallel, the pulley and incline height may have to be adjusted.

The chart below are the exercises in Part 1, as well as the addition of side lying squat, lateral trunk flexion and quadruped alternating arm and leg.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Leeds, DPTElizabeth Leeds, DPT, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

Mar
2

Member Retention Strategies To Grow Your Gym

Keep Your Members – 3 Tips That Really Work

1936304If you’re like most business owners, then you’re always on the lookout for ways to grow your business, lower overhead, boost productivity, acquire more clients and increase revenue.

That is what building a business is all about!

As fitness professionals looking to make more money, I think that the natural mindset is to acquire more clients and more members at our facilities or in our group training programs.

But is it really?

Consider that our biggest assets may be right under our noses and we need look no further than our current clientele to help our business grow.

You have happy clients already working out with you, why not focus your marketing plan on them, versus spending lots of money on new and untested methods to try to attract a new ones?  The old adage in business is that, “it is easier and more affordable to keep a customer than it is to find a new one,” couldn’t be more true. If you keep a client happy with great results, not only will THEY reward you with years of loyalty (and income), THEY will also reward you with countless referrals.  And that, my friends, is the dichotomy that many business owners just don’t get!  It is amazing how overlooked that concept is to a lot of fitness professionals but it happens every day.

1934375Not to you though!  You will be ahead of the curve after reading this blog. And here is how you do it …

Create Relationships

It is extremely important to foster relationships with your Clients and even your staff.   For example, from day one in a “Customer Service 101”  we tend to focus on making a new client as comfortable as possible.   We extend this “service” for the first few times they visit the facility. We introduce them to a few people but then extra effort wears off.  What we need to do is introduce them to everyone they may come in contact with and everyone that makes our business successful.  That is not only staff and other clients but volunteers, interns, community partners and even your mascot, if you have one.  Let them know that they are apart of something SPECIAL and they’ll soon see that they don’t get this anywhere else.

And you don’t stop there…

You need to focus on finding what makes this person tick, what do they do for a living, who they are married to, what’s their pet’s name, when is their birthday, etc. It truly is almost like dating where you are acquiring a lot of information about this person (particularly in the beginning). This attention makes the person feel special by remembering and recognizing the exact things that actually does make them special. Then, once you learn these things, you can customize your invitations to them for events or outings that you think that they may enjoy, with other like-minded individuals because they love to be part of the team.

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Referral Initiative

We all know by now that word of mouth is the best marketing and truth be told, most clients who love you and your services will naturally already be talking about you to their network of people. However, you could always incentivize them via a competition with other clients for free personal or group training sessions, gift certificates to local restaurants, or even offering a nominal amount of money per referral to get the referrals coming in. Like I said above, clients will want to talk about you anyways, but will do so even more when you go the extra mile of sweetening the pot for them.

Provide An Unique Experience

Nowadays, there are no shortages of Gyms, Studios, Personal Trainers, Coaches, and Group Fitness Programs in our communities. So with that said, how are YOU going to stand out among locals as an authority and credible source? How are you going to happily get clients to stay with you for years and years moving forward? I’ll tell you how, you need to consistently provide an unique experience to your clientele from the moment they walk into the door, until the moment that they leave, and every day in between until you see them again for their next session. Remember that you’re competing with a lot of fitness options in your town, so you need to make your gym standout to create loyalty.

Treat your clients right!  Show empathy, show sympathy, challenge them in every workout, be sincere, show them that you care, and provide over-the-top-customer service. Create several touch points to impact their lives such as phone calls, texts, emails, social media connections, and even a monthly newsletter.

Be constant in their lives and become a part of their daily awareness.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Feb
22

YMCA Gets Members Back on Track with GRAVITY

“Total Gym on the Road” Interviews GRAVITY Class Participants at Local YMCA

Our new “on the road” team recently spent some time interviewing at the local YMCA, Mission Valley, San Diego to see what members were up to and what kind of exercise classes they were taking.  Anne Stocking was one member Total Gym met up with after taking a GRAVITY Healthy Joints class with Personal Trainer, Jeff Groh.

Total Gym GTS machine

Anne on a GTS

“We moved to San Diego in 2013 and a friend told me about the Y nearby with a variety of classes.  I had a fairly serious cycling accident in 2012 that required multiple surgeries and a lot of time without physical activity. I was anxious to get back into some kind of shape. I began with water aerobics and then tried out Jeff Groh’s Posture Performance class.  After a few months of taking his class, I realized he had a lot of experience with people who had some physical limitations and this has really helped me along the way.

As a result of Jeff’s classes, I feel more confident overall.  That’s more confident with inner and outer strength.  I haven’t returned to cycling and will probably never participate in risk-taking sports, yet I know that every workout matters in the short-term and pays off in the long-term.

Total Gym GTS exercises

Anne pulling some moves!

I have to admit that the Y has really helped me make connections.  I am a bit of an introvert and it’s easy to hide in a group setting, but I’ve made friends and enjoyed the camaraderie”.

We asked her what had kept her motivated to keep going back to the Y.  She said,

“Wearing sleeveless dresses! Seriously, I love feeling strong and healthy and I don’t take it for granted. We make plans and think we have control over so many aspects of our lives, but in reality, there’s a lot we can’t control. For example, I fell last week and have to take a few weeks off from my normal routine. But I have the motivation to adapt to the situation and know that Jeff and other trainers at the Y will help me get back on track.

Anne with Personal Trainer Jeff Groh

Anne with Personal Trainer Jeff Groh

GRAVITY classes have helped me tremendously and made daily activities more enjoyable and more doable.  Last year, for example, we were hiking with our daughters in the mountains of Washington and I was able to cross a short footbridge that had no railings. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do that before joining the YMCA and working with Jeff. In addition, my grip strength has become a lot better. It seems like a small thing, but I don’t have to ask my husband to help me every time I want to open a jar.”

Bert and Renee Levine chose the YMCA at Hazard Center because their daughter, Lori was teaching GRAVITY classes there. Bert who is 80 finds that he feels much better after his classes.

“I have always exercised, so I can say exercise has become part of my life style,” he told us.

“As a result of the GRAVITY classes, we are walking more and when on vacation using the gym at the facilities there now too.   We really would encourage people to exercise; it makes a big difference in your well-being,” he continued.  Pretty cool advice, we thought, coming from an 80 year old!

Bert & Renee

Bert & Renee Levine

Then we found Scott, a retired Navy Seal who said “I feel fantastic and the GRAVITY program is great.  I use to lift weights, but my Doctor advised me to continue swimming and workout with my own body weight.  Long story short, GRAVITY has not only made me a believer in Total Gym, but a believer in myself”.

Scott attends the classes with his wife Joan.  She told us, “I have been attending GRAVITY Classes for a whole year now with Cara Beltran – we love her as a Personal Trainer.  I have never worked out in my life before but now I take GRAVITY classes 5 times a week.   I feel very energetic and proud of myself after a GRAVITY class.  I have developed muscles, something I never had before, my health is better and my neck injury will soon be history.  I am 59 years old, my under arms are firm, my legs are now toned and all the cellulite has gone!”

If you are not sure what class will work for you, just go and try one.  If you don’t like it, try another one, the Y makes it so easy to switch and change and with such a big variety of classes to do there’s something for everyone.

For more information on GRAVITY and how it can help your members feel great too visit http://gravitystudio.com/ or contact Ralph at ralph@totalgym.com | 858 764 0078.

Special thanks to Cara Beltran for her contribution to this blog.

Feb
15

Using Your Total Gym for Spinal Stabilization

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Watch the Video

Introduction

With time being of the essence with patients, having a means to efficiently and effectively implement a therapeutic exercise routine can be challenging. Having a good comprehension of Total Gym’s mechanics has allowed me to create exercise routines that move a client through in as little as 15 minutes. To review these mechanics, see Total Gym Physical Therapy Video In-Service. Oftentimes the exercises look similar between clients, so the learning curve is less for both you and the patient, BUT the difference lies in the INTENT of the exercise. For example, squats may focus on leg activation or pelvic alignment and core activation depending on the needs of your client.

With low back being one of the most common diagnoses seen, this blog and the next two subsequent ones will address how to develop and progress a spinal stabilization program via enhancing mobility, core activation in varying positions, and postural awareness.

How to Develop a Spinal Stabilization Program – Part 1

Being a Physical Therapist, there lies an assumption that we all have a good foundation on neutral posture and core activation.  When initiating a spinal stabilization program, I start with simplicity and then move into what I call “complex simplicity.”  At first the movements are more linear allowing for the client to draw awareness of posture and core activation. Use this opportunity for you, as the PT, to observe if there are changes in form or activation with movements performed in sagittal, frontal or transverse planes. And, since the movements are less complex, reiterate that the focus is on the client learning about his/her posture to allow him/her to be able to achieve improved movement with ADLs. During this time, movements may also move from short to long levers, allowing the client to feel changes in level of activation. Can s/he feel the difference between a Lat Pulldown versus Lat Pullover? Using this movement, I will harness the opportunity to address levers in real life situations, like lifting groceries or children out and into the car.

Within this initial stage, remember that not all clients are comfortable with equipment, and time to learn how to move his/her body on the machine is needed to feel successful in the movement. The routine involves various positions to help train the body for the diverse movements of ADL. It is thus important, to teach the client how to transition between or enter and exit the machine safely between exercises.

Inverted supine

Heel slides and/or marching

The intent is to teach pelvic and lower body dissociation, as well as pelvic stabilization with lower body movement, i.e. load transfer through the pelvis.

> Use socks on the rails or a towel under the shoes to allow for less friction.

> The inverted position helps to passively position the spine, which may be needed for stabilization as the lever increases in this exercise.

> If the lower ribs are hyper-extending, use a wedge or pillow to allow for more ideal alignment.

> If your client cannot tolerate the inverted position, the bring the board to parallel or incline.

Supine

Squats with or without monster band

The intent is to either maintain the pelvis in neutral with a squatting action, or with the buttocks off the edge of the glideboard, the pelvis moving from neutral into anterior tilt back to neutral.  

> Ideally the buttocks is at the lower edge of the glideboard, however this may require strength to enter into the position, as well as move through this range of motion.

> Use of the theraband may allow for increased activation of the hip complex to help stabilize the pelvis and promote ideal knee tracking.

> Most clients want to push the low back into the glideboard to initiate the movement, especially moving from a squat to an upright position. Cue to activate core and lower body.

> For some, allowing the pelvis to naturally move into an anterior tilt may allow for less pain and improved activation. If able, have the client move the hips off the edge of the glideboard and let the buttocks drop in between the rails.

> To vary the exercise, have the client perform varying sets of squats with the feet in different positions. For example, neutral, externally rotated, staggered, or wide.

Lat Pulldown without or without bridge

The intent of the exercise is to draw awareness of how the upper body movement effects thoracic positioning. The supine position allows for the spine to be fully supported and provide feedback for when or if the lower ribs hyperextend.

When first teaching this exercise, teach it as two separate exercises to ensure the following

> The upper traps are not over activating. Cuing draw the scapula down the back assist with scapulohumeral rhythm and improved activation patterns.

> The lower ribs are remaining in contact with the glideboard, especially as the arms reach overhead.

> During Bridging, ensure the client is not riding back onto the cervical spine. Cuing for the knees to reach over the toes and keep the heels aligned with the sit bones and knees aligned with hips allow for improved activation and alignment.

Lat Pullover

The intent of the exercise is awareness of moving from short to long lever, and dissociation and stabilization between the trunk/spine and upper extremity.

> As the arms pullover, cue to end at the mid-thigh to maintain tension on the cables.

> Lengthening of the arms increases the lever, which changes the strength and flexibility demands.

> Watch for compensatory patterns such as pressing into the glideboard with the feet to over activate the glutes and not the core. Observe the rib cage as the arms move overhead toward the tower, as they may hyper-extend if the LATs are tight.

Seated Forward

Low Chest Press

The intent of the exercise is to improve awareness of alignment in sitting, as well as increase strength of posture during upper body movement.

> Glideboard may be inclined or parallel allowing for changes in hamstring flexibility and spinal alignment. An incline board accommodates decreased hamstring flexibility.

> Alternate to begin and increase to bilateral chest press.

> Ensure shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Overhead Press

The intent of the exercise is to teach spinal stabilization as the arms are reaching overhead.

> Lean slightly forward to assist with balance. Note this will also require greater spinal work.

> Assess for excessive upper trap over activation.

> Alternate to begin and increase to bilateral chest press.

Upright Prone

Upper back Extension

The intent of the exercise is to strengthen the upper thoracic spine to assist with posture.

> Allow the chest to lie at the top edge of the glideboard.

> The pulleys are allowing for a feedback mechanism of when to stop lifting.

> The focus is to press gently into the pulleys as the upper back extends. When the glideboard moves, this is the end of extension.

If a person cannot avoid initiating or over activating his/her low back, then use a pillow under the hips or enter a low kneeling position.

Pull up heel squeeze / gluteal activation

The intent of the exercise is to activate the posterior fascial sling for spinal stabilization.

> To first teach this exercise it can be broken into two parts

  1. Teach a pull up with focus on scapular depression and core engagement.
  2. Teach gluteal activation without over activation of the low back.With the hips externally rotated, knees bent and heels squeezing together, gently squeeze the heels together as the client pulls up and lowers down.

> The focus is on gluteal activation, however, some may hyper-extend the low back to compensate.

> The exercise can also be done with hips in parallel and/or extended.

Standing facing the tower, with or without squat stand.

Sprinter Start 

The intent of the exercise is gaining the hip extension and while rolling through the ball of the foot.

> The client can be resting on his/her forearms or hands.

> The option of the squat stand is dependent on the client. Some clients prefer it off because it is more stable and requires less mobility. Other clients prefer the squat stand on as it allows for a greater surface area.

> Observe the alignment of the stationary leg as well, ensuring the knee and hip are alignment.

An incline glideboard will assist with upper body stabilization. If the glideboard is moved into a parallel position, then incline and squat stand height may have to be adjusted accordingly.

About the Author

Elizabeth Leeds, DPTElizabeth Leeds, DPT, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

Feb
8

Training for Snowboarding on a Total Gym GTS

Standing Squat and Side Stretch on a Total Gym GTS

(Watch the video)

Strengthen Your Snowboarding and Skiing Clients with these 7 Total Gym GTS Exercises.

It’s that time of the year again when our clients are looking at their calendars to find weekends where they can escape to remote locations to enjoy hours and hours of uninterrupted skiing and snowboarding on snow-laden mountain sides.

Although skiing and snowboarding are a blast, they are also very tough activities that can push you to the limit physically and mentally and we need to make sure that our clients know that and are prepared for what is coming. Oftentimes when clients think of preparing for activities such as snowboarding, it is natural for them to think that they just need to focus on their lower bodies as they start to train for their trip. However, as qualified fitness professionals, we know that the entire body needs to be trained throughout training program to help avoid injuries and deficiencies in other areas of the body. Remind your client (especially if they are new to snowboarding) that they will be pushed hard in various ways on their trip and that preparation is key to a fun and safe experience in the snow.

So let’s make sure that your clients have a wonderful and safe time on their trip by helping them master the following exercises on the GTS, so that their bodies and minds are ready for action.  Watch the video to see a demonstration of all these exercises.

Jump Squats

Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard and stow handles.  Have them push the glideboard half-way up the rails, straddle the rails and sit at the bottom edge facing away from the tower.  Place the feet toward the top of the squat stand positioned shoulder-width-apart.  Normally you would have them lie back on the glideboard to do a plyometric squat but we’re going to engage the core more with them sitting upright.  Hands can be by their side, stretched out in front, or beneath the butt.  Have them start in a deep squat and from this position, explosively jump up as high as they can with both feet and be sure that they land with both feet simultaneously on the squat stand. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps).

Seated Two-Point Leg Swings

In the same starting position as above and with core engaged and sitting up nice and straight on the GTS, have them place the left foot on the squat stand. Perform a one legged squat on the left leg and as they come back up from the squat, they gently kick the right leg up as high as they can. Then repeat, but this time on their way back up from the squat, they kick the right leg out to the right side as wide as they can. After performing both kicks on one leg, that is considered one rep. Repeat this sequence as fluidly as possible by alternating the two directions on the leg for the desired number of total reps. Be sure to perform all reps on one side before switching and repeating with the opposite leg. (2 Sets of 10 Reps in Each Direction Per Leg).

Dips (Using Squat Stand)

From a standing position in front of the squat stand, facing away from the tower have them position hands behind them shoulder-width apart on the squat stand. Have them slightly walk away from the squat stand to incline legs out in front at a 45-degree angle. Straighten arms, keeping a little bend in the elbows to keep tension on the triceps and off elbow joints. Slowly bend elbows to lower the body toward the floor until elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep the back close to the foot platform. Once they reach the bottom of the movement, have them press down to straighten elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep. Keep the shoulders down as they lower and raise the body. Please note that legs can be slightly bent to modify this exercise. (2 Sets of 10 Reps).

Incline Push-Up (Using Squat Stand)

From a standing position in front of the squat stand, face towards the tower.  Place hands on the edge the foot platform, slightly wider than shoulder width and walk feet back so that the body is at a 45-degree angle. Have them stand on their tip-toes with arms and body straight. Then they will slowly lower their torso down in a controlled manner and push torso up until arms are extended to complete the first rep. (2 Sets of 15 reps).

Standing Squat & Side Stretch

Raise the rails to the highest level.  Have them begin in a standing position turned sideways from the tower and place right foot on the glideboard and left foot on the ground. Then they will need to slowly squat on the left foot so that the right foot is raising the board up towards the top of the GTS. As they come back up from the squat position the glideboard will lower into the start position. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps with Each Leg).

Inverted Walking Plank

Remove the squat stand and with the glideboard closed have them come to a kneeling position on the glideboard, facing away from the tower. From there they place both hands on the floor below the lower rail base and get into a plank position.  Then they walk hands back towards the tower and as they do so, the glideboard should be sliding towards the tower. Once they walk in so far that they cannot go up anymore, then they slowly walk back down until they cannot go down any further. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 10 Reps).

Inverted Pike

Replace the squat stand and with the glideboard closed have them come to a kneeling position on the glideboard, facing away from the tower. Then have them place both hands on the squat stand with their head facing towards the ground. Place feet onto the bottom of glideboard, on tippy toes, with heels in the air. Their body should resemble an upside down letter “V” while in the starting position. While in this starting position, extend the full body outward so that they are completely straight, then bring the glideboard back in with feet to go back to the upside down letter “V”. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps).

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Jan
31

Keeping Clients Motivated Through The Winter

Exhausted woman sitting on tire in crossfit gym

4 Tips to Encourage Clients/Members to Exercise at the Gym, Through Winter Months

Keeping clients active through winter is always a great point of concern for fitness professionals, personal trainers, and coaches throughout the industry. I can’t speak for all gym owners and personal trainers but the largest acquisition time for new clients in my facility is April, May and June (although many people think that it is January through March, with the New Years Resolutions crowd; and that may be the case for some gyms).  But what I have personally heard from clients in the past is that they have a hard time getting motivated through winter because it is usually cold, wet and it still gets dark fairly early. Which makes sense that they come in waves during the months of April to June, when the weather is starting to warm up, the sun is out longer and swimsuit season is right around the corner.

So knowing this and with the information above in our back pockets, we have been very proactive at MZR Fitness with planning various programs and methods in the winter to help our clientele stay motivated, engaged and active during this cold season.

Here are 4 ideas I’d like to share with you.

Offer a 90-Day Intensive Transformation and Accountability Based Program

Not many people can resist the offer to completely change their lives in 90 days. It almost sounds too good to be true for a lot of people. And at the same time, it’s very enticing and manageable for the average mindset as it doesn’t sound like too big of a commitment to make. During this 90-day period, offer live workouts, home workouts, fitness homework, nutrition counseling, health coaching, before/after photos, accountability, structure, goal setting, support, and motivation – all in a group format. And if you want to, you can even provide some sort of prize or recognition for the person who lost the most weight or shed the most body fat. You have not only created a profit center for your business but it has become a sure way to light a fire beneath the tails of your clients and get them so pumped that they don’t care what the weather is outside. All they know is that they have some goals to crush!

1283205Create a Contest to Incentivize

Start an attendance contest by giving all of your clients a goal to attend the gym a minimum of 8 times per month (twice a week). Now, us fitness professionals know that our clients need more than 2 days a week to maximize fitness results but the plan is that they are going to attend the gym for those two days each week and then their bodies will begin to crave more days and other clients will be able to motivate them as well.

For extra encouragement in the contest you can create a tracking system for your clients and place it visibly in the gym. The transparency of everyone being able to see each others’ attendance really gets the competition going.  Further incentivize with branded gear from your facility, extra sessions, money, gift certificates, or anything else that you think may motivate your clients. Get creative!

1562989Go all Tony Robbins on them!

We all need a good talking to every once in a while to help put things in perspective, get the juices flowing and help us to see the big picture with our goals and who doesn’t like a good “pump ‘em up” speech? No matter what your exact title is at your facility, we’re all ultimately coaches. So guess what? We have to coach, motivate and inspire our clients to do what they don’t want to do, so that they can look and feel the way that they deserve to look and feel. Don’t be afraid to captivate your audience with a good speech or some great quotes once in a while.

As Tony Robbins once said “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  Remember that can apply to you as a fitness professional and to those whom you train!

1527822Reach Out in Unique Ways

As fitness professionals, we can reach out and motivate our clients in several unique ways such as:

> create a workshop and invite clients to attend

> create a podcast and upload it to itunes so that your clients can listen to it whenever they want

> communicate often through email/text/phone call.  You can even send a text while they are in the session with you so they read it afterwards.

However and whenever you want, communicate, communicate, communicate and this will motivate them! However you want to inspire and get your message across to your client is your prerogative but the biggest and most important tip is to get their attention before you deliver the message so they are focused on what you are saying. This is definitely easier said than done, but if you do it the right way, your voice will move mountains and your client will be inspired to create fitness success like never before.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Jan
25

Teaching Exercise to Mothers-to-Be

1674483Top Tips to Help You Better Cue Your Pregnant Clients for Exercise

I am in the field of women’s health, yet even I experienced information overload when I was pregnant, so I can only imagine how puzzling it is for everyone else.  There is so much information about what to do and what not to do regarding exercising when pregnant, that it can leave a woman AND a personal trainer completely bewildered and confused.

Before you start a class with a mom-to-be, make sure she has cleared any exercising with her OBGYN.

Look for Signs

STOP all exercises if pain, dizziness, excessive fatigue or any symptoms out of the ordinary occur. The cause of symptoms may have to be determined, i.e bio-mechanical changes associated with pregnancy like round ligament pain or pain associated with poor posture. If needed, follow up with an MD.

Exercise will lay the foundation for a healthy pregnancy, delivery and post-postpartum period. Even if the woman has not exercised, she can still begin in pregnancy. The key is to start slowly. Education on intensity and rate of perceived exertion is important so she can monitor herself during exercise and activities of daily living. Intensity in the beginning may be light with the possibility of building up to a moderate intensity.

1973267For the avid exerciser, she will benefit from being reminded that this is not the time for competition, rather it is for honoring the changes occurring and exercising at a moderate intensity so 60-80% may be more ideal. Educate that an intensity of 90% or greater has been correlated with compromising fetal well-being.

Hydration: Blood volume levels have doubled and fluid needs have been increased, yet the pregnant client may not feel thirsty. Encourage hydration during and after exercise. A decrease in weight post exercise may indicate she needs to hydrate more. Remember hydration is important for ideal physiology, such as blood pressure regulation, kidney filtration, and muscle activation.

Posture is key with exercise. There are lots of bio-mechanical changes occurring each week and each trimester so ideal postural alignment may be hard to attain. Starting from the bottom up: feet may widen, arches may drop, knees to hip alignment may change effecting pressure to the knees.  The pelvis is widening, creating changes to the sacrum, low back and hips and the abdominals are lengthening, the rib cage is expanding and the chest increasing.

1973271What to Watch For and Cues to Improve Alignment

Feet: Maintain an arch in the foot by sliding the toes toward the heels. Janda short foot is an exercise to help strengthen the foot intrinsics and alignment.

Knees: Keep the knees straight but not locked. Tighten the front of the thighs. If the knees roll inward, cue to turn the inner thighs out or activate the gluteals to improve hip alignment.

Hips: Decreased hip muscular strength can effect knee and ankle alignment. Decreased strength can be portrayed as hip dropping or hiking when standing on one leg and or increased low back pain. Hip strengthening can help offset the bio-mechanical strains of pregnancy.

1973272Lumo-pelvic positioning: Avoid excessive arching or tucking of the hips, both of which can place greater strain to the sacroiliac and lumbar region. If the low back is flattened, cue to visualize arching the back to help promote improved alignment. If there is excessive arching, then cue to gently tuck the hips under or sway the hips slightly forward to help restore a small arch in the low back.

Thoracic: Ribs are widening to accommodate the baby. With the widening of the ribs, breathing may be more challenging and muscular length shifting. Cuing to continue to breathe into the sides and the back of the rib cage can help oxygenation. Be mindful of diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominals. Stretching the obliques and training the transverse abdominis by gently pulling navel to spine can assist with counteracting these thoracic changes.

Increasing breast size can influence upper thoracic and chest muscular alignment as noted by shoulders rolling forward and shoulder blades moving apart from one another. Cue to lift the sternum gently up, like showing off a beautiful necklace. Widen through the collarbones while gentle gliding the shoulder blades down and together. Watch for excessive scapular retraction as that may result in hinging of the lower thoracic spine.

Whether you are teaching one-on-one or in a group setting, the above postural cues can benefit all. In a class setting, make a personal connection with your pregnant clients to convey education regarding hydration, intensity and modifications. If teaching a class geared only pregnant women, then chose different educational topics to highlight each week.  Provide education at a rate that is not overwhelming.

1973268Dispelling Myths

There are lots of pregnancy myths that can create fear or anxiety. For instance, avoid raising the arms over the head. When I first heard this, I thought “that’s crazy, of course you can raise your arms over your head!” But I also had to honor that the person who told me, truly believed that this may be true and was scared to do any exercise involving lifting her arms. I had to honor her concern then coach her to dispel the myth using education. This myth may have arisen from some old recommendations to avoid heart rates going over 140bpm, and upper body movement may increase heart rate. Or it may have stemmed from the arms moving over the head resulting in poor postural changes. In any case, I reassured her that it is safe to bring the arms overhead but if she feels uncomfortable, then stop and we can try and find a modification. Honor, educate and empower is what I adhere to with pregnant ladies.

How Far Into Pregnancy Can a Woman Exercise?

Lastly, women can exercise until the day they deliver. Often women are discouraged around 32 weeks and told to rest and slow down. And, yes it may be important to slow down, decrease intensity and modify exercise but it is also important to keep moving. Become your pregnant client’s cheerleader. Labor requires strength, flexibility and mindfulness, all of which exercise can help enhance!

About the Author

Elizabeth Leeds, DPTElizabeth Leeds, DPT, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

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