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The Importance Of Mentors In Fitness

Why You Need A Mentor

A good mentor will help you get somewhere faster, make less mistakes along the way, and expedite your chances of success.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want that … because that is exactly what a good mentor will do for you?


noun – an experienced and trusted adviser.
verb – advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).

A mentor will help YOU, by providing insight from their own experiences to help you grow as a person.  They will challenge your state of mind, help you create a clearer picture about where you want to go in your business and your life. They help you save time and money by being that voice of reason at the exact right time that you need to hear it. They don’t coddle you, they give it to you straight because they want to see you succeed. They challenge you on levels that you didn’t realize that you could be challenged. They want YOU to be better and they want YOU to hopefully be a mentor for somebody else in the future too.

Let’s imagine the following scenario:

Mark is a single 19 year old who lives in Los Angeles. He randomly decides, at the last minute, that he wants to do something spontaneous and fun and figures that a road trip to Chicago the next day would be great, especially as he’s never taken a road trip before. He has a little time off before school starts back up in January. He’s never been to Chicago and doesn’t know much about it but he quickly packs up his shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and sandals before he goes to sleep, and then he wakes up early the next day to start his trip at 6am.

He’s about 5 hours into his trip when his gas light comes on.  He starts to freak out when he realizes he doesn’t have his wallet or any cash or his AAA Road Side emergency card!  Eventually, his car runs out of gas and now he’s sitting on the side of the road, in tears, in the middle of nowhere.

He calls his parents to come and help him out, even though they live 6 hours away. In the meantime, to stay busy until his parents arrive, Mark starts to look at stuff for Chicago on his phone that he probably should have done before his trip. While sitting on the side of the road, he gets even more frustrated as he realizes that he didn’t plan very well for this trip, at all.

Initially, Mark didn’t look at a map to see what would be the most efficient route to Chicago. He didn’t ask anyone for directions, so now he is looking at a map on his phone and he sees that he went 2 hours the wrong way.  He also didn’t check to see what the weather was like in Chicago and what clothes would be best for that time of year. He then quickly gets upset at himself because he realizes that there will be heavy storms all along the way to Chicago and he has only brought clothes for warmer weather.

Mark also didn’t look to see what were the best things to do and see along the way to Chicago, nor did he look for things to see and do while he was in Chicago. Poor Mark!  What a disastrous trip?  But Mark didn’t know any better because he had never been on a road trip.

Had he spoken to someone who has been on  a road trip before, especially one from Los Angeles to Chicago, they would have definitely given him a lot of insight and a huge checklist of things needed to take.  They would have recommended the most efficient and/or most scenic route and they most likely would have recommended not driving from Southern California to Illinois in the month of December.

I know that the above was a lengthy example, but imagine how that would apply towards your fitness business right now. Are you constantly trying to reinvent the wheel? Are you sometimes frustrated with how to deal with your clients or even your staff? Are you disappointed with where you are professionally?

Well, guess what, you are not alone, because every successful person has been through ups and downs in their life and you be surprised how much knowledge they are willing to give you if you just ask them.

Mentors come in all shapes and sizes and could be right under your nose.  They could be someone:

(1)  in your family

(2)  in the fitness industry

(3)  outside of the fitness industry

(4)  that you may not perceive to be successful but have a lot of experience.

The point is that you can learn something from just about anybody when you humble yourself and are open to being taught.  In the example above, Mark could have spoken to someone who could have made his trip a whole lot more enjoyable and saved him tons of time.

A strong mentor will help you be the best fitness professional and would do the same for you. They will also challenge you, save you time, save you money and help you avoid pitfalls.

Skip the big headaches on your journey to success, in your fitness business! Take the short road and find a mentor!

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.


Which Heart Rate Monitor is Best For Your Clients?

Are You Missing The Opportunity to Improve Your Clients’ Results?

As trainers, how apt are you to use heart rate monitors with your clients?  It’s a tool that takes a lot of guess work out of how well they are responding to your training program.  At two gyms I work out of, I don’t see many trainers using them and they may be missing an opportunity to improve their clients’ results and consequently return as repeat customers.

Heart rate monitors provide objective information regarding cardiac physiology.  They allow trainers to monitor intensity and work to rest ratios. And provide feedback to ensure training targeting specific adaptations are properly administered.

Trainers have the advantage of understanding the importance of determining three types of heart rates for clients to safely get the max results from their workouts. Understanding a client’s maximal, target and recovery heart rates and how to measure and track them using heart rate monitors, allows us to provide superior results.  When we’re working with someone whose physical condition is compromised and should be tracked, i.e. hypertension and heart conditions, this is especially important.

Industry Background

The use of heart rate monitoring devices for exercise and other aspects of life has increased sharply over the past 10 years and will continue to grow.  TechNavio, a tech market research company indicates that the market will grow another 13% over the next three years to almost $3 billion. The growing sophistication of these devices to monitor life activities like floors climbed, steps taken, calories burned and active minutes, and an increased desire by individuals to take control of their health and reduce illness, are prime reasons for growth. Also many of these devices now connect with third party apps like local gyms and MyFitnessPal, making them valuable tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Chest straps and optical heart rate wrist bands are the two most common types of heart rate monitors available, and they both use similar methods to measure a pulse.  During 2015, the global heart rate monitoring device market was led by the chest strap segment which accounted for more than 51% of the market because they provide more accurate results compared with wristbands.

Along with or because of market growth spurred by individuals wanting to take more control over their exercise performance, the fitness industry is experiencing growth in exercise outlets like Orange Theory, that focus on monitoring heart rates using these devices. Per Fitness Professional Online, these heart rate monitoring outlets allow the trainer and clients to access individual and group heart rate data in real time during a workout and afterwards via access to the data which is recorded and stored on the web.

MyZone MZ3Cost Effective?

Is it cost effective for gyms to invest in a system that can track every client’s heart rate when they step into your facility?  I spoke with Melanie Wilson at FitMetrix, a company that services the gym market. FitMetrix helps gyms utilize data for member retention bringing technology based best practices from outside of the fitness industry.  The startup cost to employ a heart rate monitoring system entails a onetime purchase of a receiver and then a monthly $149.00 maintenance fee.  A receiver that can service a 2000 square feet area costs around $600.00. What’s nice about these systems is that they can be paired with a client’s own heart rate monitor from industry leaders including Fitbit, Polar and Garmin. If you’re looking to outfit your gym to service multiple clients, investigate Myzone, MyPerformance, Polar Club and Heart Zones.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Heart Rate Monitors On Your Clients?

> The trainer can monitor intensity and work to rest ratios, and provide feedback to ensure training targeting specific adaptations are properly administered.

> Monitors provide data or information that could indicate a problem such as atrial fibrillation or heart rates exceeding max heart rate.

> If connected to an app like, the trainer can track client’s workout data outside of gym times which can provide more customized training programs.

> They give personal trainers the ability to teach and educate the client about the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and understand how hard or easy they are working guide the intensity of sessions.

Trainers should heed the call to incorporate heart rate monitors and other technology into their training tool box.  The fitness industry is growing, but so is its sophistication. The trainer who embraces how technology can improve results is the trainer who will survive.

Top Heart Rate Monitors

Below are current, top, chest strap monitors per Gadgets and Note that they all track heart rate and calorie burn and have built in memory for use without a smart phone.  They all are compatible with proprietary and third party fitness apps through Bluetooth and ANT+ dual ban technology.  Polar H10 boasts that it can monitor heart rates in water.


Wahoo Tickr

Polar H10

MyZone MZ3

Garmin HRM Tri

To receive a discounted price on MyZone MZ3 Click here

About the Author

Benita PerkinsBenita Perkins is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.


7 Total Gym Exercises That Build Killer Arms

Mike Z. Robinson on a Total Gym GTS

(Watch the Video)

Improve Upper Body Strength With These Total Gym Exercises

If you are looking for new and fresh ideas to challenge your client in their next workout session, then look no further than these 7 Total Gym killer arm exercises.   Your client will increase arm strength, tone muscles and get the arms of their dreams.  That’s “Sun’s Out, Guns Out” arms!  Have them perform these exercises 3 days a week for the next 6 weeks, with the recommended amount of reps and sets.

3 Point Pull-Ups

Lay stomach down on the glideboard with arms fully extended and grab the wide part of LAT bars with your hands facing one another. Proceed to pull yourself up fast and while you are in the up position, quickly move your hands to the middle grip. Next lower yourself slowly, then pull back up, quickly move your hands to the inside grip, and slowly lower your body. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 5 Reps on each bar).

Seated Wrist Curls

While seated at the top of the glideboard, facing the tower, grasp the handles and with the outside of your forearms rested on your thighs. With palms facing up, flex your wrist upward and slowly come back to the starting position to complete each rep. (2 sets of 25 reps)

Incline (Spiderman) Push-Ups

Stand at the end of the machine facing the standing platform and place hands on the top edge, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back while still holding the standing platform, so that you are in an inclined plank position.  Lower yourself down slowly and as you do, raise your knee up to your elbow. Push your body up until arms are extended to complete the first rep, then you repeat this sequence on the other side of the body. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)


Sit up straight with good posture facing the tower, grasp the handles. With a closed fist curl your arms up from the elbow to your chest. Curl up fast, then come back down to the starting position slowly to complete the rep. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Decline Push-Ups

Facing away from the tower place both hands on the standing platform and kneel at the bottom of the glideboard. Push yourself away from the standing platform and the glideboard will move you up and down the rails.  Make sure that you try to come down far enough that you can see over the platform. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps on Each Side)

Reverse Pull-Ups (On Back)

Lay flat down on your back on top of the glideboard with your head supported.  With your arms fully extended above your head to grab the LAT bars with your hands facing one another. Pull yourself up fast, then lower yourself slowly. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Triceps Kickback

Sit up straight with good posture facing the tower. Grasp handles with your arms fully extended, push your arms down your sides with your palms facing backwards and bring your hands back to the starting position. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Remember to remind your client(s) that each week it will get a little easier.  When doing this program they should look for additional ways to challenge themselves each week because. One of the best and most effective ways to do that is to decrease the break time between reps and sets.  Beating their last time also works well. For example, if it takes 30 minutes to complete the workout the first time, they should be aiming for a completion of 25–29 minutes the next time and so on an so forth.

So, I wish you luck with implementing this routine into your clients’ new exercise program. I’m sure that they will love and appreciate the extra challenge.

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.



Personal Trainers: 7 Ways To Make More Money

7 Top Tips To Help You Boost Your Business As A Coach Or Personal Trainer

So, you’ve been doing this for a while and you feel like you’re working all the time and still barely covering the bills.  And your much-loved work outs, once healthy diet and 8 hour-a-night sleeps are a thing of the past.  Yikes, I get it!  This problem is common with almost all successful trainers, so kudos to you.  YOU MADE IT!  But seriously let’s address some ideas that will help you achieve better balance and more cash.  Here are some ideas to help:

Better Time Management

Some of us just aren’t that great at it.  We say “yes” too much, we run late, we start late.   We allow others to do that to us. We don’t think about commute time and traffic.  If you say ‘that’s not me’, then keep a diary for at least a week or two, and see if any of the above is happening. Once you are aware, then maybe you can improve.

Financially Dense Schedules

Meaning, find a way to max out the income at your peak times.  Also, think about training in one place and have the clients come to you. Even if you charge more, traveling to a client at peak time usually won’t add up, to banging out a session on the hour.  Investigate renting space, converting a room in your home, or contacting a complimenting business about partnering up in a rental.  If you need help with a business plan, many commercial fitness brands like GRAVITY and other organizations can help you.  Check out  Even better join them, support your industry.

Semi Privates

Consider moving towards semi privates, which bring in more money per hour for you and prevent you from turning clients away, especially for prime time spots.

Partner Up

If your prime time spots are now sold out, never turn away business. Find a like-minded trainer that you can shift a few clients to.  See how you work together and get feedback from your clients. Try subbing some clients out with the new person and see how it goes.  Maybe, when you’re taking a much needed vacation, set up the new trainer to succeed.  Newer trainers are very happy to get a good client.  Fill in the time with group training or a specialty class that commands more money, like Pilates or GRAVITY.  Your old clients can join in.

Big Picture

Think about the big picture for your clients. I’m liking the idea of doing 1-6 month programs with my clients. They get a lot more bang for their buck, and I get a lot more bucks for my time.  It can be working with a group to prepare for an event: first time or athletes’ or a general health and fitness.  Most of the research shows that people get better results as a group, and when they make a measurable commitment. This also allows you to combine online sessions with live sessions and create a community within your business … which is highly valuable … with bigger brand building.

Specialty Training

Specialty training, as previously mentioned, is a great way to increase income and add uniqueness to your brand. Companies like Total Gym design the program for you and promote YOU with their brand.  Once again, this requires an initial business plan and financial investment but it will pay off pretty quickly.

Get An Accountant

Get an accountant that understands your business. They are extremely unique, they understand the tax codes and think about what you can and can’t write off for both major expenditures and the small stuff.  Don’t just wing it, I have friends who got audited and it was a horrible mess, not ending in their favor.

We are so lucky to be able to do what we love, preparation and good fiscal habits are a part of any business, including ours.  It’s the good nutrition component to a training plan.  I’ve only touched on a few points that for me have been key.   Please feel free to add your own personal experiences, what works and doesn’t work and lessons you’ve learned for both good and not so much …

About The Author

Debbie Beck - Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer.Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.


Dissolving The Personal Trainer-Client Relationship

3 Top Reasons To Fire Your Clients

Typically, when a person decides to hire a personal trainer or fitness professional, it’s because they want to get into better shape. The understanding is, that in turn, they will receive expert coaching, motivation, inspiration, accountability, structure and occasionally, some tough love … all of which they appreciate tremendously.

The relationship between personal trainer and client can become close and often blossom into a life-long friendship.  However, there are some rare occasions when no matter what you do as a personal trainer, you just may not be able to help or satisfy your client.   The best thing to do, is to dissolve the personal trainer-client relationship and move on.

Of course, terminating the relationship should not be your first choice.  But after a while, it can become your only choice.   You may have a huge disagreement or one of you loses trust in the other.

A lot of times, younger fitness professionals will continue to extend a bad personal trainer-client relationship for any of these 3 reasons.

(1) they think that they can fix the situation over time

(2) they worry that their reputation will take a hit if they fire the client

(3) they need the money and believe that they cannot afford to lose this client

But in reality, dragging out a toxic training relationship that is going nowhere could end up hurting you more than you think.  Most likely, it is just best to just cut ties and learn from the situation.   And, if you do this early enough, it could be one of the best things that happened to you and your business.

When deciding what the right thing to do is, be careful and know the differences between an isolated incident, where a problem can be fixed, versus the obvious RED FLAGS for a potential disastrous end to your training relationship.

3 Signs That You Need To Terminate Your Personal Trainer-Client Relationship TODAY!

You Dread The Session

I’ll tell you this.  If you are dreading the session, I would bet the farm that they are dreading it just as much as you are.  And maybe even more. Energy is such a HUGE component to providing a quality service to your client.  If you are no longer able to inspire your client, then you shouldn’t be training them. From my experience, most personal trainers and group fitness instructors don’t lack energy and enthusiasm. So, if you ARE lacking enthusiasm, that is the first sign that you need to move on.

It’s Not Safe For You And Others

This is an obvious one because you want everyone to feel safe at your facility, at all times.  But if someone is a danger to themselves and/or others, it may also hurt your business and your reputation.

If you suspect any serious danger, at all, with any of your clients (especially if their behavior becomes a pattern), then you need to cut them off immediately and call 911.

They Don’t Respect Your Business

This is a BIG one.  If someone doesn’t respect your business, they can directly or indirectly destroy it. Not referring clients or attending functions is one thing, but bad mouthing you and your facility is completely another and can destroy everything that you’ve worked so hard to build up.

As the old business saying goes, if someone loves your business, they’ll tell someone else. But if they don’t like it, they’ll tell 3,000 people. This is what I mean by destroying your business. They will even lie about you on social media and say how you treated them badly just because their feelings are hurt and they’re upset.

So, if you see a client change from appreciating you, to blatantly disrespecting you or just having a lack of interest in training with you, don’t drag it out or waste your energy. Nip it at the bud early, set them free and your business will be just fine!

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.


6 Exercises For Stand-up Paddle Boarders

Core Exercises on Total Gym GTS

How To Train Your Stand-up Paddle Boarding Enthusiasts With Total Gym Exercises

From oceans to rivers, lakes and ponds, Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a fast-growing recreational pastime. SUP requires a unique combination of core strength, dynamic balance and cardio-respiratory efficiency, making it a fun and challenging way to get a great workout. As this activity has exploded in popularity, I’ve noticed more and more health club members and clients expressing an interest in improving their strength and fitness levels, so they can enjoy their time ‘walking on the water.’

Whether it be running, rock climbing or SUP, whenever I work with a client who is into a particular recreational activity, I always ask this question: “Do you do your favorite activity to get in shape, or do you want to get in shape to maximize enjoyment from that favorite activity?”  It’s always interesting to see how people respond. Most will say they do a particular activity because they feel it’s a great form of exercise. My response is to point out that adding some activity-specific conditioning to their workout routine, can help improve their overall fitness. They will have more strength and stamina to enjoy their favorite pastime. Nowhere is this more important than for Stand-up Paddle Boarding.

The body of water where an individual will be doing most of his or her SUP should also play a factor in the conditioning program.  An ocean will require more focus on dynamic balance to accommodate the constantly changing surface. A lake or pond may require more core and rotational strength to provide the propulsive force to keep moving. To help one of my clients improve his fitness for SUP in Mission Bay (located in San Diego) I created the following workout for him.

Squats and Unilateral Squats

Place feet toward the top of the squat stand positioned shoulder-width apart.  Lie back slowly making sure the head is on the glideboard.  Begin to squat slowly.  Repeat 20 times.  Then lift one leg and with the other, slowly squat.  Going slowly keeps the muscles under resistance for longer and so builds strength and muscle definition faster.  Repeat 12 single leg squats on each leg or 30-45 secs.

Unilateral Chest Press

This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercise, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.  One arm presses help improve core strength by integrating all of the muscles that control thoracic rotation; helpful for the rotational forces generated while paddling. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps each arm or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling 2-Hand Press

Combine hip and core strength; squeeze thighs and gluts, press hips forward and keep spine tall while doing this exercise. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Shoulder Extension

With an upright posture, press the handles back and down past the hips, in an arc motion.  Maintain a stable trunk as the hands return with control, back to the starting position.  This exercise will enhance strength of the upper back and arm muscles (triceps) used for paddling. Keep your spine long and hinge from the hips while pressing arms straight back. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Bicep Curl

Strong arms and grip are a requirement for successfully moving the paddle through the water; doing curls on your Total Gym not only blasts your biceps but also involves many of the muscles responsible for core stability. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

For a good pump – keep one elbow in a flexed (bent) position while doing a rep with the other arm, alternate arms.

Kneeling Torso Rotation

SUP is done in a standing position, therefore strength exercises for the core should be done in a similar position. Keep your hips pressed forward, gluts squeezed and focus on rotating from the shoulders. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Doing timed sets and trying to complete as many reps as possible during the time can be an effective way to increase the cardio-respiratory benefit of the workout.  Make sure to do the same amount of time on each arm or in each direction.

This workout can either be organized horizontally: completing all sets of an exercise before moving to the next.   Or it can be performed vertically: moving from one exercise to the next with little-to-no rest (circuit training). Start with 2 sets of each exercise and progress to 5 sets. If doing horizontal sets, rest 30-45 seconds after each exercise; rest for 90-120 sec. after a complete circuit.

What I love about the way you exercise with Total Gym, is it allows several different options for both foundational exercises and creative movements and more advanced exercises, if needed.    I follow the KISS method (Keep It Simply Silly) and use exercises that focus on the foundational patterns of movement. This way, clients have the highest probability of actually doing the workout I design for them. That’s how this program is designed, to make it more challenging when using timed sets. I challenge clients to complete as many reps as possible in the time frame and then encourage them to meet or beat that number on the next set.

About the Author

Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise.


Total Gym Core Strengthening Program

5 Total Gym Exercises That Will Build A Strong Core

Being in the fitness industry, we all understand the importance of having a strong core.  Fitness professionals also know how to get the core strong and keep it strong.  However, the average person doesn’t think about having a strong core, or if they are, it’s mostly for vanity purposes and say, looking good at the beach.  But in reality, the real goal should be to strengthen the core for FUNCTIONAL  purposes.  Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities and help minimize injury.

Like most personal trainers and fitness professionals, we have all heard our fair share of clients complaining about their bad backs. We see them grimacing and we see the discomfort on their faces.  We don’t like to see our clients in pain.  However, the good news is, that with all these bodily aches and pains, an opportunity is created for us to teach, educate and motivate our clients.  We can get them to start stretching and strengthening their midsection every day, so that they move better and feel better.   Of course, if they come out looking amazing too, with a firmer tummy and/or 6 pack abs, that is a extra bonus!

Use your Total Gym GTS to let your clients know all the benefits of having a strong core and get them to buy into what you are teaching and trying to get them to do.  Have fun with it and keep inspiring them to do more.

Chest Press

Grasp handles to bring the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Facing away from the tower, straddle the rails and sit toward the top of the glideboard.  Position handles next to the rib cage and with cables on the inside of the forearm.   With tension in the cables position the legs on the glideboard with knees slightly bent.  Bring the handles and elbows up to chest height with palms facing down.      Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.    (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Upright Row

Grasp handles and pull the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Straddle the rails and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard, facing the tower.  With tension in the cables, extend arms directly toward the pulleys and lift feet off the floor. Palms face in.    Now repeat that motion to complete the 1st set. Remember to pull in towards your body fast but to go out slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Kneeling Lateral Torso Rotation

Grasp both handles to bring the glideboard up the rails.  Stand facing the rails and anchor handles down near the top edge of the glidgeboard (hand closest to the tower is holding handle).  Kneel on the top portion of the glideboard facing sideways.  Separate the knees to create a wide base of support between them.   With tension in the cable slowly lift both handles from the glideboard and extend the arms diagonally across the body and upwards.  Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.  (3 Sets, 10 Reps in Each Direction)


Attach the SCRUNCH Accessory to the top of the rails.  Facing the tower, keel toward the top of the glideboard.  Grasp the SCRUNCH Accessory cross bar on the outside with palm facing in and rest the elbows on the padded surface.  Maintaining a neutral spine, position the shoulders directly over the elbows.  Press elbows into the scrunch padding to maintain a neutral shoulder position.. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.
(3 Sets, 15 Reps)


Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard and stow the handles.  Remove the standing platform.  With the glideboard at the bottom of the rails, face the tower and kneel on the lower part of the glideboard.  Place forearms towards the top of the glideboard, palms facing in.  Raise the knees off the glideboard and align the neck, shoulders, hips and legs into a level plank position.  Press into the forearms to keeps the shoulders in a neutral position. Shift the glideboard up and down into the closed and open positions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

So there you have it, a simple but VERY effective core strengthening program that your clients can perform on your Total Gym machine to help them to get stronger and become more flexible so that they can protect their back for the long haul and minimize the risk for lower back pain.

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.

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