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Mar
23

Maximize Your Clients’ Workout Results – Part 2

JayDee - Training with Mindfulness

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How to Keep your Clients More Engaged in Total Gym or GRAVITY classes.

Hey Total Gym Trainers, it’s Master Trainer JayDee here, back with some more tips on how to and why (benefits) it’s good to train your clients with mindfulness. If you missed the first part of this blog you can catch up here:

So let’s start with those important benefits.

Benefits for Your Client

> Continually cuing your clients during their entire training session will keep them engaged, focused, and centered in the present moment. Training the body and working out is like anything else you do in life. The more you’re focused and concentrating on what you’re doing, the more successful the results.  Thus, your clients will get better results, faster, and keep coming back for more.  Cha-ching!

> Your clients will also realize the difference between working out smarter versus working out harder.

> One of the biggest benefits for your client is the fact that if they are fully engaged in the present moment and in what they are doing, then they are NOT thinking about what to do for dinner, To-Do lists, the meeting at work, their kids, or anything else in the past or future.

> One of my favorite things I often hear from clients is “Wow, that went by fast.” If you keep them totally present and engaged the time will seem to go by much quicker.  Just like if you are fully engaged in your workout, a movie, a concert, or doing your favorite hobby, time seems to just fly by.

Benefits for You

> All these benefits aforementioned for your client will make them realize the unique value you create for them as a trainer. They will notice that you are also fully engaged and giving them 100% of your attention during their well paid-for session.

> The fact that you are super attentive and continually cuing them on neutral spine and posture, core engagement, proper breathing, perfect exercise execution, educational tips, etc. will also make the session go by quicker for you.

> Always search for new ways to cue your clients and constantly monitor them for ways they can improve.  It will keep you mentally sharp and challenged AND praise them for what they’re doing right.  It will help the both of you.

> Nothing upsets me more then seeing trainers who are checking out the hot girls or guys, watching TV, chatting with other members or trainers and not paying attention to their clients while they are performing an exercise.  I can guarantee you these trainers will not be successful and will probably ” burn out” because they are not fully engaged and interested in the task at hand.

A Final Tip

One of the best things I ever did for my personal training was getting certified in Pilates.  And since I turned 50 this year (oh my!) I decided to start taking a lot of yoga.  In both of these “mind-body” disciplines, the instructors are constantly cuing the entire session.  Now, if you’re not about to spend $3-$7K getting a credible certification in one of these disciplines, I simply recommend that you go take a couple of Pilates or yoga classes.  Going in with open ears and really soak up the beautiful adverbs and colorful ways in which they verbally cue will be a great inspiration for you, your cuing and your mind.

As professionals, we can always improve our training skills and the experience we create for our clients.  So add some mindfulness to your sessions and enjoy the powerful benefits for you and your clients!

About JayDee

JayDee Cutting III, MBAJayDee Cutting III, MBA is an Educator for the American Council On Exercise and holds 12 fitness certifications including Pilates, yoga, personal training, lifestyle and weight management.  JayDee is a Total Gym master trainer and spokesmodel since 2004.  He lectures and teaches wellness at Rancho La Puerta Fitness Spa and is featured in over 10 fitness DVDs and over 40 fitness television programs.  He developed his own Coregolf Fitness Program and founded the NiceDogYoga Company. His mission statement is: “My passion is inspiring people to enhance their lives through wellness, creating healthier, happier, higher qualities of life.”

Mar
6

Using Total Gym for Spinal Stabilization #2

Spinal Stabilization on Total Gym PartII

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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.

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

cap

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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.

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.

Jan
19

Understanding Total Gym Progressions – Part 4

Combining Planks, Bridges, Back Flies for the Perfect Routine

 Maria Sollon

(Watch the Video)

Why not rock out the New Year with some new challenges.  Master your workouts with simple progressions that not only add a variety to your old routine, but also add the extra challenge your body may need.

Workouts would get boring pretty quickly if you did the same one every day.  Your clients would feel the same way if you never varied their routine.  As a trainer, you have a responsibility to your clients to know and understand at least two progressions for every exercise you teach.  You must know when and where to implement the different training variables.  This is an important concept that separates a good trainer from a mediocre one.

Let’s dive into the topic of exercise progression…

WHAT IS EXERCISE PROGRESSION

Exercise progression is a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills.  This is an important concept to understand since every client has different goals and training needs as well as his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses.  What is challenging for one may be easy for another.  Once a skill or task is mastered, something needs to be altered for further advances.   This is where proper progression becomes an art form.

PROGRESSING AN EXERCISE

There are numerous ways to progress an exercise.  Depending on a client’s needs is how you (the trainer) can plan the progression.  For example, your client may have increased strength and balance in their posterior chain.  Rather than performing a seated back row from a lower incline, they can progress to a moderate incline and a kneeling position.

It is important to understand how each progression affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement skill.  In time, you can effectively implement the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.

Listed are some primary ways to progress an exercise.

> Resistance – External resistance adds a strength challenge as long as form does not suffer

> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower

> Body Position – altering body position challenges different muscle angles

> Sets/ Reps/ Sequences/ Style – Manipulating these factors enhance the workout challenge

> Balance – Balance displacement increase the intensity of the exercise.

> Uni VS Bilateral Movements – Unilateral movements allow strength development be focused on the weaker side while incorporating core stabilizers.

> Lever Length – basic biomechanical principles make an exercise harder or easier by moving the weight farther or closer to the fulcrum.

> Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time!

> Eyes Closed – Closing the eyes increase the balance and core stability challenge, especially standing on one leg.

> Range of Motion – Incorporating varied ranges of motion in all angles creates challenges for a given exercise.

Progressions keep exercises challenging and allow the flexibility for your clients to keep striving to achieve their best.  Adding these dimensions to your client’s workouts can be a successful game changer.

TOTAL GYM PROGRESSION TIPS

The Total Gym machine is an excellent piece of equipment that offers countless variations to progress an exercise by accommodating to the user.  It’s a multipurpose machine that can adapt to each client’s body structure, strength level, and training goals desired to accomplish.   Simple adjustments can make tough challenges!

Listed below are examples of how prepare your Total Gym unit for the appropriate progressions your clients may need.

Adjust the Incline Appropriately

Increasing or lowering the incline changes the feel of an exercise.  Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work and a lower incline is more challenging for core work.

Adjusting the Cables

Moving the cable pin placement allows a different range of motion to occur.  It is very effective for accommodating different body frames.

Changing the Stance Position

Adjusting the hand/ leg stance during specific exercises can challenge an exercise.   Varying the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glideboard by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.

Extra Resistance

Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength.  A client’s form should be perfected before advancing or adding external resist.  Adding external weight is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.

Tempo, Sets, & Reps

Incorporating different tempo speeds along with varied sets and rep ranges can add a challenge to any exercise.

Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts.  This is what will make all the difference for a successful session each time!

EXERCISE PROGRESSION EXAMPLES

Let’s discuss 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge.  Planks, Bridges, and Back Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Try the following exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.  Be creative in the way you deliver the exercises as well.  For example, perform them one after the other in circuit format, add cardio elements in between each set, OR perform the exercise for a set period of time.  You as their trainer can create the best method of execution for your client’s goals.

Core – Planks

Kneeling

Open GB

Lower incline

Single leg

Legs – Bridge Press

Roll hips up/down

Open GB & press

Single leg

Dynamic motion

Arms – Back Flies

Seated

Kneeling

High kneeling

Static equilibrium

Check out the video link to view how these exercises progress.

These are just a few examples of how to progress basic exercises.  The possibilities to increase the challenge are endless.  Therefore, when an exercise become too easy or your workout needs an uplift, try increasing the intensity of the movement by making small adjustments to an exercise you perform well.

As a personal trainer, it is important to be knowledgeable on how to safely and effectively progress your clients when they are ready to advance.  Understanding the modifications, variations and specifics to each movement will help you intelligently layer an exercise for proper progression.  The most basic exercises can be some of the most challenging!

About the Author

Maria Sollon ScallyMaria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.

http://www.groovysweat.com

http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)

http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

 

 

 

 

 

Jan
11

6 New Year Tips – Motivate Your Members

1624033

How to Encourage Your Members and Clients When They Lose Motivation

Let’s face it … motivation is everything! We can have ALL the education in the world … be great role models as teachers or trainers, but if we do not EXUDE positive energy and BUILD that connection with our clients or members, we are bound to lose them.

There is nothing worse when we think all is going well with our classes and training sessions and suddenly numbers start to dwindle in class and clients or members begin cancelling sessions. Sometimes it is difficult to take responsibility for these circumstances, but it is necessary. For sure we cannot always expect 100 percent from our participants: we are all human and have our ups and downs, and motivation can certainly fluctuate from day to day. Our role, as teachers, however is to keep them coming back, ensure that they are happy and staying consistent with their exercise and training sessions.

Here are 6 tips to encourage your members; catch them before they lose motivation and get them back when they do.

Set a Clear Goal and Track Their Progress

If a precise program and goal setting is in place, there is little chance that you will lose them. It is important to discuss, from the get-go, factors that might interfere with their progress, or set them back a bit, such as family commitments, work, travel etc. This way, we have background information in place to refer to when times are tough. There should be timelines set, where client and trainer take a time-out and look at where they have progressed or not. This sit down and reflection of changes could be decided upon at the first session, once a month or every 6 weeks if preferred.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Choose your words well and always offer positive reinforcement and feedback for their performance: encouragement always helps to motivate.  I like to send brief text messages or emails with either a positive quote for the day or a quick positive feedback about their workout. I find that clients enjoy this and look forward to it.

Change it Up!

It is always important to keep training sessions or class choreography and exercises challenging, fun and full of variety. When a client or member gets the same old routine, that is a turn off and it’s boring. Even just changing the order of exercises in a workout can make a difference. Everyone loves a change and a challenge and when clients begin to feel that they are not challenged anymore, they for sure will lose motivation and probably stop showing up. We must always show an interest in their lives and be sympathetic to how they are feeling.

It’s Not About You – It’s About Them

How we feel on any given day is not important. To show any signs of frustration or stress that we may be experiencing is not what a client needs when they are coming to clear their own heads with their own problems. To be greeted with a great smile, a caring attitude and a strong focus for their workouts will result in a positive effort from them.

Put in the Extra Effort

When I notice a client just going through the motions, I try to ask what is on their mind, especially if it is not normal behavior for them. In a one-on-one training session, it is easier to strike a conversation and ask what may be going on in their life than in a class. Perhaps when you notice that a class participant looks out of sort, some eye contact or making a generic statement about trying to stay in the zone may help. If there is an opportunity to take them aside after class and show concern, that would be welcome, I am sure.

There is a difference between just having a bad day as opposed to some serious personal matter or injury.  I would never ignore a sign of unrest or sadness with a client.  Pretending that everything is alright and just going through the motions yourself is not an indication that you truly care about your client’s well-being. It would make more sense to comment about the fact that you notice they do not seem to be “in the room” and ask if they prefer more of a stretch session or talking. If, on the other hand, they are just not focused, I would always create a fun challenge like trying to beat time under tension with each set. Having a client compete with him or herself is always a hit and a way to keep the training session fun.  Example: how many seconds would it take to row 300 meters or see how long they can hold a plank. In a class situation, it is fun to divide the class in half or small groups and create circuit style challenges.

Remembering birthdays is a big one. It is easy to save these dates on your calendar so they come up and especially with Facebook, how can we forget? A small gesture like a healthy muffin with a candle goes a long way.

How to Get the Motivation Back?

When clients and class participants just plain stop coming, the best way to get them back is to create an outing.  Organizing events out of the gym builds a different kind of support system and bond.  Everyone loves to feel that they belong and are accepted by their peers. There is often not enough time in a training session or class to really get to know your members so getting together and doing something different usually works well.

Perhaps suggest they bring a buddy to the next class could help too.

If you have a juice bar at your facility, that is a great area to hang out together after a session or class. We often offer free samples when a new product comes in which works well to get the camaraderie going.

About the Author

Frances Michaelson Frances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.

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