I was having a discussion with a fellow instructor yesterday about whether training the same exercises to people every time is beneficial,…. or should I have them experience something new each session?
This is a battle I go back and forth with as an instructor. I have had clients tell me, “my last trainer did the same exercises every session and I got so board!” They follow-up with saying how they “love the variety I bring to each session it really keeps them on their toes!” Always nice to hear… however is this really beneficial to my clients?
I teach 5-9 hours a day each client is different and I rarely am able to do the same routine with every client. Injuries, age, flexibility, and strength never come in the same package. But there are day’s when I am so bored with myself and need that challenge of teaching something new. Each month I attempt to have a focus in hopes that by the end of the month they have learned something new and perfected it. There are times when I am reaching in my mental bag of exercises and think “oh, I haven’t done that in a while!” Is this bad? Or, do I like some instructors stick with the typical basic level one exercises until the client perfects this then move on? I guess this also raises the question is there a right and wrong way to create a routine for your clients?
First question, When starting out with a client I ALWAYS stick to the beginner level even if they say “I have been doing pilates for 10 years.” I really don’t know what that means because I don’t trust that everyone really understands the body and movement. Therefore upon the first few weeks with someone I typically do go through the same exercises. Might be a different sequence, but I want to be sure they know the basics. Lets face it, most people’s body’s feel different every day. We have day’s when we are full of ourselves and think we can do it all, or day’s when we have no more energy to give and hope that this workout will pep me up. We have to adapt to who is in front of us and how they are feeling, but also know when to read their body and when you can push them a little more.
Second, Is it bad to change things up? To add in a new challenge is never a bad thing. I don’t want my clients to feel like they aren’t being successful. Even if they have no business moving to the next level then I add props to make it more challenging. Maybe at this point they will realize their weakness and feel accomplished when gaining more stability, strength and control.
Third, Is there a right and wrong way to create a routine for your clients? As a pilates instructor my answer to this question is yes. In my mind the fitness industry has evolved from bi’s and tri’s one day to shoulders, back the next and legs to follow with cardio to end out the week…. really? sounds boring to me and frankly it isn’t functional… why would you want to be at dinner not able to raise your glass of water because you over worked your arms the day before? Or when it is that painful to sit on the toilet because your quads hurt so much from the over abundance of lunges you did. This sounds awful! So yes there is a right and wrong way in my professional opinion to train people. Functional movements utilizing your entire body make sense. To be able to work everything makes me feel like I don’t have to spend so many day’s and so much time focusing on each area individually. Pilates for those who don’t know is a full body exercise focusing on building strength from within. Each movement is an extension of your core strength. Without igniting your core the movement looses its proper function. We focus on the small and larger muscles of the body. The smaller muscles help to support the larger ones and prevent them from injury.
I have clients ask if we can focus on arms today. This doesn’t mean they won’t experience the entire body and they aren’t going to walk away feeling like they can’t hold the steering wheel to drive home. (Clients are our lively hood for those who are instructors and trainers.) We have to make sure they are happy and feeling a sense of accomplishment. They need to walk away feeling confident, stronger, more relaxed and with the desire to come back.