Here at Coconut Fitness, we take training programme design very seriously. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, posture improvement, post-rehabilitation or lifestyle management, all our programmes are designed specifically for the individual.
After all, isn’t that what ‘personal training’ is all about?
Unfortunately, I have witnessed many trainers apply the same programme to all their clients in a given day. Some trainers even just look on YouTube to find the latest craze in conditioning and then throw it at their clients, irrespective of their goals, limitations, exercise background and predisposed injury concerns.
Our comprehensive assessments at Coconut Fitness are over 90-minutes long and we carry out over 50 unique measurements and recordings in order to build up a profile of each client so we can design them an individualised conditioning programme.
This post is the first of a 5-part series of articles on a step-by-step guide to designing a training programme so you can gain an insight into how a C.H.E.K Practitioner conducts their work and hopefully you’ll be able to see what sets them apart from the rest.
Case Study: Emma
Emma wanted to work with me to help her train for her first ever Half Marathon. The race date had been set and she had acquired a running routine already to guide her during training.
My job was to get her in the greatest physical shape possible to run the best race she could. Her goal was to complete the Chester Half Marathon in under 2 hours 30 minutes and run it pain-free.
Emma hadn’t really exercised too much beforehand but did come from a dancing background, which meant she would have the motor abilities to perform all the exercises I prescribed. She also had a clean bill of health apart from a “clicky” hip and some knee pain sometimes if she did go out for a run.
The Pre-Assessment Questionnaires
Like all of our clients, Emma completed five online questionnaires before the assessment took place. This was to gather as much information as possible ranging from pain and discomfort to eating and lifestyle habits.
These questionnaires are very thorough but tend to be very thought-provoking for the client, helping them to focus on their goals and give a true indication of their current level of health.
Posture is the position of the limbs or carriage of the body as a whole and is where movement begins and ends. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to assess this with each client.
Here are a selection of some of the assessments I performed on Emma. As Paul Chek says “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing!”
Testing the length/tension relationships of the muscles in the body can reveal the impact they have on posture. A posture assessment alone is not enough.
Due to the visceral, glandular and mental-emotional stress factors, as well as the influence of prior injury or drug stressors on the body, the posture assessment may not match what we have projected to find. Muscle testing allows us to look a little deeper.
See some of the tests we carried out on Emma. there are over 30 assessments for this section alone!
Abdominal Wall Function
The Transverse Abdominis (TVA) is probably the most important stabiliser muscle in the body. It not only has intimate communication with other stabilising structures throughout the body but its activation has also been shown to precede arm or leg movement. Very important for running then!
The Lower Abdominal muscles also play a key role in stabilising not only your spine but your entire musculoskeletal system during running!
Assessing the function of the abdominal wall is not only essential but is commonly overlooked in most personal trainers’ assessments.
After completing all the questionnaires and 90 minutes of thorough assessments on Emma, I managed to obtain enough information on her musculoskeletal system, lifestyle, eating habits, injury history, goals and vision to begin designing her personalised conditioning programme.
Prior to any performance related programme, all clients need to have their static posture screened and undergo the Functional Movement Screening test which will assess how Emma’s body functions when in motion.
This will be explained in Part 2 of the Step-by-Step Guide To Designing A Training Programme series
Let us know if you have a questions about any of the aforementioned assessments.