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Why Mastering Exercise Selection and Progression Is an Important Skill for Training Your Clients


Everyone has a workout that fits them, right? With so many new workouts on the scene it’s plausible that there’s one or two out there that best fits your clients. At this point, you probably know that not every workout is a right for your clients, but that doesn’t mean they need give up and take a back seat. One of the joys of training your clients is helping them progress and adapt.


Why Mastering Exercise Selection and Progression Is an Important Skill for Training Your Clients


When you first started your fitness journey what exercises did you struggle to do properly? There was once a time where you were expected to struggle until you got it. If you couldn’t do a full pushup properly you just had to keep practicing regardless of how it looked or felt, but that’s not the case anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Now you can adapt exercises to your heart’s content. If you can’t do a full pushup, you can modify according to your needs. From wall pushups to modified pushups on the knees, there are so many cool variations you can use to achieve the same effect. If the pushup isn’t working, you can swap it out for another exercise that works the chest all together.

With all the research, innovations, and advances in exercise science, there are no excuses for performing techniques you just can’t do anymore. Even if you can’t modify the technique, you can specifically pick areas of the body that need to be strengthened to prepare you to perform the technique. That’s why it’s important to master the art of selection and progression. You’ll understand what exercises are necessary, when to prescribe them, and how to modify techniques.

When you begin working with your clients, do you do any forms of assessments? At this point you probably offer a basic assessment to determine if they’re ready to train; the assessment should also tell you what you need to know about their health. Do you follow up and test their physical readiness? Do you have them perform some basic movements that you’re accustomed to prescribing to gauge how they perform them? If you don’t, start doing this with your new clients.

Once you and your client have gone through a few sessions it’ll be time to increase the challenge. First, make sure they’re able to move forward before you progress them to something more difficult. This is part of mastering the game of exercise progression and selection. Someone who’s not ready or able to perform a certain technique shouldn’t be doing this off the bat and if you’re unsure about their physical readiness then you need to test it to gain a better understanding.

So let’s say by your standards they’re ready to move forward, what’s next? You have to select the right kinds of exercises that will not only challenge them, but those that they can perform safely. Here’s the real kicker, the exercises and the program must also align with what they’re trying to accomplish. You’d never give an older adult whose focus is mobility a program that requires them to lose weight. You, the qualified professional, should know exactly what needs to be done for that person, but it can be tricky when you need to select challenging, fresh, and safe exercises for your clients.

The concept of progression and selection can seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think. The next time you’re about to step up their proverbial game, try taking a familiar technique and pairing it with another exercise. You can also make it more challenging by increasing the difficulty instead of the weight.

Here are some ways you can challenge your biceps using bicep curls:

  • Perform bicep curls while performing a wall sit
  • Perform a bicep curl then an overhead press
  • Perform a few bicep curls then hold the position for X seconds
  • Perform bicep curls on one leg
  • Perform bicep curls on one leg with both eyes closed
  • Perform a bicep curl at the same time you perform a forward lunge

The possibilities are endless and these variations don’t require more weight or reps. Think of your favorite exercises you usually prescribe and brainstorm cool new ways you can begin mixing them with other techniques. Think of interesting new ways to make those old moves more challenging. Let me emphasize a point I just made, you don’t have to up the weights to increase the challenge. Sometimes just changing the position is enough to do it.

If you want more examples of exercises and how to properly progress a client then check out our signature course the NPI-Certified Resistance Training Professional™ program. Not only is it chuck full of ways of adapting your exercises to ensure they’re safe for the client, but it also gives you a list of progressions for each major muscle group and more.

You can check out the NPI-Certified Resistance Training Professional™ program here >>

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