What Your Personal Trainer Should Do For You (And What They Shouldn’t)

Today’s post is about the scope of practice for personal trainers and what we can expect to gain from working with one. It also outlines the limitations of personal trainers and what circumstances need to be referred out.

What Personal Trainers Can Do:
Design and Implement training programs to improve performance and general health
Assess movement dysfunction and prescribe corrective exercise
Educate the general public in the usage of self-myofascial release and other therapeutic self-care
Provide guidance to the general public concerning general nutritional guidelines and facts
Refer clients to the proper specialist

What Personal Trainers Can’t Do:
Diagnose chronic and acute injuries
Prescribe supplements or nutritional strategies
Design rehabilitation protocols
Treat injury and disease

Personal training provides practicing gym membership an outlet to gain advice on training techniques and general health principles. In certain circumstances, there is a risk of trainers providing too much.

In my experience, this generally involves an injured client, or someone with chronic disease. Based off of the guidelines provided by the American Academy of Sports Medicine, certain individuals who have chronic disease should not be doing vigorous exercise with a personal trainer UNLESS REFERRED BY A DOCTOR. These include…

1. Those with symptomatic or known cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease
2. Those with two or more cardiovascular risk factors (these risk factors include being over 45 years old and not knowing your blood pressure, among others)

From an injury standpoint, those who are post-op or recently injured NEED to be referred to an athletic trainer, physical therapist or their doctor if there is no referral network already provided.

I know many trainers and coaches who are adept at realizing injuries and practicing safe training strategies with chronic disease, the beautiful thing is that these are generally the same folks who know
when to refer out.

It’s not that high-risk or injured clients can’t have a personal trainer, it’s that high-risk clients need to have a doctor working WITH the personal trainer (hopefully with proper communication) to enable a well-rounded and safe approach to training.

Basically speaking, let everybody do the job that they signed up for.

Thanks for reading.

-Kev

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