A few weeks ago I read a blog post by Mike Boyle entitled “Is your Box Too Small”. The article discussed expanding your “fitness tool kit,” and developing your knowledge base to avoid becoming one- dimensional. For example, if your only tool is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. To add a dynamic element, it is extremely beneficial and challenging to develop a new tool for both you and your clients in your workouts. Sadly, through my observation, I believe that most trainers do not invest in new tools and seem to only want to use that hammer. At the end of the day our goal is to get our clients’ results; why not learn the most we can and apply it so our clients achieve their goals more effectively?
When I do see personal trainers take initiative and utilize different tools, I often see them misused (TRX Suspension, Rip Trainers and Kettlebells, just to name a few). Trainers should strive to use new tools and learn and integrate new techniques into their clients’ workouts, but they should have a professional level of expertise or a certification. Attend a TRX course and you will see the many progressions and regressions from it. These courses are eye opening and really explain not just how the tool is used but why it is used in certain ways. Furthermore, TRX produces wonderful educational material which is free of charge on their website and blogs if you are unable to attend the course. Listed below is a link to a video that I have watched several times which addresses the common mistakes many trainers make when using the TRX.
Additionally, there is even more information available regarding Kettlebells and their proper use. If you cannot get a Kettlebell certification, please watch the video demonstrations like it is game film. As a trainer, you should watch these videos over and over until you feel confident that you understand the moves and proper form completely. You must be meticulous, especially when it comes to Kettlebells. Currently, I am working with a client who has restarted personal training after a severe back injury he sustained using Ketttlebells incorrectly with another trainer who did not stress proper Kettlebell form. His particular injury occurred over a year ago and he still has a substantial amount of physical therapy to even return to his prior level. Not knowing how to use your new tools is not only dangerous to your clients, but to your business as well. Case in point my client; I train him while my wife, Sarah, now trains his wife. His previous trainer who caused his injury has subsequently lost two clients because he inaccurately thought he could just pick up a Kettlebell and integrate it into workouts without being completely informed. Once you absorb all the information about the tools in your toolbox, you can produce phenomenal results for your clients and your business. As trainers, we owe it to our clients to give them the best service possible.
My most recent purchase was Josh Henkin’s Ultimate Sandbag™. Thus far I have watched the free introductory DVD twice and almost every video he has put on YouTube and I downloaded the sandbag training book on my e-reader while waiting for it to arrive in the mail (just ask my wife how tired she is of hearing Josh’s voice). I now feel confident in teaching the techniques and principles that the sandbag is built on. I believe that this product is benefical and the information is useful.
I also encourage you to think creatively yet practically about the tools you can use. For my current in- home business model, a sandbag may not be the most convenient thing to work with, but it works for me. Hauling a sandbag around is totally worth it when I take it out and see the excited look on my clients’ faces. It becomes a challenge for them and they want to master it. Once they have it is another goal they have overcome and I, as a result, become a better trainer.
As you continue to hone your craft, be sure to apply these takeaways to your training:
- Use tools that apply to your philosophies of training. If you have not used the tool in recent months, remove it from your training repertoire. Chances are the tool is not in line with your philosophy and you will not use it. Personally, I like to train with the TRX products, Kettlebells, Ropes, Dumbbells, Barbells, Body Weight, Val Slides and Bands, to name a few favorites. Learn as much as you can about the tools you feel most passionate about.
- Learn from others who are the best in the industry and specific fields. People like Todd Durkin, Mike Boyle, Robert Dos Remedios, Alwyn & Rachel Cosgrove and Juan Carlos Santana; the list goes on and on (almost any presenter on the Perform Better circuit). These giants of the industry change the way we think and push us to become better. Almost all of them have free content on the internet for us to learn from. Buy their DVD’s, watch their YouTube clips and pay attention, you might learn a few new techniques.
- Become so good at using your tools that you can teach others how to properly use them. This one seems so simple but it actually is not. If you are not doing the above two points then you are behind the eight ball. Know the basics and build from that. Using your equipment properly will get your clients better results, keep them injury free and, most importantly, keep them coming back.