One Thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning

Today’s blog will explore the One Thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning… and it’s not exercises or equipment. Most newly qualified Personal Trainers, get confused and overwhelmed when planning for their clients, so today will keep it really simple and focus on just the ONE thing you need to know first.

There are also three mock questions to test your knowledge on today’s content. Start by watching the video tutorial:

Watch: One Thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning

One Thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning

The problems with planning

As a Personal Trainer, planning can be a source of overwhelm and confusion. Most of this frustration comes from having the planning process upside down and focusing on the wrong things. Let’s first recognise whether you need to tweak your planning processes, as there are some key signs and symptoms that we see every time in those that have their planning processes upside down.

  • You spend hours planning one session
  • It starts with a blank piece of paper
  • You feel dread at the thought of planning a client session
  • Planning gets delayed and “put off” to the point you sometimes avoid it entirely
  • Your desk is full of lots of bits of paper, half of which are illegible.
  • Self-doubt is high
  • You don’t consider the client’s goal and the ability for each session

If you have any of these signs and symptoms, then listen up…

this blog will turn your planning upside down…

and remove your procrastination, frustration, overwhelm and confusion.

It is the physiological adaptation that matters

The single most important thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning is that client results area a result of Anatomical and Physiological Adaptations, not exericses. Therefore your session planning should focus on the adaptation your client wants to see.

This may sound complicated, but its not really…

First, you need to know your client’s goal. This is not just the surface goal that they say they want but the measurable performance changes you want to see across the time you spend together. For example goals could include:

  • hypertrophy (bigger diameter of muscles)
  • reduced fat mass
  • improved VO2Max (cardiovascular fitness capacity)
  • increased endurance (i.e. run for longer)
  • greater power etc

Then you need to know the physiological adaptation that is linked to that goal.

For example a hypertrophy goal, requires stimulation of the type 2a muscle fibres, over a large volume. For best hypertrophy results the recommendations are to sit between a repetition maximum of 8-12 reps. This means getting to overload at the end of the 10th rep, so they cant o an 11th repetition.

The other requirement for hypertrophy is volume and frequency, you need to stimulate all muscles at least twice per week, with multiple sets of overload.

Then any cardiovascular work can complement this by working either side of the anaerobic threshold, which stimulates the same energy system (lactic acid) and the same muscle fibre type (type 2a)

So, for hypertrophy goals, your client needs to work at 8-12 RM, with 2-3 sets per exercise, at least twice per week.

As long as the client’s muscles get to overload in this required intensity, for enough volume, the client will get hypertrophy as the adaptation. This means that muscle diameter increases, and the capacity of the muscle improves

… and that’s the hypertrophy your client wanted

Once you know the adaptation and variables you need to focus on, you need to make sure you include the whole body and haven’t missed anything out

Create a balanced whole-body session

If the client is training two to three times a week, make sure you have created a whole body session, so every muscle gets challenged multiple times per week. If your client is training 4 or more times per week you might create a split, focusing on different areas of the body in each session. But remember you need to challenge each muscle at least twice inside a 7 day window (ideally every 72hours).

Here are the muscle groups you need to target: and challenge:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings and gluteals
  • Chest – Pectoralis Major
  • Mid back – Trapezius and Rhomboids
  • Deltoids (shoulders)
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Core and lower back (this may not need to be a separate exercise if the core is challenged as a stabilising muscle in other exercises – like a back squat for example)
  • Biceps Brachii and Triceps Brachii (these may not need to be a separate exercise if the arms are challenged as synergist muscles in other exercises – like a press up which also works the triceps for example)

The exercise is the last thing to plan

You now know the client goal, the adaptation required, the variables (reps and sets) for the session, and you know which muscle groups you want to target.

Now you plan the exercise … and it’s the last thing you plan

If you choose the quadriceps as the muscle, you could choose any exercise that works the Quadriceps as a prime mover. This could be a squat, leg extension, leg press, lunge etc

Now let’s say you chose a squat, it doesn’t matter what type of squat it is… it could be a sit-to-stand, a bodyweight squat, a goblet squat, a front squat or a back squat.

… you might even get into the exercise and decide that squats aren’t appropriate and you’ll change to the leg press.

The exercise is irrelevant as long as the client gets overloaded. this means that they challenge the muscle so much that they can’t do another repetition.

As a Personal trainer, it is your job to find the right option for the client’s ability, strength and coordination. You can then regress and progress the exercises on the session as the client’s needs change.

You see planning is not about the exercise, it’s about creating an anatomical and physiological adaptation

Planning doesn’t need to be overwhelming

Our FIT-Progressions online programme breaks down all planning variables in detail with clear protocols to follow that will cut through any planning overwhelm.

Plus you learn how to periodise your planning of these systems to allow for logical progressive overload so your client can get their goal every time.

>>>> Join us for FIT-Progressions here

Become a knowledgeable and confident FITPRO, with a clear strategy to get results with your clients every time.

There’s no more self-doubt. There’s no more guessing what to plan or how to get client results. FIT-Progressions has 8 modules and 18 video tutorials that guide you through every stage of your Level 3 Personal Trainer case study, and how to work with clients effectively.

This is for you if you’re…

  • struggling to complete your coursework for PT, Yoga, or Pilates
  • a newly qualified FITPRO that feels stuck or overwhelmed
  • unsure where to start when planning a client session
  • worrying about applying your course knowledge with a real client
  • doubting you could get results and lack structure to client packages
  • anxious and confused about how to get found and get busy

Click the link to find out more and join us:

Test your knowledge with today’s planning mock questions:

[NOTE: The answers are below the 3rd question]

Q1: Which of the following is an exercise where the pectoralis major is the prime mover?

A. Biceps Curl
B. Bench Press
C. Lateral Raise
D. Ab Crunch

Q2: What is overload?

A. Choosing the weight that you would do yourself and hoping its right for the client
B. Finding an intensity that is gentle and allows you to have a few more reps I reserve when you finish the desired number of repetitions
C. Finding an intensity that is so hard you can only just complete the desired number of repetitions, and cannot do one more
D. Finding an intensity that is so hard you fail on two repetitions before the desired number of repetitions

Q3: How often should every muscle be challenged in order to get consistent physiological adaptions?
A. at least every 72 hours
B. at least every 48 hours
C. at least every 7 days
D. at least every 5 days

Answers to the mock questions are :

Question 1= B, Question 2 = C, Question 3 = A

If you want more mock questions like this, then you can download more Free Mock Questions: DOWNLOAD NOW

Dedicated to More

Hayley “One Thing Every Personal Trainer Must Know About Planning” Bergman

Parallel Coaching

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