Every personal trainer has a unique approach to working with clients. As soon as trainers meet clients, the trainers need to learn many things about the person they are about to train. In addition to understanding client goals, they must take the time to learn how the client moves – regardless of prior client training.
The client assessment takes many forms and possibly many sessions to complete. The initial meeting with trainer and client typically includes non-exercise assessments and some form of movements. Depending on the condition of the client, additional movement assessments might be required.
Non-exercise assessments involves skin fold and/or girth measurements. The measurement selection depends on client comfort and goals.
Movements, or exercise, assessments consist of the following:
- Cardiorespiratory tests, such as a 1 mile walk, a 12 minute run, and the YMCA bike test
- Muscular strength tests, such as the YMCA bench press, 5 RM squat, and a pull up
- Muscular endurance tests, such as push ups, modified pull ups, and curl ups
- Muscular power tests, such as a vertical jump, a chair stand, and an anaerobic power step
- Flexibility tests, such as the sit and reach, back scratch, trunk extension, and hip flexion
- Movement tests, such as the overhead squat, single-leg squats, and a push/pull
Which To Use
Ultimately the assessment exercises selected are at the discretion of the trainer, however the client goals play a major factor. For example, an obese client focused on weight loss, doesn’t need to perform a 5 RM squat, but every client should be assessed for movement patterns using an exercise such as the overhead squat.
What to Look For as a Client
As a client meeting with a trainer for the first time, listen to the trainer, take notes, and feel free to ask questions. While trainers are experienced in what they are doing, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about what you are doing and why. If you are not satisfied with the trainer approach or have concerns, speak up or move on.
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