Injury Prevention: One of the Most Overlooked Aspects in Fitness Coaching
Image credit: freepik
Fitness coaches have a meaningful role in guiding their clients towards their best version of themselves. But one of their most critical roles — and often among the most understated — is their responsibility to minimize injuries or accidents while training.
According to the NIH, among the most common causes of sports injuries are the incorrect use of exercise techniques, improper training schedules, and a failure to observe proper progressions. Fitness coaches are trained to have a deeper understanding of the human body, and are equipped with the knowledge to design exercise programs that can help clients to prevent injuries.
When it comes to fitness coaching, injury prevention could keep clients from encountering minor to life-altering injuries. Here’s what you need to know about injury prevention.
Pursuing and maintaining the proper certifications
If you’re going to be training clients into pursuing better physicality and health, then it’s important that you’re equipped with the proper resources to do this safely. This is why you should be investing continuously in your education in order to ensure that you’re continuously learning to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. For instance, The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers different courses for fitness instructors, including programs that focus on stretching and flexibility for injury prevention.
It is important that you pursue these qualifications if you don’t already have them. This is because the majority of professional athletic coaching positions require coaches to maintain certifications in injury-related knowledge, such as CPR and first aid. With injuries a common risk in fitness training, it is vital that coaches are fully qualified to deal with any issues that may happen to prevent further injury. A fitness coach who has the credentials that show they are qualified in injury prevention and first aid will also be much more likely to be hired by clients.
Coaches should regularly monitor their clients to ensure that they are familiar with their physical conditions in order to properly guide them through training. This can be done by using the training monitoring methods used by many coaches and practitioners, such as physiological measures, psychological self-reported questionnaires, and occasionally biochemical measures.
Coaches should also be noting progress indicators after each training session. Doing so would largely benefit your assessments of what is or isn’t effective. This will help you avoid abruptly implementing changes during training.
Listening to your client’s needs
Clients often want to be trained to push their limits. But a coach’s primary objective should be to design a safe and realistic training program. Knowing your client’s needs could help you maximize safety and progress, and allow you to condition clients gradually at the correct pace.
Regularly monitoring your client’s progress and health should allow you to identify trouble spots, such as poor mechanics or mobility restraints. Coaches should be guided by this familiarity in order to design a plan that can both pay closer attention to these areas, and help improve upon them.
It’s also important to keep in mind that a client may not realize that they are risking injury or will want to push on regardless. Coaches need to pay attention to non-verbal cues that could indicate a higher risk of injury. These may come in the form of pain reflexes, poorer than usual performance, and other subtle cues that could point to your client’s diminished ability to execute exercises safely.
Helping clients to grow in their passion for sports and physical activity is a rewarding journey as a coach. But as much as progress and success are key goals, the first priority should always be safety through injury prevention.
Article was written by Ressie Jane