Every trainer eventually encounters a client who seems to be working incredibly hard, yet whose progress is constantly hindered by the fact that he or she is straining him or herself. He or she is often uncomfortable or in pain. Worse, there are times when injuries have occurred. If this is the case, there’s something wrong. Your client is failing to execute the correct movement while maintaining proper form during his or her workout routine.
In such a circumstance, the next course of action will be to pay attention to what your client is doing inside the gym so that you can further assist him or her and correct their movement immediately when they are doing something wrong.
Corrective Exercise in a Nutshell
At times, poor motor control, reduced mobility, or lack of strength in a muscle lead your clients to execute a movement incorrectly. Muscular imbalances, postural issues, and aberrant movement patterns might lead to discomfort, pain, and not to mention injury. This is where corrective exercise comes in.
So what is corrective exercise, to begin with? To simply put, a corrective exercise is a movement or exercise chosen to correct a specific dysfunction. It is crucial in resolving and managing injuries and movement imbalances. By incorporating this practice, your clients can reap long-term rewards.
How to Use External and Internal Cues
It’s important to cue a client when you see he or she isn’t executing the right movements or the proper form. You can do so in two ways: with internal cues or external cues.
Internal cues are asking clients to focus on something that’s happening inside the body. For instance, trainers often say, “squeeze this” or “brace that” during an exercise. This can be quite beneficial, but according to Gabriele Wulf Ph.D., external cues are more effective when it comes to helping someone learn a complex movement.
External cues are when you ask your clients to focus on something that’s happening externally. For instance, instead of telling him “spread your knees” during a squat, a more effective external focus would be to tell him to “stretch the band” during each repetition. External cues can help your clients better learn and more effectively engage in more complex corrective exercises.
How to Provide Feedback during Corrective Exercises
When it comes to providing feedback, it is essential to first allow your clients to feel how their bodies naturally try to move before giving feedback and making a correction. That being said, let your client start with a light load, or no load at all, and have him or her perform several repetitions.
At the end of the set, summarize what your client needs to do differently to correct his or her form. Then, you can go ahead and provide good feedback using external cues as well. This is because research suggests that giving clients feedback immediately after a short set, instead of during it, improves motor learning.
// Wrapped Up
Ultimately, it defeats the purpose of working out if your clients are executing exercises yet not hitting the right muscles or worse, compromising their bodies because of incorrect form. This is why it is your responsibility as a trainer to ensure that you assist your client and help them make the necessary corrections to ensure a successful workout session. Correcting form with effective cues is how you, as a trainer, can ensure that your clients stay safe and comfortable while working out. In the end, you want to ensure that your clients are doing the right thing and getting the best workout results that they so deserve.