The Power of Your Touch: II

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Here are 6 tips about assisting that all trainers should get to know to help the trainer-client rapport remain professional, effective yet fun.
Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines:

1. Understand why you are assisting.

Be careful to not over correct them. Remember that touch can speak louder than words, so if you are feeling like a drill sergeant wanting to tell them they are ‘doing it all wrong’ then they will feel this. Check your attitude first before you offer an unwelcomed, imposing cue.

2. Be a professional.

Remember that touch can be intimate. Don’t be that trainer who sends creepy, flirtatious signals out, regardless of whether you are male or female. You may find out later that your training contract has been cancelled and you’ve lost a good client.

3. Stabilize before you mobilize.

Be sure the client’s body is stable before you shift and move them from an unstable position. For example, if you notice their hips are not squared properly in the split squat or the lunge (both unilateral movements that challenges the core), first offer them a verbal cue. If this does not correct the misalignment, then look at their feet. Offer them your arm, a dowel, or a pole to help stabilize them. Always attempt to get the client in alignment using verbal cues first before you use your hands to assist.

4. Listen to your client and ask for permission.

Be sure you’re in tune with each client. While it has been observed that a good majority of people are ‘touch-starved’ and will therefore feel comfortable with being touched, if you are in doubt, then simply refrain. Oftentimes, asking for permission such as by saying “Is it okay to support here?” is all it takes. This will be especially crucial when it involves the male to female relation, so always lean toward caution if you are uncertain about the vibe you’re receiving. Always respect the client and remember that most clients will let you know if they don’t want to be touched.

5. Be gentle yet firm.

With all this being said, the question is raised, how much pressure is appropriate? This is a sensitive matter that will really vary from person to person. Just remember to always act with purpose. Aim for a strong and supportive touch, while also being compassionate and nurturing. Some clients will need a firm hands-on assist, while others may prefer a more gentle fingertip guidance. This understanding of what is appropriate when touching can be transformative for both the client and trainer.

6. Keep a sense of humor.

Perfection can be stifling! Remember that every ‘body’ is different—possessing individual quirks, nuances and even a unique way or attitude. Especially with new clients, you will observe many mistakes and funny if not curious, body ‘disconnects’. Most people don’t ‘inhabit’ their bodies so it’s the trainer’s job to help them to connect, to feel so they may actually begin to live in their bodies. Be aware of this and you could become that trainer that they’ll want to keep around for a lifetime!


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