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Personal Training Programming | How to train an obese couple

Aug 05, 2020


How to train an obese couple

The number one problem most personal trainers have is how to program. Here's the NSCA Personal Trainer Quarterly, June 2018 – a list of the seven primary movement patterns & a summary for resistance exercise programs:

1. Hinge: hip-dominant – deadlift variations, hip thrusts & bridges. Hip Extension (glutes & adductors)

2. Knee-dominant (bilateral/unilateral): squat variations, multi-planar squats, all lunge variations – At Show Up Fitness we separate this into knee-dominant vs uni-lateral: step-ups, step-downs & lunges. Knee Extension.

3. Rotation: active rotation of the torso with effects up and down the kinetic chain – medicine ball throws, cable rotation and chops

4. Horizontal push: – bench press, push-ups (Humeral flexion & horizontal adduction, scapular protraction, elbow extension)

5. Horizontal pull: rowing variations, aussie pull-ups, face-pulls: (Humeral extension & horizontal abduction, scapular retraction, elbow flexion)

6. Vertical push: overhead press & landmine: (Humeral abduction & scapular upward rotation, elbow extension)

7. Vertical Pull: pull-ups, chin-ups, pull-downs: (Humeral adduction, scapular downward rotation, elbow flexion)

8. Anti-rotation movements: Paloff press, bird dogs, renegade rows

9. Anti-extension: plank, loaded carries

10. Anti-lateral flexion: single-arm carries, suitcase deadlift, side plank

Your programming should revolve around multi-joint/multi-muscle exercises for your legs (squats, deadlifts, hip thrust, and multi-directional lunges), back (rows, from various angles), chest (push, from various angles), and shoulders (press), and with core, don't forget to include stabilizer (anti flexion/extension/rotation/bending) exercises along with your core movers (flexion/extension/rotation/bending).

Programming for beginners

Programming 101 is for clients who have been inactive for months to years, who want to train 2-3x a week, and full-body. When beginning to program, factor in training each muscle at least 2x per week (chest, back, legs, shoulders) and make sure to address an even ratio of pushing to pulling for clients that lack humeral flexion / thoracic rotation. We're assuming client goals and PAR-Q have been reviewed to identify medical concerns.

The first month of training should focus on movement competency, lighter loads (10+ reps) to strengthen connective tissues (ligaments & tendons) and a core group of exercises that you feel are justifiable for the clients goals (Goblet squat vs Stability ball squat curl press?) Read more on why unstable surface training is inferior by Eric Cressey when he was a grad student at UCONN in 2006.

Superset / compound set (back and forth between two exercises) or Tri-set (back and forth between three exercises) to be time-efficient, which also keeps the heart rate up (for the clients who prefer this, BUT COACH them on the important of maximal force production vs being a circus clown running around with their head cutoff.) For example, a client can squat 135×10 for 3 sets. If you were to add in another multi-jointed exercise and then only rest 30-seconds, your client would be unlikely to lift 135 x 10 reps. Add in another exercise like cardio i.e. squats into chin-ups into jumping jacks, and the client would barely be able to squeeze out 5 reps, WHY? Here's an example of a quality Super Set: Bench Press into a Chin-up rest 1-3 minutes pending on goals. Tri-Set: Bench Press into a Chin-Up into a Plank. Save the cardio for another day.

Personal Trainers should program their training off the following pyramid focusing on movement competency & neurological control of the movement pattern with lighter loads (<70% / 10+ reps) to strengthen connective tissues). Show Up Fitness P&

If you're training four or more days per week set up your program into a split-routine format – e.g. Lower Body on Monday, Upper Body on Tuesday, Rest on Wednesday, Lower Body on Thursday, Upper Body on Friday, Rest over the weekend, Repeat.

“Rest” just means don't lift weights, feel free to go to the local track and run a lap, do push-ups, jumps, pull-ups, & planks x 4+ rounds pending on your condition. I don't know how or where “rest” turned into not doing jackshit, MOVE PEOPLE!

How to train a couple (Obese)

1- Par-Q & Movement Analysis (doesn't need to be an Overhead Squat Assessment or FMS. A qualified coach can observe a body weight squat or a push-up and make the proper modifications via progressions & regressions.

OR (if it isn't the first session)

When your client comes in, ask how they are feeling. How they slept. If they're sore. Have they eaten. If they have a metabolic, pulmonary, or cardiac disease, did they come prepared i.e. inhaler. Have the program written out (show them the workout with 1-2 new exercises) & the first circuit set up. Being prepared will keep your clients SHOWING UP!

Why are you going to assess a client in an overhead position if during your program they won't be performing an overhead movement? NASM - OPT model is outdated and not applicable to the general population when it comes to achieving results. If you w&

2. Warm-Up (1-3 minutes). Depending on the individuals psychological maturity and condition state, use your best judgement for how long to warm-up. Foam rolling is a GREAT technique to get blood flow to the areas that you found restrictive during the movement analysis and prepare your clients for the workout. This is a great time to ask questions and get to know your client. For an obese client, I typically would NOT foam roll due to the difficulty of getting up & down from the ground (this may be uncomfortable & the may feel embarrassed).

3- Movement Prep. Always perform at least 1-set of the core movement exercise with a light load. This set shouldn't be taken near exhaustion and should be extremely easy.

4- Workout. Progress through 2-3 circuits of 2-5 exercises depending on your clients condition. Rest as needed. Remember, one workout will not change a physique.

5- Cool down / Stretch. Unless the client specifically requests or the gym requires it (Equinox) we do not do any sort of cool down. We'd prefer to get another set of an exercise. If the client wants to stretch while I prepare for my next client, so be it.

Partner Workout:

The workout can be performed with both clients doing the SAME exercise OR have 1-exercise that you pay closer attention to / you need to spot, while the other does an accessory exercise that doesn't require much supervision i.e. planks, wall sits, jumping jacks etc.

  1. Movement Prep: 1- Modified High-Knees, 2- Arm circles / thoracic push-throughs 3- Modified Squats 4- Partner band rows 5- Pallofs

  2. Core Pattern: Goblet Squat (modify depth) & Planks (regress on wall / barbell) 10 reps per set increasing the weight every set / 10-30 seconds. Rest until recovered & make them feel comfortable by communicating thoroughly (ask questions & get them to enjoy the session).

  3. Core Pattern: Push-Ups (wall / barbell) & Biceps Curls. 6-8 / 10-15 reps.

  4. Core Pattern: Cable Row & Triceps Extensions. 10 & 10 reps

  5. Core Pattern: :Landmine Press & Modified Mountain Climbers (wall) 10 & 10 reps


  7. GIVE THEM CHALLENGES, TAG YOU. Send them a text to check in. Confirm next appointment. REPEAT x 52-weeks.

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