Written by Online Master Coach, Kim Leggett
We need to keep in mind a few key factors when choosing exercises for our Gen Pop Clients. These clients are often coming to us because they are absolute newbies and with this in mind we want to provide them with a useful base for future training.
This is a big part of the reason why we prioritize resistance training in order to train clients to move effectively under load and choose movements that can be progressed into more complex and advanced movements in the future.
Clients also come to us because they want RESULTS. To be efficient, this is where bang for your buck exercises are king! We want to maximise the amount of training stimulus in the least amount of time whilst keeping the client interested and fully enjoying the session in the safest manner possible.
Next we think about what options are available in the gym – Dumbbells or Barbells? Pin or Plate Loaded Machines?
This does not mean we shy away from using machines! Machines are great for some movements but we want to spend the majority of our time with free weights and use machines when we want to isolate and target specific muscles in a programme.
We must also remember that Gen Pop Clients are not athletes so sticking to ‘simple’ foundational exercises is going to be essential… Now this doesn’t mean ‘easy’!
Let’s look at an example, the high bar back squat.
This is a more quad-dominant variation that requires scapular stability, neutral lumbar spine, core strength and good ankle mobility… this is NOT a ‘simple’ exercise by any means but that doesn’t mean we can’t train the squat movement pattern. We just need to break it down and use a simple version. We may start with a bodyweight split squat and progress to using dumbbells for load or even transition into a reverse lunge movement.
As the client gains more confidence and executes the movement with better form, we can then progress them into a goblet squat, then a front squat and with enough mobility, strength and coordination – a traditional high bar back squat.
Here is another example- When we approach the upper body, we use the same logic. For a pressing movement i.e, a barbell bench press. We can start clients who are unfamiliar with pressing movements with incline, flat and overhead dumbbell work which helps them drill the pattern into their muscle memory with a safe weight that lets them execute for reps.
Understanding how to select exercises that suit your client’s goals abilities, desires and most importantly, goals is critical to getting this right. Don’t be afraid to incorporate a basic movement into a program. Remember, you’re not training an athlete. You’re helping someone lose fat. If they can’t execute a perfect bodyweight barbell bench press after 12 weeks, who cares? If you don’t get them an epic transformation, then you’ve got a real problem. Stay focused on the objective and let that guide your exercise selection as you modify programs to suit your client’s needs.
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Clean Health Fitness Institute. (2020). The Fundamentals of Program Design. Clean Health Fitness Institute.