In this blog I will be asserting, “The most successful Personal Training, Pilates and Sports Massage Professionals moving forwards will be those who are qualified in or can proactively integrate across multiple disciplines AND who know how to effectively blend these crucial skills to deliver truly joined-up solutions for their clients.”
If the above statement has confused you then you are absolutely not alone, so don’t worry!
Most professionals see and use PT, Pilates and Sports Massage skills completely separately.
Let me try to explain why this perception needs to change and how it can transform the way you think and the way you work!
As a Personal Trainer, Pilates specialist or Sports Massage professional holding or working towards your qualification you are joining (or have joined) one of THE most exciting, exhilarating, satisfying and GROWING industries.
And hopefully you have decided to come into this industry because you really want to help people, yes?
Whether you are initially driven to personal training, Pilates, sports massage or some other fitness, exercise, movement, coaching or therapy discipline, it is important that you also have a good understanding, or even better, qualifications in one or more of the others as well.
It is also vitally important that when you choose a training organisation to get yourself qualified and insured so that you can practice in whatever has driven you into the industry in the first place, that you choose a training organisation that can offer cross training or continual development opportunities in the other disciplines as well.
Personal training, Pilates and Sports Massage are inextricably LINKED and NEED each other.
So, why is this?
The latest evidence-based science is telling us very clearly that the vast majority of the most common exercise, fitness, movement and injury challenges NEED the collaborative skills of the above professionals to resolve them robustly and sustainably.
And by robust and sustainable I mean solving them so that the risk of the issue returning is significantly reduced.
How many times does a client come to your session with the same problem?
And does what you try with clients ALWAYS work? Every time? Honestly?
To understand why this is, I need to re-frame some common thinking, and to do this I am going to use a really common client issue we all see day-in, day-out, regardless of whether we are a personal trainer, Pilates specialist or Sports Massage professional,
And this is “tight hamstrings”.
But firstly I am going to have to take you totally outside of your comfort zone!
When we see “tight hamstrings”, the LAST thing we should be doing is stretching them!
WHAT! … I hear you cry?
Let me explain …
We need to know the answers to some crucial questions here BEFORE we dive in and intervene by stretching these hamstrings and these questions are:
Q1: Why are the hamstrings tight?
Q2: What is actually tight? … Is it the hamstrings that are tight or is it something else?
Q3: Is stretching the right intervention, based on the answers to Q1 and Q2?
Now, to arrive at correct answers to Q1, Q2 and Q3 above, we need all these different skills:
- Detailed Client History Taking,
- Great Observational Skills,
- Analytical Reasoning Skills,
- Assessment Skills and,
- Specific Palpation Skills.
And to correctly, robustly and sustainably intervene to solve these “tight hamstrings”, we need:
- Coaching & Communication Skills,
- Physiology Skills,
- Exercise Skills,
- Movement Skills,
- Body Alignment Skills,
- Soft Tissue Work Skills.
But in which order are these skills needed? It depends!
Now consider which fitness, exercise, movement or therapy qualifications provide ALL of the above skills to a) answer the above questions and b) intervene appropriately based on the answers?
The truth is NONE!
As a qualified Clinical Soft Tissue Specialist, at no time during my training did my tutors help me understand what other fitness, exercise or therapy professionals do, where they fit into the bigger picture, what they are taught and how we might work together to achieve even better results for our clients.
I was never even taught the basics of exercise. It wasn’t considered important. How I wish they had!
And the personal trainers and Pilates specialists I work with typically say that they were never taught about other fitness, exercise or therapy professions either.
But we now understand that this cross-discipline information is VITAL.
Think about the following scenarios for a moment:
- If you could determine which exercises or which massage techniques are right, or not right, for a client before you start working with them, or
- If you were able to work out what is causing a client to struggle with a particular movement or exercise (e.g. a squat or why their hamstrings are persistently tight) so that they can succeed better, or
- You are a clinical massage therapist needing to “bed-in” proper alignment or motor-control following some postural or lower back pain muscle physiology work you have been doing with a client?
Now can you see the importance of either?
- Having a combination of skills, or
- Having access to a team of professionals you work with, or
- A mixture of the above,
Enabling you to call on a powerful combination of skills, at the right time and in the right way?
How powerful is THAT?
So, returning to my original assertion at the beginning of this piece:
“The most successful Personal Training, Pilates and Sports Massage Professionals moving forwards will be those who are qualified in or can proactively integrate across multiple disciplines AND who know how to effectively blend these crucial skills to deliver truly joined-up solutions for their clients.”
You ARE joining, or have joined, one of THE most exciting, exhilarating, satisfying and GROWING industries!
You ARE here to HELP people achieve their objectives, whether this is fitness, movement or getting out of pain!
Based on what I have said here, does it not make sense to choose a training organisation that can offer cross training in the other disciplines as well?
Or at least offers valuable continual development opportunities to better understand how and why such inter-discipline working is so vital in providing even better client outcomes?
Such a growth-minded and integrated approach gives you a HUGE edge over your competition, elevating you to levels that say to your clients very clearly “I am here to help you, with truly joined-up solutions”.
|Simon – The Integrated Fitpro Coach
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