How times have changed! Twenty years ago Personal Training was an unrecognized commodity for the average person in the fitness industry. Yet today, in many fitness clubs, “Land Personal Training” generates 50% of their revenue stream. But what about Water? Personal Training in the water is still considered to be of little value. Why? Many trainers and centers have overlooked this potential moneymaker because they fail to take the different environment into consideration and use it effectively.
A personal trainer is a certified and qualified professional who designs individualized exercise programs specific to a client’s needs and/or requirements. An Aquatic Personal Trainer is unique to a land personal trainer because they understand the dynamics, protection and program design for water ( which is unique to land and gravity training).
A personal trainer can be instrumental in reaching out and developing programs suitable for a wide variety of clients, such as those who are:
(a) not motivated to exercise on their own;
(b) do not know how to exercise on their own;
(c) do not want to exercise in a group; and
(d) want to make their exercise experience time effective and result oriented.
A competent trainer must have knowledge of, and demonstrate skills, in anatomy, physiology, injury prevention, nutrition, program design, exercise, and communication. A client can reach and maintain his/her personal health and wellness goals much easier with the aid of a competent personal trainer; namely, someone who will teach exercise skills and offer intelligent feedback to educate and motivate each client to start and stick with an exercise regimen. The big news is - all this can be done in the water safer and better with an educated water Instructor.
Why Water Aquatic Personal Training? The following statements exemplify how water exercise is valuable as an effective form of training:
☺ Water exercise is low to non-weight-bearing so movement may be applied to help transfer a painful activity into a pleasurable one.
☺ Water exercise is an effective method to train for mobility while protecting the joints using water’s natural buoyancy.
☺ Water exercise provides security. The fear of falling and breaking bones or injuring oneself is lessened
☺ Water exercise can improve posture with a subjective feeling of support and lightness.
☺ Water exercise provides greater freedom of movement and multidimensional resistance or buoyancy assistance.
☺ Water exercise creates confidence and improves ability to move and perform functionally on land.
☺ Water exercise decreases swelling and offsets the tendency of blood pooling in the extremities.
☺ Water exercise increases blood supply to muscles significantly which improves oxygen delivery to the muscles
☺ Water exercise massages the body to improve removal of blood lactates, lessening the effect of delayed muscle soreness.
☺ Water exercise allows for easy variation of load or weight-bearing levels. You may choose to completely unload (in deep water) or load up to 50% in shallow water.
☺ Water exercise easily competes with, and can exceed, land training benefits if the same amount of effort is put into both programs. Many individuals experience greater improvements with less pain and discomfort in the water.
Aquatic personal training is different from land because of the unique properties of water that can be incorporated into program design. Buoyancy and resistance must be considered when programming a person with more body fat compared to someone who is lean. Use Inertia to train for strength and balance and hydrostatic pressure can help with joint relief. Exercise design in the water allows a variety of body and working positions to target all components of fitness with or without contact of the pool floor. Water equipment may be added or subtracted to help offset vertical alignment and to balance work with rest periods. This enables all clients to work at their own skill level for the duration of the program.
Group Water exercise classes continue to grow due to the huge increase of clientele with arthritis and multi-medical conditions who discover the decreased impact on their joints. The big challenge for programming group exercise classes in the water is the wide variety of fitness and skill levels and people with health conditions all trying to fit into one program. This is not conducive to everyone getting the work out they deserve. In order to offer a safe program the instructor must be able to offer a variety of exercises to target the same fitness component, which, unfortunately, is beyond the ability of many instructors. There is no doubt Personal training in the water can be of great benefit to the unconditioned, the injured, the overweight clientele, and the people with real exercise goals.
There are many pools that sit empty for part of the day and, often, during prime time, there is a class using only half of the pool. This gives time and space to do personal training. Think positive, make the water pay dividends and do a great service to a personal client at the same time.
The Fitness Industry recognizes that Personal Trainers need to have specific qualifications for training versus group exercise. It is disappointing to note that, up til now, very few personal trainers have had any training with exercise specific to water design. Research has confirmed that simply dropping land movements into the water will not transfer to the same exercise intensity or the results for the client. Perhaps this is reason why Fitness Clubs and clients don’t value water exercise as a modality worth paying $50-$100/ hour for training? The aquatic personal trainer must clearly understand and maximize the properties of water for program design. Like land, water training has developed over the past years and now offers specific equipment for progression and variety for exercise as an added professional approach.
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