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What is a WaterART Personal Trainer?

Land Personal Training is unique to water personal training -because moving on land ( with gravity) is unique to moving in the water ( with buoyancy). Simply stated all upward movement on land is "hard" whereas upward movement in the water is easy. If a personal trainer doesn't understand this - they may do more harm than benefit in the water! 

Assume that like private swim lessons, the individual may learn and achieve more results in lesser amount of time. Essentially, this is why - Personal Training on Land is a huge industry. ( In fact, the revenue is larger for most facilities than group exercise programs).

The consumer will pay for health and wellness and they often achieve more results in a shorter amount of time with a personal training session than in a group exercise program. Then, add water and as most water professionals know.....the client can perform more intensity and duration without the wear and tear on their joints.

As an industry, it is amazing that many facilities utilize land professionals to train in the water. There is a huge difference between the two modalities. Additionally, teaching group exercise does not provide the professional with the tools to program and assess the individual specifically.

We need to understand that there is a decided need with water personal training because of the versatility to program so many fitness levels and medical conditions safely.

However, in order to be successful we need to understand how

1) instructor job responsibilities are unique as compared to water training

2) how a group exercise leader need unique skills as compared to a personal trainer

3) how the product and marketing for aquatic personal training may need to be unique.

 A personal trainer may be instrumental in reaching out and developing a suitable program for participants 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.

In order to design effective programs, an aquatic trainer must be a master of the water environment and possess many tools to specifically target the components of fitness in the water. These programs are designed based on each individual’s health needs, interests and desired goals. These are NOT generic programs or canned routines, but programs designed to reach specific goals developed from physical assessments, lifestyle questionnaires, program preferences and personalities. A program may be suitable for any of the following themes: weight management, strength & endurance training, flexibility, relaxation, mind & body, cardiorespiratory improvement, athletic conditioning, martial arts training, programs for special populations or medical conditions, or simply general health and maintenance.

How can an Aquatic or Water Personal Trainer benefit the Participant?

A personal trainer will work to help the client achieve his goals, whether the client is a beginner or an athlete. Personal trainers make an innovative and powerful learning package that offers more gain for less pain. Most successful people are busy and don’t have time to spend on things that don’t work. Personal trainers empower the client with exercise science researched programs that are safe and effective. They use specialized knowledge, top of the line equipment, and are part of the health care continuum.

Aquatic personal training is different than land training because of the unique properties of water. Personal trainers need to maximize the properties of water to help clients get results. Research has confirmed that simply dropping land movements into the water will not transfer to the same intensity or results. Using the water and water specific equipment will be key for keeping the programs progressive, interesting and professional looking.

Personal trainers in the water educate the client on how their body works, as well as empowering the client with unique body awareness and balance. The use of progressive techniques to help the client learn and execute movements correctly is paramount for achieving results. This is a cost-effective way to help individuals improve their body and quality of life.

Group Class Challenges Differ from Personal Training

One of the most challenging tasks in group-teaching is trying to train every participant to perform correct technique and achieve their goals simultaneously. In a group class, an instructor finds that the group is comprised of athletes and beginners of all ages and levels of fitness skills. Although everyone is cued to go at their own pace and perform the exercises that feel good how can a client change and modify the exercise if they do not know joint action or progression?

Sometimes the participant is suitable for the level of the class, but more often they are not. An instructor cannot watch all of the participants all the time. Even with the best quality teaching, imperfections develop leading to poor technique and body alignment. It is easy for a participant to get lost in a large group and never realize they are being offered corrections.

Some of the reasons people come to a group class is for motivation and camaraderie. The music or the speed may be the motivation. A personal trainer can do the same: add music or incorporate a group learning or training session.

Potential clients may come from a group class situation, so the personal trainer must sell a specific service that group exercise does not offer. This service is specificity of training, or training for purpose, to get results.

With gravity
Work against gravity
With multi-dimensional resistance & buoyancy
All upward movement is ASSISTED
Can fall on land
Built in protection – support against falls, bandage effect of hydrostatic pressure
Easier to facilitate
Need a pool ie. Hotel, condo, backyard, club, school, YMCA
Pain & need 48 hours recover for strength training
Less pain
Quicker recovery from anerobic training
Breathing fatigues prior to muscles
Muscles fatigue prior to breathing
Don’t feel the sweat
Equipment more expensive: machines, bands, tubing, balls, steps, free weights, barbells, treadmills, elliptical, stairmaster, bicycles,
Equipment less expensive: belts, cuffs, kickers, bands, paddles, tubing, tethers, steps,
However, there are underwater treadmills, bikes
Indoors – outdoors
No skin rashes
Indoors or outdoors
Skin irritation: try saline pools ( salt water pools) better on environment
Common – people know what personal training is = 40 billion dollar industry
Not popular- people do not know difference between swimming or land personal training = open market
Require CPR – First Aid skills
Require lifeguarding skills unless in a public pool with a guard
Need to be extremely careful with elderly, new to fitness, medical conditions, Hard for obese to “load” joints
Easier to program intensity especially for multi-medical conditions – orthopedic – obesity clientele
Loading from 0-100% ( multiple by 4 times power or jumping)
Loading of joints from 0-50% of body weight ( multiple by 2 for jumping or power moves if at waist depth)
Many types of programs: circuits, interval, jogging, ball, tubing, step, pilates, yoga, sports conditioning, pre natal, rehabilitation , martial arts etc
Many types of programs: circuits, interval, jogging, ball, tubing, step, pilates, yoga, sports conditioning, pre natal, rehabilitation , martial arts etc
Orientation is always better but not critical
Need to teach basic water skills – orientation critical i.e. how to scull, how to balance, how to recover from a fall, how to change body weight , how to work with currents , how to travel

All Components of Fitness may be skillfully trained...
1. Posture Training: by maintaining head position, spinal posture, and strong core abdominal musculature. The core muscles are constantly being challenged against the dynamic currents of the water.
2. Balance Training: by providing the opportunity to develop neurological gains with the practice of functional patterns, which additionally improves agility and coordination.
3. Strength/Endurance Training: by providing progressive variable resistance training against the force of the water.
4. Cardiovascular Training: by improving the strength of the heart and lungs with large motor movements.
5. Range of Motion Training: through buoyancy’s assistance and multi-dimensional movements around the body.
6. Weight Management Training: by increasing muscle mass and providing energy expenditure
7. Coordination and Agility: through a variety of movements, programs, techniques, equipment and reaction time due to changing currents and endless combinations of the aforementioned
8. Fun: By allowing relaxation and enjoyment with a feeling of rejuvenation

by Julie Twynham, Educational Director

Please check out our upcoming ONSITE Personal Training Specialist Courses ( Workshop & full Certification available)


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