Getting creative with your exercises

Have your workouts been in a creative rut? I have seen this time and time again. I see personal trainers that get stuck into a routine of doing the same thing over and over with their clients suffering from plateaus and boredom. I even admit that I am guilty of falling into this trap of repetitiveness. Sometimes it is tough to individualize a program for every single one of your clients. Especially if you have dozens of clients! Although this is a common trap to fall into, this is terrible for your client as well as your reputation as a personal trainer. Each and every single one of your clients has completely different goals that you need to be able to address separately. This article was written to spark some creativity in your exercises and workout routines so that your clients do not hit a roadblock or get bored. Your clients should be excited every time they come into the gym to see you. Here is another article on how to keep them motivated!  Here are some tips to keep your clients guessing and excited to see what is next. These creative tips are not only good for your clients but they are also excellent for your brain so get ready to have your mind blown!

Different ways to discover new routines and exercises

Scope out the rest of the gym and you may learn something new!

Whenever you have down time, whether in between clients or on your lunch break you should bust out your binoculars so you could check out what other clients or fitness enthusiasts are doing in the gym. But really just kidding about the binoculars… That would be pretty creepy. You should also have open conversations with other personal trainers about what type of exercises and routines they do with their clients. Of course there are other people besides personal trainers that are knowledgeable about health and fitness that are roaming around your gym. Pick out a couple fit individuals and spark up a conversation about different techniques and strategies they use to be successful. There is literally 1000 books worth of knowledge walking around your gym, you just need to acquire it. You should also be in the process of developing a “exercise library” for yourself. Jot down any new exercises you see and add it to your collection!

Subscribe to health magazines or get an RSS feed to your favorite fitness blogs

Another way to learn about more exercises and routines is to subscribe to your favorite fitness magazine such as men’s health, muscle and fitness or women’s health. If you do not feel like subscribing to any of these magazines you can always head over to your local grocery store such as Safeway and check them out there. Make a mental note of the cool exercises you see or add a note into your smart phone. Personally, I like fitness blogs and websites more than popular magazines. For example, has a fantastic library of exercises that you can check out and add to your own routines. If you have a favorite fitness blog they most likely have an RSS feed that you can subscribe to. An RSS subscription will send you new content such as articles or blog posts directly to your e-mail. I highly suggest you take advantage of this tactic. Some good blogs I subscribe to are: and I recommend that you check both of those out!

Studying new stuff online

Get creative with combining different exercises

If you have been following the tips above then in the short period of time you will have a large list in your exercise library! Something that I like to do is combine exercises to make something completely new! For example if you typically do dumbbell bicep curls with clients and would like to add some stability training into the same exercise, have them stand on a Bosu ball at the same time. One piece of equipment that I like to incorporate into my exercises are TRX bands (check out the TRX certification)! That these are great for combining exercises and are excellent for functional training. Combine exercises really sparks the creative process because it allows you to think of to exercises and imagine what they would look like if done simultaneously. Most combinations might look quite funny in your head but you will find tons that can work together! The most important thing is making sure that whatever new movement you have created is safe for your client.

Besides combining different exercises to create new ones, you should also be switching up which of your clients body parts you work together. The key to success in breaking plateaus is to keep your clients body guessing. For example if you are used to training chest and biceps together, switch it up and do chest with back or chest with triceps. You should switch up your clients routines at least every month. You can even do a lower body/upper body split. There are literally hundreds of different split routines you can learn from. Also try to change intensity principles by switching up a number of reps, timing between sets or maybe try including supersets or drop set training principles to really shock their body.

Another great way to get creative with your exercises is by gaining a whole new certification that specializes in one area or another. Some of my favorite advanced certifications are the NASM PES, CES, ACE health coach, A prenatal certification, this cycling certification or a group exercise certification! From all of these you’ll learn so many different new exercises, techniques and tips for changing up your routines. They also act as fantastic continuing education credit! If you’re interested in becoming a health coach check out my article here on it!

Conclusion on the creative process

I really hope that I bright light bulb just popped right above your head while reading this article. The most important thing is to not let your clients gets stuck in any sort of cookie-cutter routine. Not only will they get extremely bored but so will you! People can recognize from a mile away a trainer that is using the same routine with all of their clients. You will not get a good reputation. Keep coming up with new routines, strategies and exercises and you will be rewarded for it 10 fold by gaining lots of new clients in making much more money! It is a great feeling when you get complimented for a great workout and cool new exercises. Leave a comment down below and let me know any cool exercises or routines that you have created for your clients. I would love to collaborate with all of you so we can make personal training more enjoyable than it already is! Let’s collaborate, that is what they creativity process is all about! Also make sure to check out some of my personal training tips articles such as beginning core workouts as well as the best software for personal trainers!

Tyler Read has a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE, NSCA and NSCA CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers.

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