Before I dive straight into the personal trainer job description, let’s talk about some prerequisites that you will need before you start your very first personal training session! I will just be naming a couple prerequisites in this article but I have a much more in-depth article on how to become a personal trainer that is 5000 words long. If you are just starting out I recommend you read that! Obviously before you start training you but you need to be certified through a reputable certifying agency such as the American Council on exercise (ACE) or the national Academy of sports medicine (NASM). There are plenty of other reputable certifying agencies out there but these two are a couple of my favorites. The only thing I would recommend staying away from is online scams such as “get certified over the weekend“ courses. Another great article to read is my article on the best personal trainer certifications where I talk about my top 10 recommendations! In order to get certified through in the reputable certifying agency you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and currently be a CPR/AED certified. The last prerequisite before we jump right into the job description is that you be employed by a gym or self-employed. The very last thing that I recommend is that you obtain some form of personal training insurance. If you are working for a large corporation they most likely provide insurance for you. If you are working for yourself on the other hand, this is necessary to prevent a potential lawsuit. As a personal trainer you can make a great salary while doing something that you love to do! Let’s get right into the personal trainer job description so you can learn exactly what the personal trainer job description is.
Assessing the level of fitness of clients as well as understanding their goals
After you have gone through all of the prerequisites that I mentioned above you are ready to start working with your first client as a personal trainer. Most people start off by working at a corporate gymnasium such as 24 hour fitness because it is a good way to get their feet wet. Most likely this client will be handed to you from one of the salesman (learn how to sell training). The first steps that you will need to take with your new clients are to assess their current level of health and fitness as well as take initial measurements such as body fat percentage, circumference measurements and weight. There are typically three assessments that you need to make in order to understand their level of fitness. You will want to assess their cardiovascular health, level of strength as well as their posture and any muscular imbalances that they may have. Fitness assessments is a large part of my article on the personal trainer job description.
Personal trainer job description: Assessment of their cardiovascular health
There are literally dozens of cardiovascular tests that you can use to assess your clients level of cardiovascular health. Each certifying agency typically has their own way of assessing cardiovascular health. I typically use two different cardiovascular stress tests with my clients. The two tests I use are the 3 min. step up test and the mile walking test. The first test requires your client to use a 12 inch step two-step up-and-down on for exactly 3 min. After the test is complete you will monitor their heart rate and measure how long it takes for them to get down to their resting heart rate. Depending on how much time it takes their heart rate to come back down to normal is a good indication of their cardiovascular health.
The mile walking test on the other hand requires your client to walk 1 mile as fast as they can without starting to jog. Your cardiovascular health is based on your sex, age and how fast you can walk that mile. In my opinion I like the 3 min. step test more because it doesn’t take as long and I feel like it is a better indicator of cardiovascular health. The 1 mile walking test is very popular as well and I know a lot of trainers that use it.
Personal trainer job description: Assessment of their strength
The second test that you should perform after the cardiovascular test, is a strength assessment tests. Most personal trainers including myself typically perform three different strength assessment tests. You should perform two separate upper body strength assessment tests as well as one lower body test. The two upper body strength assessment tests will measure their pushing and pulling strength.
To measure your clients lower body strength is common to use an upright machine for leg press strength. Make sure you start with a low enough weight so that you do not injure your client. Make sure that your clients can perform at least 15 repetitions on the first set. Every set afterwards keep on increasing the weight by approximately 10 pounds until your client cannot reach 15 repetitions. This should give you a great idea of how strong their lower body is.
The first upper body test that I like to perform is the chest press strength assessment test. I like to do this on an upright chest press machine. Once again you need to start at a lower weight so that your client can definitely reach 15 repetitions. Instead of increasing the weight by 10 pounds, you should increase it by 5 pounds. Once again keep on increasing the weight until your client can no longer perform 15 repetitions. Make sure to give between two and 3 min. in between each set so that your client can fully regain their strength. The reason I like to use a machine is because the chance of injury is much smaller.
For the pulling assessment test I like to use a machine similar to the upright chest press machine. I like upright rowing machines because they stabilize the body very well with your clients chest resting against a pad. The instructions are exactly the same as the chest press machine. Increase the weight by 5 pounds until your client can no longer perform 15 repetitions. You should now have a great idea of your clients starting strength level!
Personal trainer job description: Assessment of their posture
I use multiple postural assessments to pinpoint any muscular imbalances in my clients. If some muscles are too strong or other muscles too weak they can cause problems and potential injuries for my clients. Probably the most important postural assessment test is the overhead squat test. To perform this test have your clients put their hand straight up in the air with their feet shoulder width apart (toes slightly pointing outwards). Instructs your client to squat down is low as they can while keeping the weight on their heels. You need to observe the body position from the side as well as from the front. Do their knees cave-in? Do they bend at the lower back in order to squat down? This test will show you a lot about what muscles are too tight in which muscles are too relaxed. When beginning any exercise routine with your client, correcting muscular imbalances should be your first priority! if I learned a lot about muscular imbalances from the corrective exercise specialist certification from NASM!
Being able to design the appropriate program to help clients reach their goals
All right so now you have a very good idea of your clients level of fitness. The next step is to have a good understanding of their goals in order to design a personalized exercise program for them! This is the fun part because you get to help your clients progressively get better. It is exciting to see them reach their goals! The biggest tools at your disposal for creating a successful exercise routine are the three assessment tests that I talked about above. If your client has multiple muscular imbalances then this is something that you need to address first and foremost. You can do this or the combination of flexibility training techniques and gentle resistance training. Functional training should be the primary focus for this client.
There are really an infinite number of workout routines that you can create for your clients to help them reach their goals! There are thousands of different exercises, and new ones being created each day. There is also millions of different workout routines including variables such as: exercises, rest time, intensity, repetitions and much more. The more you work as a personal trainer the better you will be implementing proper workout routines for specific clients. You really need to understand the limitations of your clients. For example if your client had a ACL tear at some point in their life you need to avoid exercises that may put too much stress on the ACL. You should start slow always so that you lower the risk of injury. Once you understand your clients limitations it will be easier to create a balanced and progressive exercise routine so that they can smoothly achieve their goals! Program design is a HUGE part of the personal trainer job description.
Being able to effectively and safely progress clients through the program
After you have been working with a client for a while, you will have seen them reach many short term and possibly long-term goals. As they keep on getting stronger and more flexible you will need to continuously change their exercise routine to push them farther and make them even more fit. If you do not progress them they will eventually plateau. You need to adjust the factors that I talked about above. Some ways that you could increase the workout intensity to lower the rest time, increase the repetitions, increase the weight or give them more difficult exercises. Obviously you need to make sure you do not progress them to quickly. If they’re not ready for the next level it is better to keep them at a lower intensity in order to prevent injuries. An injury is much worse than a plateau for a short period of time, so stay on the side of caution.
It is very important to measure the progress of your clients as it will also help you determine when you should increase the intensity of their workouts. The very first meeting with your client you should have taken initial measurements as I mentioned at the beginning of the article. At the very least you should retake these measurements every month. It is extremely beneficial to your client as well as yourself to know how much progress they have made in order to plan out future workouts. It is also one of the biggest motivational factors for your clients to be able to see the progress that they have made!
Being able to reassess clients goals and find tune
Besides progressing your client through more and more difficult routines to achieve their initial goals, it is also important to step back sometimes and reassess goals. It is very possible that your client may change their overall goal and may want to change directions. If your clients initial goal was to lose 30 pounds and you have already achieved that, maybe their new goal is to maintain that weight but work and other aspects of fitness such as endurance, strength training or even sports performance. This is the time to fine tune different goals and work out strategies for your client. You have most likely been working with this client for a very long time so you should know how their body responds to certain exercises as well as how well their body adapts to the stressors that you place on it. This fine tuning process is extremely fun!
Conclusion on Personal Trainer Job Description
I hope you enjoyed my article on personal trainer job description. If you are just trying to get into the industry this should give you a good idea of what the day-to-day tasks are like. This job is extremely rewarding and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else for a living. It is extremely rewarding to see your clients reach their goals! You also get to live the healthy lifestyle that you would like and are in an environment where everybody is trying to better themselves. This type of work environment is much healthier and exciting compared to sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen all day. Let me know in the comments section below if you want to know anything else about my day-to-day routine as a personal trainer! Also if this article was helpful please share it using one of the social media buttons. If you are serious about becoming a personal trainer I highly suggest you check out my guide on becoming one here! Also make sure to check out some comparison articles such as NASM vs ACE, NASM vs ACSM, ISSA vs NASM and NSCA vs NASM if you are looking for a certification1
Tyler Read has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE and CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers. Tyler is the owner of Personal Training Pioneer which helps people get started in the personal training industry and become successful.