The Importance of Being Positive
Personal trainers – especially females – often get stereotyped as being perky or overly energetic. And while it can be annoying in extreme cases, being positive is an important part of the job. When people pay to spend their time with you, chances are they’d rather leave in a better mood than the one they came in with. So while it’s pretty common to hear fitness pros complain when a client comes to train in a bad mood, I actually kind of like it because it gives me the chance to be the best part of their day.
But good energy isn’t the only way to be positive. Something as simple as changing your cues can make a huge difference. I’ve written before about altering the way you cue based on your client’s learning style (see HERE), and using positive language when you cue is also extremely important. Here are a few common “negative” cues that trainers often use and ways to make them more positive:
1. “DON’T let your knee go over your toe.” This cue is often used with squats and lunges. First, let me just say that I don’t like it; I don’t like it all. Oops… I mean, I would prefer to hear alternate cues that are more… well, biomechanically correct. The fact is, some people – especially tall people like basketball players – happen to have long femurs. (For people with these builds, I tend to prefer reverse lunges, but that’s a different topic.) If this is the case, the knee is going to go over the toe in the bottom position of a squat or lunge – and that’s OK. As long as the knees are in line with the feet and the weight is kept in the middle to back of the foot rather than shifting forward, we’re good. But for purposes of this post, a more positive cue would be to “keep the knee over the toe.” An even better one is “keep the knees in line with the feet and the weight in the mid-foot.”
2. “DON’T let your hips drop.” I hear this cue a lot with planks. A simple, more positive switch is to “keep your hips up.”
3. “DON’T round your back” is another common negative cue often used to correct poor technique in a deadlift or bent-over row, and there’s another very quick fix: “Keep your back flat” sounds much more positive.
***FPTI students: I encourage you to think about the cues you use throughout the course and find ways to make any negative ones more positive.
Practice them now while you’re here learning, because it’s always harder to undo bad habits!
Filed under: tips for trainers