February 1-5: This week I began working with my first clients. I have 4 girls that I meet with twice a week and 1 with whom I meet once. With the initial paperwork out of the way, we are clear to start actual workouts.
I use the same diagnostic workout with each person on the first day, using various modifications based on the girl’s skill level. The workout consists of a 3-4 supersets of push-ups and pull-ups, 3-4 supersets of sit-ups and back extensions, and 3-4 sets of lunges with some type of active recovery in between each set. I encouraged all of my girls to attempt their first set of push-ups in normal position, and to transition to their knees when they could no longer maintain form. Surprisingly to me, most of the girls were unable to perform a push-up with correct form. Most inadequacies in form stem from a weak core, resulting in sinking hips, winging scapula, or arched back. Pull-ups were easily modified by adding more weight to assist in the upward phase. Sit-ups and back extension exercises remained standard, with variation only in the number of repetitions based on the girl’s indicated discomfort level. For lunges, I normally had each person use 10 lbs dumbbells in each hand, and each set was separated by a 30 second bout of jump rope or jumping jacks.
The purpose of this workout is to determine where each client is weakest and needs to focus on building strength. Most of the girls I work with do the majority of their normal workouts on the cardio equipment and have never attempted to use the machines or free weights in the weight room. It is important in planning the remainder of their program that I have an idea as to the exercises in which they excel and will encourage them, and those that will challenge them to grow stronger. Thus, the workout targets the entire body as well as including many foundational movements that can be transferred to exercises I hope to use in the future.