Assessments typically either receive high accolades, or are soundly denounced as unworthy of our professional time. The difficulty can be that the information gathered is often difficult to interpret. There is more than one way to resolve an individual’s dysfunctions. The assessments, observations and exercises provided in this program should provide considerable progress to improving function by providing several options and professional choices. If you decide to take the information from this program and formulate a meaningful exercise program with some of your own ideas based on your research and expertise, that’s great. Use information to your advantage. Learning never stops, and there is always room to improve function.
Time must be taken during the first appointment, or at any time deemed necessary by the fitness professional, to assess current capabilities and anatomical limitations. You may need to step back and re-assess your client and their pro- gram if results have stagnated. The definition of insanity is performing the same way and expecting a different result. Programs must progress and they must change. They must change with a clear purpose. If the ability of the trainer or functional training specialist to assess anatomical capabilities and limitations is limited and the individual client has significant dysfunction AND pain, it is imperative that the fitness professional act like a professional and refer to a therapist or specialist who may better serve current client needs. If time is taken to learn enough to be able to help 90% of your clients and 10% are referred out, the 90% will stay with you far longer than they may have originally planned. Most people don’t expect to need a trainer for life. However, many will find, due to your expertise and bedside manner, they wouldn’t have it any other way. People train with a trainer for different reasons. The role of the trainer and functional training specialist is to meet client goals by improving function. Determine client goals and use this program to act on those goals. Don’t worry about your client’s view on “functional training”. If you are professional and perform your duties in an effective and efficient manner, you can call the training “drunken boxing” and your client will comply. Clients don’t care what the exercise is called or how it looks if the trainer can prove how it will benefit them. Show benefits, don’t just talk about them.
Observe individual movement during assessments just like observations during any exercise. Pay attention to joint position and motion in this order:
- Joints involved in movement
- Everything else
Otherwise, take note off gross movement deviations (or subtle) from a head to toe or toe to head perspective. Take note of every major joint. It is not necessary to determine precise cause of joint dysfunction at this time, simply observe, take note of what you see, and continue to observe and research until you obtain enough information to provide functional exercises to strengthen weak muscles.