As fitness instructors and trainers, we have many tricks up our sleeves when it comes to helping clients reach their fitness goals. We must be creative in finding ways to keep them interested and achieving results. We know that in order to progress, their fitness routines must be varied. As they improve their fitness levels, they will need additional challenges. Sure, we can increase the volume of work or the amount of resistance used for particular exercises, however, why not try introducing new equipment into the mix?
Here’s the catch! Many of our clients are resistant to trying new things. I’ll admit it, I’m not always a fan. Sometimes new challenges can be equated with stress. Yet, stepping out of the comfort zone can be the ticket to making progress. Here are some suggestions that will help you introduce new equipment and excitement into your programs!
1. Use Familiar Base Moves
When introducing a new fitness tool, choose a familiar exercise that your students know well. Then invite them to take a small “baby steps” to progress the move slowly. If your participants have mastered the squat, for example, have them try it while simply holding a Kamagon® Ball. Give them plenty of time to get acquainted with it, without adding additional movement. The Kamagon® Ball is a water-filled product, so additional muscles will be activated as the water moves and shifts inside the ball. This is a great way to sneak in additional work without the intimidation factor!
After a few sessions, add a small amount of dynamic movement. Try pressing the Kamagon® Ball overhead as the hips and knees extend. Then, eventually, increase range of motion or work in different planes to progress further. Starting small and adding one layer at a time is a great way to ease into something new.
2. Be An Expert
The more comfortable you are with a particular tool, the better you can explain the exercises and assist your students in bringing their workouts to the next level safely. Take advantage of continuing education opportunities. In today’s fitness world, there are so many ways to gain knowledge. Attend a fitness conference, sign up for a CEC workshop, or utilize online resources, like kamagonball.com or getthesurge.com to understand the most effective ways to utilize a new type of equipment and integrate it into your classes and training sessions.
3. Be An Educator
Now that you have invested in your own knowledge, take time to share the love! Often, we are great at teaching the “moves,” but we forget that we can also be an even greater resource to our clients. Give them more! Educate your students on the benefits of a particular piece of equipment. How might it help them to reach their fitness goals? Why might it be worthwhile to give it a try? For example, explain that the Kamagon® Ball and Surge® utilize Hydro-Inertia® technology which means that the water inside it creates additional resistance. Your clients will gain additional benefits because they have to move the object, and also the water inside it, which is moving at its own speed. This additional challenge provides a more functional approach, so that the benefits transfer to activities of daily living. An extra bit of insight can make all the difference in motivating our students to take things to the next level.
4. Sneak It In
I love circuit training classes. How about you? This format provides an opportunity to keep your classes evolving. You can set up stations, each with a different piece of equipment, and choose “old school” tools, like dumbbells and tubing, for several stations. Then, throw in a surprise like the Surge® or Kamagon® Ball at just one station. Most participants will be willing to give it a try. After all, it’s just for a minute or two. Plus, once they get a taste of it, they will be begging for more. Trust me! A small dose of something new and different will provide an opportunity to test the waters, while also staying focused on familiar movements and equipment to allow your students to stay within their comfort zone.
5. Regress As Needed
Finally, when offering a new experience for your students, always encourage them to take advantage of modifications. Begin with a regressed version of each exercise and then provide suggestions to progress as they get comfortable. Students can choose a very basic option or take advantage of additional challenges, depending on their fitness level and goals.
The Bottom Line
This low stress approach to introducing new tools will enable your clients and participants to expand their horizons, overcome obstacles to success, and reach their fitness goals!
Melissa Weigelt, MS is a Hedstrom Fitness Master Trainer and owner at Flow Fitness Training, where she develops and presents a variety of continuing education programs for fitness instructors.