Happy August all!
Having read an article last month entitled “Personal trainers blamed for joint injuries” -Daily Telegraph, Saturday 16th July, I felt it important to explain a little about how I plan my sessions – both 1:1 and groups.
High Intensity Interval Training has many benefits – boosting the heart rate from low-intensity fat-burning ‘active recovery’ to close-to-maximum Heart Rate intervals, challenging the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, all within a much shorter space than your usual cardio class or long distance run (15-20 min is the commonly used period of time for HIIT workouts). The calories continue burning AFTER the workout also, due to the plyometric and calisthenic exercises used and the way the muscles are forced to work in an explosive manner.
So, as you can imagine, HIIT workouts are great for those who have time-restrictions and who enjoy a good old fashioned sweat-till-you-drop fest. However, the jumping movements commonly used in such sessions are not suitable for all clients.
Good old burpees, squat jumps, jumping lunges, tuck jumps and many more, all involve high-impact on the knees, ankles, hips and shoulders (in the case of burpees, mountain climbers). Whilst these movements are fantastic (as explained above) for some, for those who have reduced joint mobility, painful knees, hip or shoulder replacements, or indeed weak musculature in the wrists or ankles, these exercises are difficult or painful.
How I Shape Your Workout to Suit YOU:
In my classes and my 1:1 sessions, I plan with alternatives. In a class scenario, there will naturally be a mix of abilities, and it is important to not have one half of the class feel they will never be able to complete any set exercises, whilst also keeping the other half feeling they have had a good workout and not finding it ‘too easy’.
I appreciate adding a bench for burpees (to reduce the pressure on the shoulders), or giving the option to ‘walk out’ the mountain climbers instead of the jogging motion can make the client feel they are still achieving a great workout, but with reduced discomfort and chance of injury. Other examples are holding a weight whilst squatting instead of squat-jumps, alternating lunges instead or jumping…. it’s all very simple.
Whilst simple, showing these alternatives are available can make the difference to clients of all ages and abilities. It can give them confidence to partake in a class or in 1:1 training, and reduce some of the fear surrounding entering an exercise programme that ‘I’ll never be able to do anything’.
It is important to bear in mind – some classes are difficult to adapt and trainers have limits as to how they can accommodate a wide range of clients. Therefore it is important, in a class setting, to know your comfort-limits and perhaps start in a ‘beginners’ class before progressing to intermediate and advanced.
So, whether you you are a HIIT addict, or prefer to ‘feel the burn’ through slow, controlled movements and progress gradually, there is a workout out there for you, where your joint health will not be compromised and you will still reap the benefits!
Enjoy the bank hol weekend!