Most personal trainers don’t whip their clients into shape with their hands alone. The best trainers in the gym have a specific set of skills and tools they employ to keep their client sweating and breathing hard not to mention burning fat and building muscle. If you’re an aspiring trainer or simply an A+ client looking to excel outside of appointments, check out what the most effective trainers use to help themselves and others stay fit.
1. Appropriate Flooring
One of the benefits of working out in a gym is that they provide the absolute best surfaces for a variety of fitness activities. Weightlifting requires padded flooring to absorb the shock of dropped weights. Yoga needs a hard and unyielding ground to allow proper posing. Flooring is the base of fitness, and it is arguably the most important piece of equipment in one’s exercise arsenal as it maintains safety, hygiene, and performance.
2. Self-Myofascial-Release Tools
Muscles recover better when they are regularly released from the tension of a tough workout, but not everyone can afford a massage every day. Instead, good trainers provide their clients with self-myofascial-release tools like foam rollers and small balls. These tools break up break up knots in muscle allowing for hydration, recovery, and flexibility much sooner.
3. Heart Rate Monitors
Heart rate monitors are simple and inexpensive devices and can be taken on and off easily during a workout. In order to achieve noticeable results no matter the fitness goals, an individual must maintain a certain heart rate for the duration of the workout. So trainers use heart rate watches to understand their clients’ level of exertion throughout a session.
While in some instances, listening to music can actually hinder performance most cross-country runners frown on acoustic aid, for example in the gym, the right sound can significantly impact emotion and sense of well-being. Though they may not admit it, many trainers slave over the perfect playlists to pump up their clients and keep energy high. Trainers also search out facilities with high-tech sound systems that won’t fail or produce disrupting sounds during a session.
5. Bodyweight Exercises
More accessible than a full set of weights and vastly more budget-friendly, bodyweight exercises are one of the absolute best tools to tone a body. Trainers love to use these exercises because it negates any excuse regarding expense and proximity. It can be much easier and more fulfilling for clients to use their own weight rather than free weights.
6. Stability Ball
This squishy half-sphere may look odd in a gym, but trainers have endless uses for the stability ball. The stability ball’s pliability is perfect for jumping, and its instability is perfect for learning balance and building core stability strength. Most commonly, people will find prone and supine uses for the stability ball, but trainers can demonstrate standing and transition workouts as well.
Trainers have a variety of names for these tools sliders, gliders, or discs but they all do the same thing: inject fun into a workout. Sliders provide instability which builds up delicate and hard-to-reach muscles in the legs and back, but the real appeal is that clients enjoy working sliders as much as they would playing a game. Sliders are exceedingly inexpensive, and many trainers even forego specific fitness gear for even cheaper alternatives like furniture sliders or paper plates.
These free weights have been around for decades, but recently trainers have been using kettlebells more and more because they allow for full-body workouts all at once. Researchers have found that by using a holistic approach to fitness, people can burn calories, build muscle, and see cardiovascular improvement much faster than previous methods of focusing each day on one body region. However, individuals unfamiliar with the kettlebell should first seek supervision, because these tough tools can cause serious damage if mishandled.
9. Jump Rope
Some people haven’t seen this crucial piece of equipment since their last day at recess, but many are becoming reacquainted with the humble jump rope under the guidance of savvy trainers. Jump rope provides simple and quick cardio training; just 10 minutes is enough for effective exercise, which means everyone has the time for solo cardio work.
10. Pull-up Bar
Many people see performing a series of pull-ups as the ultimate in physical fitness and rightly so. Pull-ups require immense strength and endurance, and the muscles they build are ones useful in everyday life, like the rowing and pulling muscles of the back and shoulder. A simple pull-up bar is inexpensive and easily stashed in a gym bag when not in use, so clients can practice their reps wherever they go.