Training The Challenging Client
About a month ago I was finishing taking a prospective new client’s medical and injury history and running him through a movement assessment that I use to evaluate all of my potential clients. As he described his various orthopedic and cardiovascular issues he said to me, “I’ll probably be the most challenging client you work with.” I remember laughing to myself and thinking that each client with whom I work presents their own unique challenges. And, truth be told, if I were to give a prize to the most challenging client I train, IT WOULD BE ME!
I am a candidate for a partial knee replacement, shoulder replacement and am currently rehabbing from Achilles tendon surgery. As I have continued to train (because I believe that you can’t go wrong getting strong) I have had to adapt and modify my exercise routine. This has meant removing certain exercises like overhead pressing as well as modifying other exercises like flat bench pressing to take into account my limitations. Most importantly, it has meant focusing on exercises that counter the effects of a long training career and help me deal with my injuries.
The most important adaptation has been to refocus on exercises that build my posterior chain-the muscles of my upper back, glutes and legs. It has meant doing my exercises on one leg and challenging balance and imbalances on certain sides of my body. I trust that doing these exercises myself has made me a better coach/trainer as I help my clients deal with their own individual challenges.
Through it all, both designing programs for my clients and myself, I have gained a greater appreciation for the design of the human body. Our ability to adapt and improve in the midst of adversity has helped to remind me that I am simply a gardener working in soil that has been created by a power far greater than me.