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IDEA Personal Trainer - 6th Annual Sports Conditioning Issue

Including general sports conditioning or sport-specific training as part of you personal training service menu dovetails perfectly with the passion for sports echoed in many corners of the world.

Athletes everywhere are celebrated.  Consider the prestige of the Olympic Games or the drawing power of World Cup soccer, Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the thousands of other events to which fans flock every year to cheer their heroes or simply to appreciate inspiring displays of athleticism.

Your clients may be fans but also want a piece of that action for themselves.  Fitness facilities have begun to proliferate sports conditioning classes because of overwhelming consumer demand.  According to Carol Scott, national director of group fitness for East Coast Alliance, Equinox has already created a host of group classes that focus on speed, agility, quickness, core conditioning, plyometrics and other sport-specific areas.  “And we’re just getting started,” she says.  Pay attention to her message.  Such heightened consumer enthusiasm can only increase your chances of making sports conditioning programs sing with your one-to-one or small-group personal training clients.

This special CEC section aims to feed your knowledge base and fuel your creative thought process so you can better serve the swelling number of fitness clients who want the challenges and rewards of sports conditioning added to their training programs.

Let the games begin!

Learning Objectives
After reading these articles, readers should be able to:

  • Integrate a soccer-specific program into a client’s training schedule to ensure safe, effective and efficient exercise and performance progression.
  • Discuss the specific responses of the body’s energy pathways to playing a soccer match.
  • Understand the importance of matching a client’s training to the target activity for the best carryover in the client’s performance.
  • Explain the differences between the lactate, ventilatory, anaerobic and heart rate thresholds.
  • Describe the basic physiological pathways of energy production in the body.
  • Design endurance exercise programs to enhance lactate threshold.
  • Outline the properties of water and discuss how to utilize them for sports conditioning.
  • Discuss specific conditioning goals and training challenges for tennis players.
  • Demonstrate protocols for training tennis players in water.

Total Cecs
3 contact hours from ACE.  Credits from ACE may be applied toward the ACSM continuing education process.  They are also accepted by W.I.T.S. and NFPT.

CEC-Approved Articles

  • Goal! (soccer training for all populations)
  • Optimize Endurance Training
  • Tennis Gets Wet


Score big with all client age groups by introducing them to the multitude of training benefits that the world’s most popular sport has to offer.

The sports world witnessed many upsets in 2002.

American basketball fans were stunned when the star-studded U.S. national team got licked by the likes of Spain and Yugoslavia to finish a gasping sixth in the World Championships.  American soccer fans were equally unsettled, albeit pleasantly, when team USA reached the World Cup quarterfinals.

Landmark sports performances and events have a way of inspiring the masses and hatching dreams of athleticism in even the most sedentary couch and pub potatoes.  When a sport gets hot, bubbles over and sears itself into the public consciousness, why not seize that opportunity to inject your training programs with some challenge, fun and interest related to it?  The excitement generated during last year’s World Cup offered me this opportunity; most of my clients developed a new love for the sport.

Case Studies: Anyone Can Play

Soccer is the only sport that does not discriminate.  You can play, whether you’re fat, thin, rich, poor, gay, straight, male, female, young, old, hearing- or vision-impaired, or mentally or physically challenged.  You don’t need much equipment or space to train, and you can work solo or in a group.  An assortment of populations can use a soccer-specific conditioning program to achieve a variety of action-oriented goals.  Three diverse client groups with unique goals are represented in the following case studies.

Case Study #1
Client: Walker Shelven, 14, is a nationally ranked junior tennis player who is competing in the under-16 division and wants to improve his flexibility, footwork, speed, agility, acceleration and endurance to compete with the older, stronger, faster and more coordinated players.

Challenges: Walker is going through puberty.  Because his bones are growing faster than his ligaments and tendons, the muscles around his shoulder, hip, knee and ankle joints have adapted to a shorter stature.  Consequently, he has developed patella femoral joint compressive syndrome (pain in the front of both knees due to structural misalignment of the axial and appendicular skeleton).

Training Strategy: Walker trains for 1 hour, 3 times per week.  Dynamic flexibility drills develop his stride length and leg turnover and reinforce proper running form.  Interval training, specifically pattern running, increases his anaerobic capacity to enable him to increase the length of his work bout.  Functional strength training helps Walker overpower and outperform his opponents, and plyometrics develop his speed and power.  Strength training increases the stability of his shoulder, hip, knee and ankle joints: Restoring muscular balance within and between muscle groups is optimized, and the transference of force from the muscle to the joint improves his performance and significantly decreases his knee pain.  Finally, passive static stretching successively improves his joint flexibility.

Soccer Training Outcomes: The regular, supervised stretching has improved Walker’s posture.  His foot/hand/eye coordination enables him to hit the ball less on the run and more from a stable hitting position.  Because his racquet point of contact with the ball allows him to move his shoulder joint through full range of motion (ROM), his shot selection has broadened to include topspin, slices and drop shots.  Furthermore, his first step is more explosive, allowing him to accelerate forward, backward and laterally to reach with confidence drop shots, overheads and acutely angled balls on either his forehand side or his backhand side.

Case Study #2
Client: Elaine Van Ness, 40, is an office worker who wants to improve her flexibility, strength and endurance and decrease her total body weight.

Challenges: Until Elaine looks as though she “does not stand out as a deconditioned person among physically fit gym-goers,” she does not want to join a gym.

Training Strategy: Elaine trains for 1 hour, 4 times per week, alternating low-intensity days and high-intensity days.  She progresses her performances and advances through her program by executing each movement with top form and moving from slow to fast, simple to complex, stable to unstable, low force to high force and general to specific.  (Remember that perfect practice makes perfect permanent!)  This type of training helps Elaine stay in shape and, by increasing her neuromuscular conditioning, makes her a better athlete.

Soccer Training Outcomes: Elaine has improved her self-efficacy and increased her strength, endurance and flexibility.  After 5 weeks of training, she has also decreased her total body weight by 10 pounds.

Case Study #3
Client: Edward Lloyd, 74, is a retired senior who wants to improve his balance, flexibility, strength, endurance, quickness, power and neuromuscular coordination and increase his fat-free mass.

Challenges: Three years ago, Edward had a mild stroke that impaired his balance and shortened his stride length during ambulation.  Because he now has to look at the ground when walking, he has developed secondary postural deviations (forward head, forward shoulders).

Training Strategy: Edward trains for 1 hour, twice per week.  A 12-to-15 minute warm-up allows him to concentrate on proper walking mechanics and prepare his body for the optimal state of readiness.  Dynamic flexibility exercises shift his center of gravity over his support base, especially when he raises his knees to his hips and raises his arms over his head.  The speed ladder, step hurdles and lateral resistor strengthen his lower extremity musculature specific to walking.  Plyometrics, especially medicine ball exercises, strengthen his core musculature to enhance his trunk control and improve his balance.  Strength training develops a stable strength base.  Passive static stretching improves his joint ROM.  This training strategy is designed to improve Edward’s structural joint integrity, flexibility, strength and power to improve his activities of daily living overall.

Soccer Training Outcomes: Because the program has forced Edward’s proprioceptive neuromuscular mechanisms to work harder than normal, his sensory feedback and proprioceptive input have improved.  In addition, the ground-based exercises have improved his somatosensory system tremendously.  Edward now stands ramrod-straight; walks with lightness in his step; and feels more stable when turning to each side, walking sideways or walking backward.  He is better able to initiate movement, especially standing up from a seated position.  If startled while walking, he can now stop without fear of falling; he controls his environment instead of being controlled by his environment.  His improved endurance manifests itself in his increased time and distance to fatigue.  Because of his improved physical conditioning, Edward’s technical skills for ambulation and balance have also seen dramatic improvement.

The Body’s Response to a Soccer Match
Soccer is played on a field 120 yards long and 75 yards wide.  A soccer match lasts 90 minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime period.  (This does not include the 20-minute golden goal overtime, which occurs in the event of a draw at the end of regulation time.)  During a match, players commonly cover total distances of 2,000 to 9,000 yards at speeds of 6 to 8.6 yards per second while turning quickly, dodging, twisting, weaving, jumping, leaping, and accelerating from stationary or near-stationary positions.

In the course of a match – both to engage in multiple high-intensity sprints and to run for long periods at a low intensity – soccer players rely on two major energy systems that function in muscle tissue; anaerobic and aerobic metabolism.  Each system generates adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which can metabolize rapidly to meet energy needs during intense short-term exercise.

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale
Teach your client to gauge his exercise intensity as follows:

RPE 1 to 2: Easy
Conversing during activity is easy.

RPE 3 to 4: Easy to Moderate
Conversing during activity is still possible with minimal effort.

RPE 5 to 6: Moderate to Hard
Conversing during activity requires some effort.

RPE 7 to 8: Difficult to Very Challenging
Conversing during activity requires significant effort.

RPE 9 to 10: Maximal Effort
Conversing during activity is no longer possible.

After a few seconds of intense exercise, the body uses up its small stores of ATP and turns to glycogen, which can be metabolized within muscle cells to generate ATP for the contraction of the working skeletal muscle, as an energy source.  Because both ATP and muscle glycogen can be metabolized without oxygen, this energy system is called anaerobic metabolism.  As exercise continues, the body has to rely on the metabolism of carbohydrates (glucose), protein and fat to generate ATP.  Because this second energy system requires oxygen, it is called aerobic metabolism.

The intensity and duration of activity determine the degree to which the two energy systems are involved.  Short bursts of muscle contraction, such as those occurring in intense sprinting, predominantly use the anaerobic system.  Endurance events, such as slow, continuous distance running, depend mainly on the aerobic system.  Soccer involves a 1-to-3 ratio of intense running to walking/jogging.  Therefore, improving both your client’s anaerobic energy system and his aerobic energy system and his aerobic energy system is important to his success.

Of the many approaches to enhancing both energy systems, interval training is considered one of the most effective to meet the specific demands of soccer.  Interval training subjects the body to repeated fast-paced but brief exercise bouts interspersed with short rest intervals.  During interval training, working heart rate should reach 85 to 100 percent of maximal heart rate.  The duration of the rest interval should be based on the client’s conditioning: As anaerobic capacity improves, the length of the work bout can be increased and the length of the rest interval can be decreased.  Interval training procedures can be adapted by manipulating the intensity and duration of work bouts, the number of repetitions in each workout, the duration of the rest interval between work bouts, the type of activity performed during rest intervals and the weekly training frequency.

Analyzing the Push Pass

Quality passing is crucial to successful upfield advancement of the ball.  To maintain possession, players use the push pass, a kicking technique that employs the medial aspect of the foot as a striking surface to play the ball over a short distance (less than 30 yards), more than any other ball manipulation skill.  The following anatomical and kinesiological analysis of the push pass illustrates the musculature involved for a right-footed player.  You can use this analysis to learn the importance of matching the training to the target activity to develop the best carryover to your client’s performance.

  • The player’s head is in flexion (sternocleidomastoideus).
  • The left arm is abducted and externally rotated (supraspinatus, medial deltoid, posterior deltoid, infraspinaltus and teres minor).
  • The trunk is stabilized over the pelvis (rectus adbominis, external oblique, internal oblique, pyramidalis, psoas major group, intertransversarii, interspinalis, erector spinae group and quadratus lumborum).
  • The right arm is in extension at the glenohumeral joint (pectoralis major, clavicular head, latissimus dorsi, long head of the triceps, posterior deltoid, infraspinatus and teres minor).
  • The left hip is in extension (posterior adductor magnus, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, semitendinosus and semimembranosus).
  • The left knee is in extension (quadratus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis).
  • The right hip is in flexion while the lower leg is externally rotated (rectus femoris, adductor longus, adductor brevis, gracilis, sartorius, pectineus and iliopsoas).
  • The right knee is in extension with eccentric flexion due to deceleration (biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus).
  • The left ankle is in plantar flexion (gastrocnemius, soleus and peroneus longus).
  • The right ankle is in dorsiflexion (tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus).

The Sum of the Parts

My training philosophy for all populations (physically disabled, diseased, injured, apparently healthy and athletic) has one paramount goal: developing athleticism.  Although I am interested in the absolute strength gains of my clients as they progresses through their programs, power qualities and athletic movements are my priorities.  The development of functional strength is so important to me that my testing procedures reflect my emphasis on physiological milestones and psychosocial issues obtained as a direct result of training.

I look forward to the moment when my clients tell me how the athletic movements performed in training have been useful in their activities of daily living.  I recently received from one of my clients a card that simply stated, “The soccer starts here – to life.”

A Soccer-Specific Training Program
A well-designed program should be challenging yet achievable, enjoyable yet rewarding, and intense yet interesting.  Using the type of program described in this section (two to three times per week for 8 to 12 weeks) can considerably improve your client’s speed, coordination, agility, quickness, balance, reaction time, strength, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, body composition and motivation to exercise.

Consider your client’s fitness level and age when customizing his exercise program.  The client should be able to do the drills without becoming completely fatigued.  Using a heart rate monitor and Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1 to 10 (see “Rating of Perceived Exertion [RPE] Scale” section above) helps monitor the intensity of the exercise session.

Equipment Needed

  • Speed ladder
  • Powerblocks or dumbbells
  • Cones
  • Soccer balls
  • Airex pads
  • Step hurdles
  • Foam rollers
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Balance discs
  • 12-inch-high box
  • Medicine balls
  • Lateral resistor
  • Rubber tubing
  • Dice-like 5-point-pattern mat

Warm-up (RPE 2 to 5, 5 to 10 minutes)

A general warm-up increases heart rate, blood flow, core temperature and respiration to prepare the body for activity.  A walking/jogging/running warm-up should progress as follows:

  1. Walk with normal stride length for the first minute.
  2. Increase stride length for the second minute.
  3. Jog slowly with short stride for the third minute.
  4. Jog slowly with longer stride for the fourth minute.
  5. Increase stride length gradually for the fifth minute.

If a longer warm-up is needed, manipulate the walking/jogging/running intensity to suit the client’s tolerance.  The gradual increase in intensity must be maintained, regardless of warm-up modality (treadmill, stationary upright or recumbent cycle, rowing machine, stair climber, skywalker or elliptical trainer).  However, design the warm-up to accommodate the work to be performed.

Dynamic Flexibility (RPE 2 to 4, 7 to 10 minutes)

After the warm-up, a short session of functional and dynamic flexibility exercises further prepares the body by enhancing balance, coordination, proprioception and speed.  Dynamic flexibility exercises serve as an effective warm-up to speed, agility and quickness drills because they help develop stride length, leg turnover and proper running form.

Although there are many dynamic flexibility exercises, the following are most applicable to soccer.  Each exercise should last 20 seconds and be performed forward, backward and laterally.  In addition, ensure that your client moves his joints through a full, pain-free range of motion (ROM).

Interval Training

Patter Running (RPE 9 to 10 [work], RPE 5 to 7 [recovery], 12 to 15 minutes)

Pattern running prepares the body for a variety of soccer-specific movements.  Adjust the program to the client’s age and conditioning.  To maximize the effectiveness of pattern running, follow these guidelines:

  • Select a starting point on a flat surface for each sprint.
  • Use the correct work-to-rest ratio.  For example, immediately after finishing the first run, the client should use the correct work-to-rest ratio in jogging back to the starting point to begin the next run.  If the pattern run took 15 seconds to complete and the ratio is set at 1 to 2, the client has 30 seconds to return to the starting position before executing the next pattern.
  • Stress training intensity.

Dynamic Flexibility Exercises


  • Heel walk
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Balls-of-feet walk
  • Tibialis drag
  • Toe-in/toe-out walk
  • Stationary toe raise
  • Foot tap (tapping foot on ground as quickly as possible)
  • Ankle rotation with foot off ground
  • Side-to-side low ankle jump (2 to 4 inches with slight knee bend)
  • Forward low ankle jump (with slight knee bend)


  • Torso circles (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Arm side swing with side lunge
  • Side bend
  • Trunk rotation

Hips and Knees

  • High knee raise (up to chest)
  • Heel-to-butt kick
  • Single-leg toe touch (bringing tow to torso level and touching with opposite hand)
  • Backpedal (jogging backward and alternately driving off ball of right foot and ball of left foot, repeating for duration of exercise)
  • Karate kick (to side and front)
  • Crossover lateral step (both directions)
  • Drop-and-reach touch (lowering body and touching ground on right and left sides)
  • Lunge walk with torso twist
  • Hurdle walk


  • Arm side swing (to and from body)
  • Arm circle (forward and backward)
  • Arm hug (in front of chest)
  • Arm extensions (behind back)

Specific Pattern-Running Sequence (All drills can be performed with a soccer ball.)

  • 10-yard sprint
  • 20-yard sprint
  • 30-yard sprint
  • 40-yard sprint
  • 10-yard drop drive right (Rotate hips, trunk and shoulders to right.  Drive off left leg, turn and spring 10 yards at 45-degree angle.  Use left foot to drive laterally to right 5 yards.)
  • 10-yard drop drive left (Rotate hips, trunk and shoulders to left.  Drive off right leg, turn and sprint 10 yards at 45-degree angle.  Use right foot to drive laterally to left 5 yards.)
  • 15-yard backpedal (Lean forward at trunk, flex hip joint and sprint backward 15 yards.)
  • 15-yard drop right (Rotate hips, trunk and shoulders to right.  Drive off left leg, turn and sprint 15 yards at 45-degree angle.)
  • 15-yard drop left (Rotate hips, trunk and shoulders to left.  Drive off right leg, turn and sprint 15 yards at 45-degree angle.)
  • 30-yard bending run right (Run 30 yards, veering right 5 to 10 degrees from a straight line but returning to the point where you would end if you ran the 30-yard sprint in a straight line.)
  • 30-yard bending run left (Same as previous, but veer left.)
  • 10-yard shuffle right, sprint 15 yards (Shuffle-step 10 yards to right without crossing feet over each other and sprint straight ahead 10 yards.)
  • Slalom right sprint 10 yards, lateral shuffle right 5 yards (Sprint right in slalom pattern and then break into 5-yard shuffle right.)
  • Slalom left sprint 10 yards, lateral shuffle left 5 yards (Same as previous, but sprint and shuffle left.)
  • 15-yard wide skier’s strides (With feet shoulder-width apart, drive laterally left off right leg and then drive laterally right off left leg, repeating until you have covered 15 yards.)

Functional Training

Soccer movements are explosive and multiplanar and, for the most part, require balance, stabilization and power.  Therefore, functionality must dominate the training program.  Your client should execute each movement with top form and progress from slow to fast, simple to complex, stable to unstable, low force to high force and general to specific.

Perfect practice makes permanent!  This type of training will help your client stay in shape and will increase his neuromuscular conditioning to make him a better athlete.

Hamstrings and Abdominal Muscles (RPE 6 to 8, 5 to 7 minutes)

  • High step-up (2 to 4 sets, 8 to 15 reps): Step high enough onto a box so your thigh is parallel to the ground when your foot is on the box in the starting position.  All weight should be on your exercising leg (the leg on the box).  While extending up through the hip with the exercising leg, the nonexercising leg remains passive.
  • Lateral crossover step-up (2 to 4 sets, 8 to 15 reps): Step onto a box and, while rotating your hips, drive your trailing leg across the midline of your body.  Keep your head and shoulders square and point your hips in the direction in which you wish to move.
  • Rotational lunge and reach (2 to 4 sets, 8 to 15 reps): Perform multidirectional lunges onto one leg while reaching forward with your hands and rotating your hips and torso.  After your chest touches your thigh, immediately push back up to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Medicine ball chop (2 to 4 sets, 8 to 12 reps): With one foot in front of the other and with the weight of your body and the ball over your back leg, chop down the opposite side.  As your hip rotates down and in, shift the weight of your body and the ball forward onto the front leg.  Return to the starting position while shifting the weight back to the rear leg.
  • Overhead throw (3 sets, 8 to 12 reps): Using a weighted ball, simulate a two-hand overhead throw.  This soccer-specific drill can increase upper-body strength.
  • Medicine ball soccer jumps (2 to 3 sets, 10 to 20 reps, using various weighted balls): Standing, squeeze the ball between your ankles and jump up, pulling the ball upward with your feet.  Try to catch the ball with your hands above waist level.

Speed (RPE 7 to 8, 3 to 5 minutes)

  • High knees (2 or 3 sets, 15 to 25 yards for each set)
  • Glute kicker (2 or 3 sets, 15 to 25 yards for each set)
  • Resisted running (3 to 6 reps, 15 to 30 seconds for each set)
  • Short, high-speed sprints (can also be performed on a treadmill, 3 to 6 sets, 5 to 10 seconds for each set)

Agility (RPE 7 to 8, 3 to 5 minutes)

Speed Ladder Drills: Use a speed ladder for the foot contact/rung drills and do 2 to 4 drills, 2 to 4 sets of each

  • Forward run-through (1 foot contact per rung)
  • Forward run-through (2 foot contacts per rung)
  • Backward run-through (1 foot contact per rung)
  • Backward run-through (2 foot contacts per rung)
  • Lateral run-through (1 foot contact per rung)
  • Lateral run-through (2 foot contact per rung)

Step hurdles: Use a step hurdle and do 2 to 4 sets of each drill.

  • Forward step
  • Backward step
  • Lateral-right step
  • Lateral-left step

Quickness (RPE 7 to 8, 3 to 5 minutes)

Lateral resistor tubing drills: Use a lateral resistor and do 1 or 2 drills, 2 to 4 sets of each drill, 30 seconds per drill.

  • Side step (hip abductors and adductors): Begin with your butt and thighs parallel to the ground.  With cuffs on both ankles, take a wide step to the left and hold 1 or 2 seconds.  After 1 set (30 seconds), repeat, stepping wide to the right.
  • Monster walk (lower extremity musculature): Begin with your butt and thighs parallel to the ground.  With cuffs on both ankles, step at a 45-degree angle to the right as wide as possible.  Hold 1 or 2 seconds.  Repeat with your left leg, stepping to the left.  After moving forward for 30 seconds, complete a set moving backward.
  • Leg curls (knee flexors): With cuffs on both ankles, bring your right heel to your buttocks as fast as possible.  Synchronize your arm swing with your lower body.  Repeat with your left heel.  This drill can be performed very slowly, moving forward at a walking pace.
  • High knees (hip flexors): With cuffs on both ankles, drive your right knee and toes up as fast as you can.  Synchronize your arm swing with your lower body.  Repeat with your left knee and toes.  This drill can be performed very slowly, moving forward at a walking pace.
  • Dot drill: Jump quickly from dot to dot on a dice-like 5-point-pattern mat.  Do 1 or 2 drills, 2 to 4 sets of each drill, 30 seconds per drill.

Plyometrics (RPE 7 to 8, 3 to 5 minutes)

  • Skipping/ankle hop (2 sets each of forward/backward/side-to-side, 15 reps): Skip with a jump rope or perform low ankle hops forward, backward and side to side.
  • Side-to-side box shuffle (2 sets, 8 to 12 reps): With one foot on top of a 12-inch-high box, jump up and over to the other side of the box, landing with your other foot on top of the box.
  • Lateral box jump (2 sets, 6 to 8 reps): Jump onto a single 12-inch-high box (or row of 2 to 4 boxes) and back into the ground on the other side.  This can be done as a single movement (one box) or as continuous movements (multiple boxes).
  • Lateral cone hop (2 sets, 6 to 8 reps): Beginning on your left foot, jump sideways over a cone and land on both feet.  Then immediately jump over another cone, landing on your right foot.  This drill should be repeated continuously in both directions without pausing.

Strength Training (RPE 5 to 6, 12 to 20 minutes)

To develop a stable strength base, follow these guidelines with your client:

  • Obtain a physical examination and medical release form before your client participates in an exercise or a sport-specific training program.
  • Select sufficient resistance for your client to perform 10 to 15 controlled repetitions.  Increase the resistance by 5 to 10 percent once he can complete 15 repetitions in good form.  Ensure that the final 2 repetitions of each set are challenging but not impossible.
  • Have your client perform repetitions at a controlled movement speed (2-second lift phase, 1-second peak contraction, 4-second lowering phase) through a full movement range for 1 to 3 sets each.
  • Ensure that your client exhales on the lifting phase and inhales on the lowering phase.
  • Select strength-training exercises that target all of the major muscle groups.
  • Progress from large muscle groups to small muscle groups.
  • Conduct strength training on a consistent basis.
  • Track your client’s progress by recording the number of repetitions and amount of resistance.
  • Refrain from maximal lifts.  They are contraindicated.
  • Keep in mind that strength training is not merely “working out” but working toward a goal.
  • Remind your client that he competes only with himself.

These exercises address all of the major muscle groups.  They should be performed in the order listed, which considers opposing muscle groups, and without resting between exercises:

  • Dumbbell squat
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Dumbbell bent-over row
  • Dumbbell overhead press
  • Dumbbell biceps curl
  • Dumbbell overhead triceps extension
  • Calf raise
  • Ankle tibialis pump
  • Abdominal crunch
  • Reverse crunch
  • Trunk extension (alternate sides)

Passive Static Stretching (RPE 1 to 2, 6 to 10 minutes)

To improve your client’s joint ROM, enforce these stretching guidelines:

  • Relax and concentrate on the muscle being stretched.
  • Stretch slowly by taking the muscle to the end point in ROM, holding it and continuing as the muscle allows.
  • Always exhale on the stretch and then breathe normally.  Do not hold your breath while stretching.
  • Stretch with a smile on your face and concentrate on successively elongating the muscle.

Have your clients follow this stretching routine in sequence and do not skip exercises.  They should hold each stretch 20 to 25 seconds and perform 3 to 5 repetitions of each.  The explanations describe only one side of the body.  To stretch the other side, simply reverse the body position and hand placements:

  • Gluteal stretch: Lying supine with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, cross your right leg over your left leg and place your hands on the back of your left leg.  Gently pull toward your chest.  To stretch your left gluteus maximus, cross your left leg over your right leg.
  • Morning star (low back and hip abductors): Lying supine with your legs straight, cross your right leg over your left leg and reach across your body, placing your left hand on the outside of your right thigh.  Stretch your right arm outward, keeping your elbow in line with your right shoulder.  Turn your head to the right and pull your right leg toward the ground.
  • Knee flexors (hamstrings): Sitting with your legs straight out, bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.  Keeping both arms parallel to the ground and your back flat, move your nose toward your toes.
  • Inner-thigh stretch (adductors): Sitting upright with the soles of your feet pressed against each other, bend your knees, place your forearms on your thighs and gently press your thighs to the ground.
  • Side-lying quadriceps stretch: Lying on your right side, grab your left shin with your left hand.  Keep your knee and hip in alignment and gently pull your heel toward your buttocks.
  • Sitting chair stretch (spinal extensors): Sit on a chair with your feet shoulder/hip-width apart or sit on the ground with your legs crossed.  Gently bend forward toward the ground.
  • Standing calf stretch (spinal extensors): Place your left big toe against the wall; bend your knee; and place your hand on the wall, shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.   Place your right foot directly behind your left foot, 1 to 2 feet apart.  Gently lean toward the wall, keeping your right leg straight.
  • Towel stretch (triceps and latissimus stretch): Standing or seated, grab each end of a rolled towel and hold the towel with your hands shoulder-width apart.  Raise the towel forward and upward until your arms are parallel to your ears.  To stretch your shoulder extensors, bend your right elbow and pull to the left.  To stretch your shoulder adductors, bend your left elbow and pull to the right.
  • Pec minor stretch: Place both hands behind your back, turn your palms up and clasp your fingers.  Depress your scapulae and gently pull away from your body.
  • Cervical lateral flexors: Place your right arm across your chest and place your left hand over the right side of your head.  Gently pull toward your left side.


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