Start with Stabilisation!

Stabilisation is a sensible starting point for beginners. Clients who have never established a regular and consistent exercise routine are beginners. They may walk the dog or occasionally drop into their local Zumba class, but when it comes to structured goal-based exercise, they are a beginner.

For those clients, you will need to begin with what S&C coaches might call a pre-hab programme. This programme is about training to train!

The average untrained person has very little coordination and stability making them vulnerable to joint injuries and falls. They also have a very low work capacity, meaning they cannot get a lot of work done in a given time. They are weak and struggle to move their body weight. Furthermore, they will have a limited range of motion at the joints and possibly even a spinal deviation such as hyperkyphosis.

However, working with a beginner is not as complicated as it sounds.

Recommended stabilisation exercises

When writing a beginner programme, we recommend you choose exercises that give you a chance to assess your client’s abilities whilst training them to improve. Exercises like the following are ideal:

  • Planks
  • Wood-chops
  • Split squats
  • Banded pull-ups
  • Single-arm pressing
  • Single-arm pulls
  • Single-arm carries
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Stability ball exercises

Try to avoid the use of benches too much in the first phase of training. We want to teach these clients to use stabilising muscles to support their posture. 

We are not trying to overload the muscles for growth, and we are not trying to build maximal strength and power. That can all come later if that becomes the client’s goal. Before then, you must teach your clients how to train and build a strong foundation.

Stabilisation programming

The following stabilisation programme will develop stability, and because it is structured as a circuit, it will also improve work capacity.

a programme for developing stabilisation

Work periods, rest periods and exercises can all be progressed or regressed depending on the client. You can also finish the session with developmental stretches or PNF stretches like the ones below:

Want to learn more about how to plan exercise for clients with different needs and abilities? Check out our level 3 diploma in personal training.

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