Steps to Great Programme Design for Personal Trainers

What many PT clients rarely consider is that hidden behind their brilliant training programme should be some serious expertise on the part of their personal trainer, designing and developing a bespoke programme just for them.

So here’s a summary of our top 7 steps created specifically for personal trainers to assist with the design of awesome programmes for your clients.

Step 1 – Don’t Jump in at the Deep End by Guessing Your Client’s Wants

It’s essential to consult to gather vital facts and key knowledge.

Be sure that you have the means to consider the following aspects:-

Client goals

Fitness levels

Medical history

Nutritional habits


You can glean some great answers by probing what you’re told on the surface by using open ended questions.

Step 2 – Conduct a Meaningful Flexibility Assessment

Identify which of your client’s muscles need to be stretched and why. This is essential because knowing your client’s range of flexibility shapes your exercise prescription and reduces the risk of sustaining injury, which is counterproductive to their goals and you as their personal trainer.

Step 3 – Carry Out a Movement Analysis

This will enable you to determine how well your client can perform natural human movement. For example, the ability to squat, lunge, twist, bend, pull and push.

Step 4 – Select Movements that Most Closely Resemble Daily Activity Patterns

Once identified, you can focus in on exercises that closely match movements in their day to day lives. For example, a young mother frequently bending over to pick up her young child would require exercises that reinforce the bend movement pattern and strengthen her lower and upper back, such as a bent over row.

Step 5 – Determine Load, Repetitions, Sets and Rest Periods

As the students and graduates of our level 3 personal trainer course learn in depth, there is a real art and high level of skill involved here. If in doubt, err on the side of caution as it’s always better to build your client up gradually than to start high, with too much severity only for the going to prove too tough.

Step 6 – Packaging

Give some thought to how you will present you client with their programme. Yes we live in a technological world where emails are great and that’s certainly an easy option but one of the challenges for service based businesses like personal training is that it can be difficult to add tangibility. The programme design stage is a golden opportunity to tackle this. So purchase some high quality paper and some professional business wallets with business card holders. Make sure the final programme you hand to your client looks the part – they’ll be delighted with all your efforts and of course it’s a great discussion point for when they catch up with friends and family.

Step 7 – Price Accordingly

Done properly expect it to take you at least 30 minutes, if not longer to design your client’s programme. This should be a chargeable part of your service in some shape or form, after all done well it takes serious commitment on your part. From experience many personal trainers can find charging for this difficult. The reason? Because they’ve not been transparent with their client up front. Explain in your initial meeting that you charge for programme design at the equivalent of your hourly rate. Make sure this is also outlined in your contract or policies and obtain a signed copy. This tried and tested method not only boosts your personal trainer income but it reinforces your professionalism and you as the expert.


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