T Nation

Personal Trainer Mistakes


Ok, Ok, it?s a stupid prank LoL :wink:

Once I Got your attention, I would like to ask you nicely for a bit of your input.
I am to write a few pages piece on fallacies and flaws regarding ?traditional? personal training and personal trainers. You know very well on this site what I?m talking about.
I have done my list, but? I thought for second that I maybe a bit "bitter" and somewhat far from being impartial in my judgments. Hence I decided to ask You guys and gals for your experiences and views.
What are the cardinal mistakes they make, what?s wrong with them, their sessions, their ... everything (as far as I am concern in majority of cases), attitude, education, etc?

Alright, there are some good ones (and guys, my full respect to you), however, you are in minute minority.

Anyway, just to get you going:

"badness" # 1
PT - Lack of basic knowledge of exercises, their alternatives and progressions

"Badness" # 2
Overly exploited patterns of sets and reps (again lack of variety)

Ok, feel free to add anything you?ve seen, observed in your gyms, centre, read in whatever sports/fitness related mags you read about PT, personal trainers, their work, their sessions.

Much obliged


"Badness" #3
Being a complete retard.

Couldn't resist :slight_smile: But most of them really are!


Badness #4 - having all clients do the same workout regardless of their goals.

Badness #5 - Not pushing clients hard enough. I'm sorry, but if you're able to hold a conversation while doing your set, you're not working hard enough.

Badness #6 - Falling for trends and having everyone use the new gimmick piece of equipment instead of squatting or deadlifting.

Badness #7 - Not using collars. WTF is it with trainers never using collars?

Badness #8 - (I'm on a roll now) Trying to train four clients at once and using six different pieces of equipment while doing it.

Badness #9 - Not correcting bad form.

Badness #10 - Getting in my fucking way.

I could go on, but I have to go eat now.


What exactly is this for?


Pick up the book Facts and Fallacies of Fitness by Dr. Mel Siff for the answer to your question.


Study up on anatomy. In fact, everybody who lifts should do this. If you want to train a muscle at least know where it is and what it does first.

Get some practical experience. Make a plan and try a bunch of stuff. If it works for you, great! If it doesn't, try something else. Just because you read it in a book or you heard from somebody that (insert exercise here) works, doesn't mean anything. Get out there and learn by doing.


that's something I never thought about!


  • Re: Not using safety collars - I reckon it is very difficult tighten collars on swiss ball or bossu


I never seen PT teach how to clean... or SQUAT (CORRECTLY!!!!!!!!). hence, why bother with collars

Any more??

Actually, I asked similar question one of my friends who is an editor of one of the leading fitness mags for women in UK.
Her list was "somewhat" differnet to yours :slight_smile:

Interesting... each group (coaches/trainers, ordynary gym goers, athletes/ex-athletes, fitness mag authors) have extremely different list.

I'd appreciate any more input from you guys



when i see the trainers at my gym, they either look like they have no idea and have the personality of cow shit and show no enthusiasm what so ever...atleast be interested in what they are doing and also as mentioned, dont have a conversation with your trainee while they are allegedly busting their ass on the swiss ball...

also, not pushing their trainees hard enough...they have got to break a sweat atleast


"Badness" #11
Carrying your clients weights to and from the rack for them.


You took all of mine. Very good points. I think the worse thing they do besides not being knowledgeable thmeselves is either killing their clients or having them curl pink dumbells on an exercise ball the whole workout. Very few have a good sense of their clients and give them what they can handle, pushing them but gradually and progressively bringing them along over time.


Big rude and ignoring everyone that isn't paying them.

I'm not looking to get into a conversation, and I don't want any advice, but since I see these people more than I see my family, a nod or a "hey" wouldn't be out of place.


That's a new and definitely good point here!
Totaly agree, PT's are supposed to be "THE ONEs" within any centre (or rather are allegedly), those with greater and more thorough knowledge - in comparison to ordinary instructors (at least this is the way it works in UK). And that "status" makes them cocky and arrogant to say the least.

However, what REALLY bugs me, is the fact that they (majority of them) totally ignore everybody who is not their "prospect".
It does not matter that that someone is wracking his/her shoulders on lat pull-down or screws up something else performing some crazy, not seen before movement, but NO way PT is going to stop by, have a chat, correct, help out (for free).
Not in a million years!

Thanks for bringing this one!


I was in the gym yesterday and 2 different trainers brought 2 women through. One appeared to be in her mid 40's the other mid 20's. I am sure they had varying levels of fitness (just an assumption I don't know either woman). Both Trainers talked about spot reduction and then ran both women on the same routine with the primary 3 movements being leg press, hack squat and Smith Machine Bench Pressing. I stood there slack jawed I can't believe people are paying for this service. Throw me some cash I can tell you to do 3 sets of 10 on every machine in the gym.


Actually look like the work out.....The trainers should be one of the biggest most in shape people in the gym......plus most guys train only women or teenages that have no clue whats going on anyway......


In my six years of experience as a trainer I've seen a number of things (particularly before I started working in a private facility). However, the statement needs to be made that the majority of people in any profession are complete fucktards. There are shitty doctors, lawyers, police, and teachers. I think sometimes that it is unfair that people here harp endlessly on trainers because statistically a good number of you actually suck at your chosen career path.

If you think you'd make a better trainer then I have a suggestion for you. Put your money where your mouth is. Become a trainer and make it your primary source of income. If you're good you can make a great living and you'd be doing the world a service.


It's been years since I worked in a commercial facility, but I remember people being particularly rude because they thought they knew what they were doing.

Besides, does your doctor operate on you for free?


Consider, perhaps, that the biggest guys in the gym are likely not natural. Any trainer preaching health while being totally chemically enhanced is a complete hypocrite.

Also remember that the ability to teach and the ability to do are not always found in the same person.


Not telling skinny freaks like I used to be to eat enough.


Consider also, not everyone has aspirations to be Ronnie Coleman. Just because a trainer isn't big doesn't mean he can't do his job. I agree he should look like he works out and should be one of fittest in the gym, but he doesn't have to be huge.