Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Client Doesn't Like to be Touched

My client Ed is a 63-year old business tycoon that isn't in the best shape. He is about 30 pounds overweight, inactive, and loves his scotch. When I met him 5 weeks ago he expressed his desire to feel better and become healthier. He also wants to improve his golf game. Well, when I took Ed through my initial assessments I tested his flexibility with a modified NASM overhead squat test and his shoulder mobility. Ed complained of shoulder problems so I wanted to take a look at his scapular mobility. During the assessment I palpated his shoulder blades. Ed seemed a bit agitated during my palpation, so I asked him if he was alright. He replied "Yes".

I thought nothing more of it.

For our second workout, we performed some static stretching to help increase his overall flexibility. As I had Ed lie down, I proceeded to lift his leg up to assist in stretching his hamstring. He seems to be getting agitated again. I began to think Ed didn't like to be touched. My rationale was that Ed is a big-time business owner that not many people can get close to him (except for family and friends), so I suppose Ed keeps a professional distance from others. So I wanted to spring up a question to Ed that would clarify my thoughts. I said to Ed:

"Ed, you should really think about getting some regular sessions with a massage therapist to loosen up these muscle knots".

As I waited attentively for his response, Ed replied, "John I would but I don't like to be touched".

So, I thought to myself without making this into too big of a deal, I wondered how can I get Ed to increase his flexibility without being assisted by me? As a personal trainer, challenges are part of the job. But the goal of the client is always important and should never be forgotten. So what did I do? I went and purchased Ed a Stretching Strap. I instructed him how to use it and now, instead of being hindered by this small obstacle, I am still able to get my client to achieve what is best for him. I'll keep you posted on his progress...

1 comment:

  1. nice post, john. personally, i dont think personal trainers should ever assist in stretching--not our scope of practice, imho.

    however, there are times when you need to touch clients, but that is covered before we ever hit the training floor in a release covering the topic. We tell clients that there are times where we will need to physically cue them or correct a technique and they need to tell us upfront if they dont like the contact so we can find other cues. We also TELL them before we touch them or when we anticipate the need.


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