While there is no single right way to train clients who are overweight or have obesity, using regressions can be an effective method to employ. The ACE Integrated Fitness Training(R) (ACE IFT(R)) Model promotes stability and mobility prior to movement because movement must be executed properly before integrating load. Moving too quickly to the load phase may result in joint stress or injury if faulty movement patterns are present under heavy resistance.
Functional resistance training and training for daily activities is an ideal method to ensure clients connect their exercise gains with life movements. It also helps ensure clients develop a positive connection to exercise. The key is to utilize "precursor" exercises, like the ones below, which benefit coordination, stability, mobility and motor control.
When progressing a client to the next exercise, the length of time spent on each exercise depends upon on the individual's movement abilities. When the client demonstrates excellent movement skills, he or she can progress to the next exercise. Sets and repetitions should be based on the client's ability and the length of the training program. Below are exercise progressions that you can use with your clients who are overweight or are affected by obesity.
Bend and Lift Progression
Bend-and-lift progressions are commonly seen with squats. A squat progression is given below.
Hip Bridge >
Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Lift the hips into the air and keep the arms on the floor.
Squat Up and Down from Bench >
Sit on a bench with arms positioned in front of the body. Lift the body into an upright position and return to the starting position.
Squat Up and Down From Bench While Holding TRX >
Hold TRX straps while sitting on a bench. Lift the body into an upright position while using the TRX for support. Return to the starting position.
TRX Squat >
With elbows under the shoulders, hold the TRX handles and stand upright. Lower the hips into a squat position with elbow extension. Return to the starting position.
Body-weight Squat >
Stand with arms at shoulder height in front of the body. Lower the hips into a squat position and return to center.
Squat With Light Load (e.g., Medicine Ball) >
Stand while holding a medicine ball in front of the chest. Lower the hips into a squat position.
Directional Change or Split Squat Stance
Perform a squat, rotate 45 degrees, then perform another squat. Repeat.
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