Safety / Injuries
Equipment to Use for Corrective Exercise
Although it depends on the condition you and your client want to correct, there are some types of equipment used in corrective exercise that are better suited to certain muscle groups. Let’s look at the types of equipment used in corrective exercise for the upper-body, lower-body, core, and whole-body.
Equipment for Upper-Body Corrective Exercise
Upper-body corrective exercises focus on increasing strength around the joints of the upper body. Many injuries occur in the shoulders and elbows.
Common shoulder injuries include the muscles of the rotator cuff—remembered by the acronym SITS (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis). Injuries are caused by overuse or acute trauma. Pain may be reported as sharp and shooting, or dull and throbbing. Training should include strengthening and stretching of the following muscles of the shoulder joint:
- Teres minor
- Anterior, posterior, medial deltoids
- Serratus anterior
- Pectoralis minor
- Biceps brachii
Injuries to the elbow include overuse and sprains or strains. A client may report having pain from “tennis elbow” or “Golfer’s elbow”. Both are types of tendinitis or damage in the tendons around the elbow. The personal trainer should include strength training to stabilize the elbow joint. Focus on the following muscles:
- Triceps brachii
- Biceps brachii
- Pronator teres
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting the wrist joints. There are mixed reviews as to whether strength training improves this condition. Physicians suggest using a brace and modifying activities—such as desk work—to put less strain on the hand and wrist.
The best types of equipment for upper-body corrective exercises are resistance bands and free weights. Resistance bands—loops, tubes, elastics, etc.—are ideal for upper-body corrective exercise. They fit easily into a purse, gym bag, or suitcase and can be anchored using a doorjamb at work or in a hotel.
Free weights are a good choice for clients with a gym membership. They may also fit well for clients who have room in the home for a small workout space.
Equipment for Lower-Body Corrective Exercise
Runners, cyclists, and clients suffering from low back pain may benefit from lower-body corrective exercises. The types of equipment used in corrective exercise for the lower body include resistance bands and foam rollers.
Common injuries of the lower body include the hips, knees, and ankles. Training should strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding those joints. There should be a functional balance between agonist and antagonist muscles. Perform a movement screen to determine if there are muscle imbalances.
Hip pain may be caused by arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis. It may also be because of a muscle sprain or strain. Several exercises can help increase strength in the hips and reduce pain. These include:
- Straight leg raises
- Hip flexion
- Hip extension
- Wall slides
- Single-leg bridge
- Lateral band walks
Knee pain is often caused by excess weight, strength imbalances, arthritis, or injury. Exercises to improve knee pain include bodyweight training—lunges, squats, hip bridges, etc.—and foam rolling.
A rolled ankle may eventually lead to knee pain or hip pain if not properly rehabilitated before returning to the training program.
Balance training helps increase strength and flexibility in the ankle joints. For balance training, a personal trainer might use a BOSU ball or wobble board.
Equipment for Core and Whole-Body Corrective Exercise
The core musculature includes muscles of the abdomen, back, and lower extremities. Core muscles include stabilizing muscles such as:
- Internal obliques
- Lumbar multifidus
- Pelvic floor muscles
- Transverse abdominis
- Transverse spinalis
And the movers:
- Erector spinae
- External obliques
- Latissimus dorsi
- Rectus abdominis
Peripherally, the hamstrings, hip abductors and adductors, and gluteus maximus also support the core.
Low back pain generally occurs when abdominal muscles are weak. Other issues that happen when the core muscles are weak include instability and poor balance.
Strong core muscles are important for work and daily activities such as bending down to put on socks and shoes, swinging a golf club, or reaching into kitchen cabinets.
Exercises the personal trainer may suggest for strengthening core muscles seldom need added resistance. Isometric exercises may be prescribed to increase strength in the core muscles. These might include planks (and variations), hip bridge, bird dog exercise, and Superman exercise.
Clients may find it helpful to use ergonomic aids for improving posture at work. Standing desks, anti-fatigue mats, and lumbar supports are ideal for preventing lower back pain caused by poor posture.
Generally, corrective exercise should work on muscular endurance. High repetitions and low resistance are most beneficial for correcting issues without further worsening the problem. The ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist course goes over corrective exercise programming in great detail.
What do Corrective Exercise Equipment Do Personal Trainers Need?
Throughout this article, we have mentioned foam rollers, resistance bands, and the BOSU® ball. However, any piece of equipment can help improve the condition of an injury or weakness if used prudently.
The goal of corrective exercise is to prevent injury. However, most clients will call on a personal trainer only AFTER they have been injured. Assess the client first. If there are obvious muscle imbalances, then delve deeper into a discussion about pain and injury.
Correct form first—without a load—and as fitness progresses, add resistance.
The corrective exercise specialist should have equipment for balance training. Equipment might include BOSU® balls, wobble boards, or trampolines.
Where Can You Find Corrective Exercise Equipment?
The types of equipment used in corrective exercise are easily accessible online or at local sporting goods retailers.
Some stores may include:
- Big 5 Sporting Goods
- Champs Sports
- Dick Sporting Goods
- Dunham’s Sports
- Gym Source
- Sports Authority
What is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Purchase Equipment?
But, paying retail is typically more expensive than getting goods wholesale.
If you are a member of a wholesale warehouse, then there may be seasonal deals on sporting goods—especially at the beginning of the new year. The end of spring is also a good time to find deals on exercise equipment.
Sometimes it is okay to buy training equipment at used sporting goods stores. Dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, and bars may not look pretty, but are no less effective. Facebook Marketplace is another way to find gently used exercise equipment for cheap. However, don’t buy anything without first seeing the product. Use caution when buying resistance bands. Check for wear and tear, cracks, fraying, etc. If there are any signs of use—buy new.
Amazon.com is another way to buy relatively low-cost goods. Prime members save on shipping and big sales holidays—Black Friday or tax-free holidays—are the best time to buy. Mark these days on your calendar and save up.
You may also consider creating an account with Alibaba.com. Alibaba supplies retailers around the world. Sporting equipment often must be bought in bulk, but some suppliers will send samples to the buyer. If the only choice is to buy in bulk, then ask a few personal trainer friends if they would like to add equipment to their facility. Bulk prices are even better than wholesale, if the quantity isn’t too large.
Now, are you ready to take that next step to boost your personal training career? With Corrective Exercise, you'll learn to identify and correct the most common movement dysfunctions in weekend warriors to the serious athletes. Explore ISSA’s Corrective Exercise Specialist course and get started today!