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Why Personal Trainers Need to Know Anatomy and Physiology

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By: ISSA

Date: 2022-05-31


Personal training professionals help clients reach their fitness goals. This requires understanding how an individual exercise affects the human body. It also involves knowing how to put various exercises together. This enables you to create a complete fitness program. A program that provides optimal results.

It may also surprise you to learn that you need extensive knowledge of human anatomy. This is true for both the new and experienced personal trainer.

Why Personal Trainers Need to Know Anatomy

Anatomy is defined as “the identification and description of the body structures of living things.” In the case of personal training, it is the identification and description of the human body. Why is this important as a fitness trainer?

Personal Training Is All About the Human Body

As a personal trainer, you are working with the human body in everything you do. If you don’t understand its structure and function, how are you going to create a fitness program? It’d be like trying to be a chef when you don’t know about food. You aren’t going to get far without this knowledge.

Understanding Exercise Physiology Can Boost Fitness Results

If you want a long career in personal training, you must be able to provide clients with results. The better their results, the more people will want you as their trainer. Having a thorough understanding of physiology (bodily function) makes this possible. It enables you to create exercise programs for specific fitness goals. 

Anatomy Knowledge Helps Avoid Client Training Injuries

When clients hire a fitness instructor, they trust that instructor to not hurt them. They expect a safe training program. Knowledge of skeletal muscle movement is critical to creating an injury-free fitness plan. It also aids in injury prevention. For instance, your client may be prone to rotator cuff issues. Incorporating a standing row exercise in their plan can help strengthen this area.

It Becomes Easier to Identify Clients’ Structural or Functional Issues

Avoiding injury also involves recognizing a structure or movement issue. This type of issue increases the client’s risk of getting hurt. An understanding of anatomy makes it easier to identify when a concern exists. Correcting this issue is key to a safe fitness training program. Knowing anatomy and physiology helps you decide how to do this. You might suggest corrective exercise, for instance.

It Provides Credibility Within the Fitness Industry

Imagine that a client comes to you and says that they want a tighter midsection. The more you know about the abdominal muscle group, the better your ability to target this area. This provides credibility as an athletic trainer. Clients will feel more comfortable coming to you with their training questions. Others in the field will hold you in higher regard because you’re the real deal.

How to Boost Your Human Anatomy Knowledge

One way to learn what you need to know about anatomy and physiology is with a personal training program. In the Personal Trainer Certification Course offered by International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), it’s one of the first things you learn. This course covers muscle anatomy, common movement issues, and more. 

Are you already a certified personal trainer? Do you still struggle with muscle anatomy or physiology? Taking a continuing education course can help enhance your knowledge. You might take a physiology of resistance training course, for instance. This helps you provide better services as a certified strength and conditioning coach.

You can also boost your knowledge by studying visual aids. Look at images of the human body. Strive to learn where each muscle and bone is. Test yourself to make sure you’re retaining the information. (This also helps you prepare for your certification exam.)

It can also be helpful to reach out to an experienced fitness trainer. Talk to them about muscle structure and function. Ask what they’ve learned about anatomy that has enabled them to better help their clients. How has knowing about the human body helped them provide more effective sessions? How has it contributed to their cardio or strength training program?

More Skills Helpful to Personal Fitness Training

Of course, being a personal trainer requires more than knowing anatomy. Other skills that can make you a more successful fitness professional include:

  • Communication skills. A personal trainer must be able to communicate. This is critical when teaching clients proper form. It helps clients see how a specific exercise can help them reach their fitness goals.

  • Motivational skills. A trainer also needs to know how to motivate clients. You have to be able to encourage them to continue with their training even on days when they want to give up. It includes reminding them why they hired you in the first place.

  • Problem-solving skills. A good personal trainer is a problem solver. They know how to identify and overcome clients’ problem areas. Sometimes this involves trial and error. But a trainer never gives up before the problem is solved.

  • Customer service skills. A successful trainer has a strong customer-service focus. Give your clients a high level of service and they will keep coming back for more. Oftentimes, they will even bring their friends!

Qualifications Needed to Work as a Personal Trainer

You don’t need certification to provide services as a personal trainer. But if you plan to work for a fitness center or gym, certification may be required. Taking a personal training prep course is the first step to meeting this requirement.

What if it’s not required? There are still benefits to taking this route. A trainer certification program teaches you all about fitness. You learn the ins and outs of cardio and resistance training. You gain a better understanding of individual and group fitness techniques.

If you’re ready to get started, ISSA offers Personal Training Certification. This course provides an in-depth look at the human body and how it works. You also learn what it takes to be a top fitness professional. And if you want to start your own personal training business, this course teaches you how.


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Resources

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2018, September 26). anatomy. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/anatomy

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