Hiring a personal trainer with more than five years of experience significantly reduces the risk of minor injuries and pain compared to a new trainer, according to a new study.
“One explanation could be that coaches become instructors over time and can then be more specific about how to train to avoid injury,” says Mamunur Rasheed, Ph.D. in Occupational Health Science from the University of Eula.
Subjects ranged in age from 15 to 55, were mostly male, and included both seasoned gym goers and people who had only been working out for a few weeks. The workouts reflected the range of equipment available in gyms, such as free weight training equipment and machines for different muscle groups, as well as outdoor mobility training such as aerobics and CrossFit.
Participants were asked daily for a week if they experienced this muscle pain. If the answer was yes, they were asked to identify in which of eight different areas of the body they felt pain (neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, back, hip/thigh, knee and/or ankle/foot).
“A limitation of the study is that we captured pain, which in many cases was caused by minor muscle damage, but which did not necessarily include an injury. The key was feeling the pain,” says Mamunur Rashid.
The group with a trainer with less than one year of experience had more than twice the frequency of muscle soreness compared to those whose trainer had more than five years of experience. When the coach had between one and five years of experience, the risk of pain was also higher, but only about 20% higher than for the group that hired the most experienced coaches.
The study participants engaged in either strength trainingflexibility training or both at 74 different gyms in Bangladesh and was coordinated by Sohel Ahmed, a physical therapist working at a hospital in Bangladesh.
“Training in Bangladesh gyms is very similar to training in Sweden. One difference is that there usually is small groups sharing a machine during strength training and other types of training, whereas in Sweden you are almost always alone with a trainer when you do strength training or independent training,” says Manzoor Kader, MD, Physiotherapy.
The researchers also investigated whether coach education had an effect on the perception of pain and minor injuries, but did not get a clear answer.
“Education is clearly important, but we need a larger data set with sufficient distribution in terms of educational qualifications and experience of coaches to determine the impact it can have. What we could see clearly is that experience matters a lot. I think one explanation for this is that coaches develop as instructors over time and can more clearly demonstrate how to train to avoid injury when they are more experienced,” says Mamunur Rasheed.
The study was published in Sport.
Sohail Ahmed et al., Educational background and qualifications of fitness trainers and its association with musculoskeletal pain in their trainees: a cross-sectional study, Sport (2022). DOI: 10.3390/sports10090129
Courtesy of the University of Eulen
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