Principles I use when training new clients

When I am training new clients I follow a certain protocol. I developed this protocol out of experience with working with people and athletes for the last 5 years. My principles are Movement, Core strength, Strength Training, and Conditioning.

The first thing I do when I get a new client is establish a movement baseline. All I care about is how well you move or don’t move. I will use the Functional Movement Screen( FMS ) with people that can complete all 7 test without hindrance.


From the FMS I can learn your quality of movement.  If you quality of movement is high your chance of injury is decreased. This is by far the most important principle. If your client is not moving appropriately they will injury themselves. An injured client is a unhappy client. For the first month I am hammering how you move lots and lots of cues and adjustments and repetitions of bodyweight to low resistance, mobility, soft tissue work is done. Helping the athlete develop awareness of the body. I do not perform a lot of “corrective exercises” I just do basic movements and keep making adjustments until the athletes gets that “ah-ha” moment.

Core Strength

Core strength is very important. I define the core as the area from the base of the neck to above the knees. The core is the root of all movement with out it you are sunk. A lot of core training is teaching the client how to breath. Properly breathing helps to align the body properly. With improper breathing comes improper movement. The core musculature has two purposes first to create movement. and second to resist movement. I train the core for both facets. I perform a lot planks and strongman exercises yolk carry, farmers walks, planks, and other variations of core exercises. Once my client is able to perform a proper plank for 2 minutes I know they are ready to handle high resistance strength training.

Strength Training

Strength is the foundation for all athletic performance.  I want my clients to be strong relative to their body weight. I have strength standards for both men and women. All my strength standards I took from Dan John and modified based on my own experience. The standards are based on the 5 movements of the human body: Push, Pull, Squat, Hip Hinge, and Carry. Each movement is based on your body weight. So my clients have two choices 1. Get stronger in all the movements, 2. Lose weight.  Some people will need either or a combination of both.


The last principle is conditioning. The reason why I have conditioning last is because running, cycling and swimming put an immense amount of stress on the body. If you body can’t move properly, or is not strong enough to resist the stress it will break down. Getting the body ready for conditioning is very important to insure that my clients stay injury free.

These are my principles when I am training clients this is to insure that they are happy and injury free. If you have any questions feel free to ask me anything.

Author: Smithfitness

A former basketball player now fitness professional. Alex holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Kinesiology and certified NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist(CSCS). Alex loves lifting heavy things repeatedly and going for long runs or rides and helping others achieve high levels of fitness and health. If you love fitness and health follow this blog and submerge yourself in all the fitness and health knowledge.

3 thoughts on “Principles I use when training new clients”

    1. If the person has bad joint that limits movement not due to muscular tightness or poor fascia tissue quality I will still train the other movements the same. add additional maybe muscle isolation to keep the muscles strong while staying away from pain. If that means incorporating other training styles.

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