Pelvic Floor | Pongo Power

9 Verbal Cues To Get The Best Workout with Your Personal Trainer

Personal training is just that: personal. At Pongo Power, we give you a workout program that is, above all, safe and effective.

To accomplish this, communication is vital: communicating with our clients, and teaching our clients how to communicate what they're feeling and what is occurring in their bodies.

In doing so, we deliver the best possible fitness training to our clients, tailored to fit each individual’s unique needs and goals.

Dumbell Power

Laying the Foundation with Your Trainer

The key to success for creating the best exercise program for you is to build a sound foundation. As personal trainers, providing a solid education for our clients is one of the most rewarding experiences in our professional career. We know that teaching the fundamental principles of sports science and kinetic chain function has the power to change lives.

One method we use to glean how your training is going is through RPE, or Rate of Perceived Exertion. This allows us to develop an understanding of what you are feeling, in your own words.

Everyone learns and retains information differently, so a trainer's ability to teach in a multifaceted manner is useful. One of the most effective ways for a trainer to match a client's learning style is to instill a sense of accountability. When clients provide reasons and excuses not to exercise, we address those concerns with science-backed information.

9 Verbals Cues and Effective Explanations

Learning how to exercise can be like learning another language. Sure, you can pick up a couple words to get by, but it's not the same as learning to speak fluently. When you learn how to speak the language fluently, it becomes a much more fulfilling experience.

Here are 9 ways we create a comprehensive structure for communication about exercise:


Throughout your session, rate each exercise on a scale of 1 to 10: one being, You're lying on the couch, watching TV, using the remote control; five is like a walk down the street; and ten is like, "I physically cannot perform another repetition. Oh my god, what are you doing to me? You're killing me here!"

2) Let's Rate the Exercise Together

"So, tell me – on a scale of one to ten, what would you rate that set?"

As you and your trainer become more familiar with your RPE, you'll naturally develop a shorthand together. Your trainer can ask, "Scale of 1 to 10?" and you'll be able to rate the exertion level more efficiently. Remember to be honest about your feedback so your trainer can determine your future programming.

3) The Goal of Rating Each Activity

In teaching you how to exercise safely and effectively, we aim to help you progress to a point where you're able to push yourself to a level 9 or 10 without risking injury.

4) Differentiate Types of Intensity

You trainer may ask "Was that more about coordination, or about physical exertion for you?" You can explain that the coordination is level 9 intensity while the exertion is only a level 6. You'll then come to an agreement together about the intensity level you'd like to be working at that day. The goal is to have you consistently at level 8 to 10 throughout the entire workout. This may be uncomfortable at first! So not only is it okay to start out at 6 or 7, it's much safer.

5) New Form and Great Technique

In the beginning, we'll be working on new skills, improving form, and learning good technique. As these areas improve, we'll increase resistance and intensity. That's when we can really dive into your specific goals and make your workouts more complex.


6) Do you Feel Any Pain? Any Pain At All?

It's our job to look out for you and anticipate any aches or pains. You should never try to "work through" a painful activity.

That said, it is important to note: We may ask, "Did you feel any pain in any of your joints during that exercise?"

If you feel an exercise in your joint rather than the muscle you're working out, know that 80% of exercise in the beginning of a program is preparing the joints for greater imposed demands. There are ligaments and tendons surrounding any given joint that need to be strengthened in order to create proper joint tension.

7) Good Pain versus Bad Pain

There's good pain, and there's bad pain. You should stop if you feel anything other than that good feeling of muscles working, or if you feel it in the wrong muscles.

Learning how to differentiate between good pain and bad pain is fundamental to success. You want to be able to feel the "burn" but not the "ouch!"

8) Proprioception and Spatial Relations

Part of getting in shape is training motor units to work properly together. So if certain muscles are tight and others are weak, it's natural to feel off balance.

As we work on neuromuscular training in relation to stability and flexibility, your balance will improve.

Proprioception- proprius meaning "one's own" in Latin, and ception meaning"to sense"- is how you sense your spatial relations: where the various parts of your body are located in relation to each other.

Think of the agility and coordination of soccer players, tennis players, gymnasts, etc: the more you do something, the better you get at sensing where your body is in space in relation to its parts.

9) Stabilization and Neuromuscular Training

The early stages of training- for beginning clients and those recovering from injuries- are largely about preparing the deep intrinsic stabilizing muscles and joints. Preparing the joints is just as important as building muscle.

Your trainer may emphasize these modalities early on especially, but stabilization and neuromuscular training are part of any foundational programming and should be maintained and progressed throughout your fitness journey.

Through these cues, we're able to communicate and work closely with you to ensure you get the best, safest, most effective training possible!

Interested in exercising safely and effectively?

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