Personal Training Workout Routines for Clients

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Your competency as a personal trainer depends on your ability to design effective workout routines for your clients. The effectiveness of the workout routines that you design depends on your initial screening and physical assessment of your client.


During your initial assessment, you'll learn valuable information about your client's goals and fitness level. A proper screening also reveals information on health conditions or injuries that may affect your program design. Once you've collected all the information you need, you can plan effective and safe workout routines that meet your client's needs and get results.

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Individualized Routines

Design your personal training workout routines for clients based on an individual client's goals, fitness level and health conditions. A particular client's goals may include fat reduction, muscle and strength gains or general fitness enhancement. Your client's fitness level may range from beginner and advanced to the experienced athlete.


Workout routines for generally healthy clients may differ from the exercise prescription for clients with health conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. If your client has health conditions, always get clearance from a medical professional before designing and implementing a workout routine.

Warm-up and Stretching

No matter the client's fitness level or goals, all workout routines should begin with a proper warm-up and stretching. Warming up with some light cardio exercise brings fresh blood and oxygen to the muscles you are about to challenge. Exercising when the body is warm improves performance and prevents injury.


Stretching helps maximize range of motion in the joints and muscles. After the warm up, have your client perform some dynamic stretches for the muscle groups you'll target in the workout. For example, if it is leg day, do leg swings and leg raises touching opposite hand to opposite toe. Save deeper held stretches for after the workout.

Aerobic Exercise

Personal training routines don't always include cardio. Typically you will design a program based on your client's needs that prescribes several weekly cardio workouts that clients should do on their own. Make sure you tell your client how long, how often and at what intensity she should exercise based on her goals.


Some sessions may include cardio in the form of interval training, or circuit training workouts that include high-intensity cardio intervals. Typically, these workouts are used for clients who want to lose fat or build speed.


Resistance Training

Read more: Full Body Strength Training Routine


Resistance training tends to occupy the bulk of a personal training session and largely depends on a particular client's goals and fitness level.

Fat Loss

If fat loss is the goal, compound exercises that involve more than one muscle group performed back-to-back with little to no rest increase the heart rate while building muscle. Do sets of at least 12 repetitions and up to 25 reps. How many sets of each exercise you have your client do isn't as important as just keeping them moving. Two or three total-body workouts per week is a good goal for this group.



If your client wants to build size, a mix of compound and isolation exercises with rep ranges from 8 to 12 will illicit hypertrophy, or muscle growth. Have your client do three to five sets with 1 to 2 minutes of rest in between sets. Breaking up body parts into splits, doing upper body one day and lower body another day, or training each major muscle group on separate days of the week are better for building size.



A program for a client who wants to build strength should involve heavy lifts with three sets of one to five reps. Rest in between sets should be long -- three to five minutes -- to allow for recovery and maximal force in the next lift.


A workout routine for a client who wants to get faster will focus on compound exercises done with intensity. Olympic lifts, plyometrics and medicine ball throws are effective to meet this goal. Make sure the client is working at a high intensity to build anaerobic capacity needed for sprinting.


Resistance training routines shouldn't be static. To continue to be effective, the routine should be changed up every few months, altering the exercises, speed, repetitions, rest between sets or amount of weight used.

Post-workout Stretching

Many trainers end the session after the least exercise is done, telling their clients to make sure to stretch. Many clients won't follow those directions. Post-workout stretching is just as important as the other exercises you do in the session because stretching aids recovery. Have your client do a few held stretches for the muscle groups you worked during the session. You may also choose to do foam rolling or active assisted stretches.

Read more: The Best Weight Training Routines



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