Train for What You Need
by Javier Bergas, BS
There is no better training than doing the activity you really need.
While that is a phrase that seems simple and very obvious, sometimes we get carried away by the large number of stimuli around us. New training trends, articles in popular journals that promote the virtues of certain workouts, the promise of results with the use of new equipment, global training optons that differ from our local reality, etc. that make us lose the focus on the real needs of our clients.
There are hundreds of comparative studies of activities and/or training typologies where results are analyzed. For example, Carrasco-Poyatos (2019) compared the effects on strength and stability of the abdomen between a program of two weekly strength training and Pilates sessions for women over 60 years of age. The results were very similar, with a tendency to greater adaptations in isometric strength in Pilates and dynamic strength in traditional resistance training.
Or the research of Padua (2017) that analyzed and quantified the improvements of some physical skills in a group of subjects over 65 years old who practice regular activities in the gym and in an aquatic environment. The results indicated that both the water and land programs improved motor skills in the elderly; the water group showed significant improvements in abdominal strength and balance compared to the land group.
We could give many more examples, but the most important thing is to analyze this data with a global vision. We will come up with two basic conclusions that possibly do not bring anything new; although, in my opinion, it is necessary to remember them often:
- 1. Training safely with activities oriented to the needs of the client will undoubtedly generate benefits regardless of disciplines, formats and brands.
- 2. There are no miraculous training effects. Your exercise results will be determined by your training choices.
So, basically, we need to make an effort to understand the needs of our students. Performing a continuous evaluation, not only when they begin the program, as needs may vary over time.
Hence a very common doubt arises. If we are all different and if we all have specific needs, does it make sense to do a group class?
Overall, we are similar and, at the same time, different. When we analyze the needs of the group, most everyone will have comparable general needs with slight differences depending on each person’s daily lifestyle, history of movement (or absence from it), work, etc. As a fitness professional, we must be able to provide variations to modify the stimulus of each movement, adapting to the needs of each individual.
So, what is the best training? There is not one correct answer. There is only an adequate training stimulus to meet the specific need of each participant. And, on either side of that stimulus is one that is less adequate because the individual has either progressed past that point or has not yet reached that level, and the right moment will depend on his/her own progression.
 Carrasco-Poyatos, M. & cabbage. (2019). Pilates versus resistance training on trunk strength and balance adaptations in older women: a randomized controlled trial. Peer J, 7, e7948.
 Padua, Elvira & Cabbage. (2017). Water versus land-based exercises as physical training programs in elderly. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness. 58. 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07307-8.
Javier Bergas, BS, is a primary school teacher, International AEA Training Specialist, AEA AFAP/AFEP Program Leader Trainer, and the product manager of Ego Wellness Resort in Lucca, Italy and MirandaGym in Majorca, Spain. He is an aquatic fitness and swimming instructor for various populations. To learn more, contact Javier by email (email@example.com), visit his website (https://javierbergas.com) or connect via social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter - javier.bergas).