To be a successful trainer, one needs a varied set of skills. Like a good mechanic who is sure to have a tool for every job, a trainer must also have a varied toolbox. Once such tool every personal trainer should have at their disposal is goniometry.
Goniometry is the practice of assessing the range of motion of various movements a client performs. The motion is assessed, or more appropriately measured, by a device called a goniometer. You can then take the results and utilize them when tailoring a specific exercise program for that client.
Using goniometry can serve several purposes. One it can help improve your professional appearance amongst all of the other trainers in your area helping to set you above the rest. The main reason for this is marketability. Goniometry is a skill set not widely utilized in the current fitness industry. This can help separate you into your own niche and drive clients to your facility. Goniometry assessments themselves do not last long, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. However, keeping in mind that goniometry is not a widely used term or a well known fitness practice, this simple assessment process can be a powerful marketing tool.
Another purpose goniometry serves is as a motivational tool. Goniometry should be used during the initial client assessment process. The results from this should be recorded and utilized as a goal setting device. For instance, let’s say you have a client perform hip extensions. For this specific technique, the client should be laying on their stomach, with their legs fully extended. From here the client should raise one of their legs up (towards their back, with their leg stiff) until they meet a light resistance. The optimum degree of flexibility with this movement is around 30 degrees (measured with the goniometer). The client, however can only move to 10 degrees. This would then cue you into the clients poor flexibility within their quadriceps. As a result you could make a goal for them to increase flexibility within their quadriceps over the next 4 weeks to 20 degrees. This would be accomplished by tailoring their exercise program to include quadriceps stretching.
The practice of goniometry itself is not hard to learn. It is actually a pretty easy process. However the benefits you can reap from not only being able to better individualize a workout routine, but also the ability goniometry has of bringing in new clients is to great to simply pass up. To learn more about goniometry, pick up a copy of the “American College of Sports Medicine’s Resources for the Personal Trainer, Second Edition.”