While Certified Personal Trainers do design fitness plans and encourage clients to “Drop and give me 20” they also work in concert with a client’s other medical professionals. These professionals may include physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists and athletic trainers. Collaborating in tandem gives a client the most complete circle of care.

If a client is experiencing serious health issues such as heart disease or extreme obesity, Certified Personal Trainers can work with the client’s primary physician to develop programming, avoid contraindicated activity and cooperatively assess the best course of action for the client. Physicians can provide trainers with a complete list of prescribed medications and discuss activities that should be encouraged or avoided.

Clients with postural alignment or impingement issues may have an ongoing relationship with a chiropractor. Throughout their careers, Chiropractors are required to complete PACE approved continuing education courses. Similar to a collaboration with a physician, Certified Personal Trainers and Chiropractors can work together to design a program that complements (rather than impedes) the chiropractic plan.

Massage Therapists specialize in relieving muscle tension and alleviating discomfort. A client may have a predisposition for a posture or behavior that causes tight muscles. Certified Personal trainers and Massage Therapists can join forces to provide an even higher level of care for the client. Trainers can integrate corrective exercises into the workout program and massage therapists can concentrate on keeping muscles loose.

Post injury or surgery, rehabilitation or physical therapy is usually necessary. Out of all the collaborations discussed, this is possibly the most critical. Physical therapists will design a comprehensive recovery plan for their patient and Certified Personal Trainers must intimately understand that program in order to further the progress rather than hinder it. The nature of the recovery will dictate how much exercise as well as what type of exercise is permissible. A complete training program will include all major muscle groups but based on the client’s issues and current physical therapy plan, the trainer may need to skip certain muscle groups. Once physical therapy is finished, the personal trainer may implement therapy-specific exercises or stretches into the training program to further benefit the client.

Guided by physicians, athletic trainers work with a large variety of clients in hospitals, schools and industrial environments. Serving as an intermediary between a physician and physical therapist, athletic trainers administer medicine/first aid, conduct injury appraisals and teach preventative care. Athletic trainers must complete continuing education courses in order to stay current in their fields. Often, athletic trainers work with sports teams to provide on-site care, assessments and nutritional direction. Athletic trainers and Certified Personal Trainers can team up to either integrate sport-specific exercises into a training program or avoid over-training of specific muscles.

Clearly, cooperative medical relationships can significantly elevate the level of client care. However, do not initiate medical relationships without the consent of the client and a signed Release of Information form. The Release of Information form protects you in the event the client decides to pursue legal action.