Working with overweight people is part of the journey of being a movement professional. It is an opportunity to make someone feel great about their body.
Often if I watch an instructor working with a client who is overweight, I can see that they have maybe never been overweight themselves and therefore they do not understand what the client or patient feels like when they are put in certain positions.
So this quick blog post is dedicated to making your clients who are slightly overweight feel a little better. The last thing we need, is to have them feel worse because not only do they feel bad about their weight, but now they realize that movements that should be natural and easy to do, really are not. They are restricted. So what can you do to make it a little easier on them?
- Approach each session as you would if you were exercising a pregnant client.
- Never lie them flat on their back without any support under their chest and head (triangular cushion).
- Asking them to squeeze their legs together as they do hip extension (bridge or pelvic curl) is virtually impossible due to the excess adipose tissue.
- Do not ask them to hold both legs up off of the floor at any angle. Due to the size of their abdomen, their abdominals have weakened and they cannot maintain a good pelvic position. They WILL hurt their back.
- Use assists where ever you can. Place the legs on a large ball if you want their legs up. Place a small pad under their head if they are extended in their neck when in a normal supine position.
- Do not ask them to lie flat on their stomach and then lift their chest up off of the floor. You will get huge compensations occuring, and a squashed feeling in the abdomen. You could do a simple core contraction while they lie on their tummy but allow them to open their legs slightly.
- Always allow them to have their legs a little wider than usual. This will enable them to hold a good posture or to maintain a good pelvis without adipose tissue changing posture or pelvic positions.
- Do not ask them to squeeze their arms in at their sides, it will force them to roll their shoulders forward and they will lose good form. There is too much excess weight at the area of the triceps and lats and therefore it is impossible to expect them to maintain elbows in at their sides.
- They might struggle with posterior pelvic movements due to the adipose tissue that is at the inner thigh area so always allow the legs to be slightly wider than hip width apart.
- Chest lifts or ab crunches are very difficult and therefore a triangular cushion is ideal. It elevates their chest slightly and therefore the pressure is off of their lungs.
- Doing deep lateral flexion of the spine is challenging as they are restricted if they have a larger abdomen. Rather allow them to keep a longer side (oblique). Also have them slightly elevated on their side on the triangular cushion.
Remember to be sensitive when planning their session. Think it through and make sure that you have taken their size into consideration.
Do not allow them to ever feel that their weight is a huge challenge for you. Just follow these easy steps and you will be A-OK!
That is the healthy truth!
Tanya Thompson – CEO and Founder of-courseonline.com – ONLINE Post education for movement professionals.