Overall Safety Guidelines
- Proper Spotting Techniques
The spotting process is very important in maintaining the safety of the participant. Never turn attention away from the client. When using free weights, be alert at all times; the client may give up at any moment when experiencing discomfort or fatigue, and may not understand the consequences of simply letting the weight go. Give positive feedback throughout the exercise but keep directions minimal. If the client is using free weight exercises, always spot closest to the weight for better control. For example, if a bench press is being performed, hold onto the bar. If a dumbbell bench press is being performed, hold on to the participant's wrists, and do not grab under the elbow. When assisting during an exercise, use a motion that is identical to the speed of performance.
- Health Monitoring
- Medical, PT evaluations and releases*
- Monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and periodically, body weight and body composition
- CPR/first aid certification
- Watch for excessive fatigue
- Identify risk factors**
- Awareness of individual's pain tolerance
- Develop a plan for complications, including emergency numbers and contacts
- Encourage the consumption of fluids
- Keep accurate performance records
- Medication cautions or effects
*Medical and PT evaluations will be needed when dealing with individuals with physical impairments. Because Don had badly damaged his knee in his accident, a PT evaluation was needed before starting his program. The evaluation revealed that he was not able to perform routine leg exercises such as leg extensions, leg curls, or leg presses. Doing these exercises would have further damaged his knee.
** A risk factor is a specific condition or behavior associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. The more risk factors, the greater chance you have of developing secondary health problems such as heart disease.
There are risk factors that cannot be controlled, such as gender, age, and family history. Risk factors that can be controlled or changed are smoking, blood cholesterol, weight and diet, blood pressure, and stress. Identifying the risk factors associated with each individual participating in the fitness program is necessary to promote a safe and healthy program.