Get rid of injuries with a personal trainer: Riinu’s training path with Raul
What brought you to a personal trainer?
I had problems with my knees and back since my teenage years; at that time I did not receive proper help. My athletic lifestyle probably helped a bit, but after coming of age I still had chronic back pain as well as knee problems. Sometimes the pain became completely unbearable. In addition to problems with growing pains, there were injuries that left their mark. First, I found a physiotherapist who helped me get rid of large muscle tension and stabilized the condition of the joints and ligaments. After that, the physiotherapist suggested doing strength training to strengthen the body. I was involved in various sports, but at the same time I did not have the proper experience in general physical training. I absolutely did not want to receive new injuries, so I decided to start strength training with a personal trainer who will monitor my technique and recommend individual exercises just for me.
What fears and biases did you have about personal training?
I don’t remember being prejudiced. There are different people in every area and you just have to find the ones that suit you. I definitely wanted a coach with enough experience and knowledge to cater to my individual needs during training. Therefore, I filled out a form on the website of the sports club, where I described my wishes and needs, in the hope that they will recommend a suitable trainer. And so it happened! I was also wondering if the trainer would be able to offer me enough exercise challenge without pushing me beyond my limits. I must say that the balance of training was very good. When necessary, the trainer makes me work more or relax a little.
What are three things/ideas personal training has given you?
The three main things a personal trainer gives me are motivation, knowledge and safety. I think that I myself am quite well motivated to exercise, because I really like physical activity. It makes me feel better and sleep better. However, maintaining a rhythm is much easier with a trainer. I really look forward to our joint training. It is also much easier to work out on my own now, because the amount of training programs is constantly growing and I get good advice from the trainer, for example, how to do effective exercises on very simple equipment while travelling. I also like that the trainer can explain why the exercise needs to be done with this particular technique and why something is needed. Although I myself have a medical background and have been involved in sports, I get a lot of new knowledge from the trainer, which makes me feel more secure during training. I dare to make an effort without fear of a new injury, and if something is felt somewhere, the trainer usually has a solution on how to relieve tension from the muscle and what to do to prevent such a situation in the future.
Who can benefit from personal training and why?
Personal training is for everyone! I especially recommend it for beginners, people who find it difficult to motivate themselves, and those who have individual needs (injuries, anatomical features). A personal trainer offers a personalized approach that is hard to achieve in group workouts, and the knowledge of how to really make you stronger through exercise without hurting yourself. Also, it is very helpful mentally when the workouts are effective.
Raul, how did your client come to you for training? Describe your collaboration and how it started.
I received a contact from personal trainer coordinator Kadri Paat. I then wrote to the client, introduced myself and offered a time for the first meeting. At the first meeting we got to know each other better, I learned about Riinu’s problems, wishes, and goals. Since Riinu was referred to a personal trainer through a physiotherapist to get rid of back pain, the main goal was to focus on improving back endurance. However, since the body is a single entity, we naturally had to strengthen the entire body. We started by looking for suitable exercises and learning how to perform them. Riinu is very hardworking and consistent; she is a very quick learner and wants to work hard to achieve the best results. We found pleasant and suitable exercises and began to gradually increase the training load. The fact is that we can improve the endurance and performance of muscle tendons only through the ‘effort’ phase. By doing pleasant exercises with pleasant effort and dosing training loads, listening to the body, we can get an excellent result. Riinu is a very athletic person and knows how to work hard. Such a client is a gift to any personal trainer. It is very pleasant to work with her. It’s nice to chat with Riinu, during training we also talk about life and different situations. We are never bored; our workouts are varied and productive.
What does your most classic personal training look like?
At the start of every personal training session, I ask Riinu and every other client I have the following questions:
- Did you sleep well?
- Did you eat well today?
If the answers are positive, then we can focus more effectively on training. Riinu appreciates sleep and healthy eating. Our personal training starts with a warm-up, for which we sometimes use rowing. She loves it, and of course after that we do various gymnastic exercises to prepare the body for what we will be doing in training. We always try to do a workout with a load for the whole body. We make sure that in each exercise five basic movements are performed: squat, hinge, push, pull, and carry. Of course, that doesn’t mean we squat, bench press, and deadlift during every workout –certainly not. There are many different variations of exercises and movements. First, we make sure that the exercises are suitable for Riinu, that is, she enjoys doing them. It’s easy with Riinu because she likes almost all the exercises. At the end of the workout, I add something fun, like jump rope, TRX, or throwing a stuffed ball. Riinu likes it when we do circuit exercises. I do some exercises with Riinu and other clients: it motivates clients and creates a more fun, working atmosphere.
Drawing up a training program – do you train together or on your own? Why such an approach?
Once a week we train together. Usually two or three exercises are performed in one circle, for example, pull-ups and a vertical bench press. In one exercise, you pull up vertically, and in the other, you lift the weight vertically. Another option is a horizontal pull and a horizontal push, they go well together. The general system is to perform a round of two exercises, take a break, and then another round follows. At the same time, we perform exercises such as squats with a barbell or various pull-ups separately, and after each series there is a break. The choice of loads is such that at the end of the series we enter the phase of ‘effort’, because only in this way can we gradually improve load tolerance and strength. The workout plan is creative and exactly what the body wants and allows for that day. We start with what Riinu has done in the previous days, how she feels and what she would like to do that day. Then I review my set of exercises and suggest several options. The length of rest breaks also depends on how you feel – of course, we use a heart rate monitor to follow recovery process. After our personal training, I give Riinu instructions for independent training. We make plans based on convenience and necessity; only in this way can we maintain consistency.
Tell something funny or unusual about personal training.
We have enough fun topics to talk about at every workout. What is unusually remarkable is that Riinu does exactly as many repetitions as the coach says. Riinu always does everything like Chuck Norris!
3 recommendations for people who are afraid to go to the gym or to a personal trainer?
Don’t be afraid because…
- A personal trainer is your best friend. He doesn’t criticize you, he supports you.
- A personal trainer gives you self-confidence and understanding of how to train in the gym.
- A personal trainer will teach you how to use the tools with which you can work miracles; you just have to want it.
Raul Köster, personal trainer and chiropractor
Raul has been involved in various sports for over 35 years. He is a 9-time Estonian champion in power lifting, the absolute champion of Estonia in 2003, and in 2002 he took 6th place at the European Championship. He received an international certificate of personal trainer from Gluckerkolleg (Germany).
In addition, Raul completed advanced course in the field of physiotherapy (University of Tartu), level V professional teacher (Tallinn University), level VI sports masseur (M. I. Massaažiakadeemia), nutrition consultant (Tervisekool). The trainer’s favourite sport is skiing in winter and running in summer: he has run and skied almost 100 marathons. Rich practical and theoretical knowledge allows Raul to achieve miracles in his work. Respect, honour, love, care, healthy movement and good mood are the foundations of Raul’s life.
If you want to start your journey with a clean slate, or just want a classic or sports massage, feel free to contact Raul at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just one step to start!