Although a person may have numerous possible combinations of needs and goals that drive their decisions to engage in resistance training, for the purpose of resistance exercise selection we will group goals into two general classifications, performance-based goals and aesthetic-based goals. As you gather stated goals from the client and discover the client’s needs from an assessment, you can begin to identify and prioritize training goals and needs. This process not only is vital for effective exercise selection but also will aid in organizing exercises into training routines and designing overall programs as presented in chapter 6. These goals also influence the choices and application of all elements of technique as discussed in chapter 4.
In short, performance based goals relate to desires for increased joint, muscle, and body control or enhancement of biomotor abilities. Biomotor abilities such as strength, endurance, stability, mobility, speed, power, and agility are the general adaptations or benefits the body can derive from resistance training and other forms of purposeful exercise. Goals associated with performance and increases in biomotor ability can range from simply wanting to tie one’s own shoes without back pain to trying to set a world record in a specific event.
Many performance goals may also be referred to as needs, particularly those related to better joint function, movement restoration, cardiovascular wellness, and overall health. Often clients do not recognize these needs or underestimate their importance, so they have not yet become goals in their minds. This is why a comprehensive assessment process should precede exercise selection and program design. What a person needs for optimal fitness and wellness should be prioritized appropriately in relation to goals of any type.
Aesthetic-based goals relate to the physiological adaptations gained through exercise that affect appearance. Typically these goals involve desires for gains in muscle hypertrophy or muscle size as well as a decrease in body fat. However, changes in posture, which would often be categorized as a performance goal, will also dramatically affect appearance. The pursuit of aesthetic goals dominated the thought processes of the fitness industry for many years and has greatly influenced all aspects of resistance training such that magazines, instructional books, videos, certification courses, and even the design of resistance training equipment all were biased toward building bigger muscles.
In recent years throughout the fitness industry, there has been a wide swing toward focusing more on training for enhanced performance. This shift has again influenced literature, education, and equipment manufacturers—so much so that many fitness professionals are now completely negating the aesthetic benefits that are possible through resistance training and still most often desired by consumers at some level. Remember that most people will have a mix of both performance and aesthetic goals. This fact places you in a precarious position at times because you must select exercises, group them into programs, and use appropriate techniques to address all the needs and accomplish the primary goals of the client. This chapter should help you in this endeavor.
This is an excerpt from Muscle Mechanics, 2E.