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How To Train Clients and Not Hurt Them with Dan Ritchie


Filed Under (Fitness, General) by Rick Kaselj

I get asked this often from trainers on what they can do to train their clients and not hurt them.

I have talked about this a lot on ExercisesForInjuries.com and I asked Dr Dan Ritchie this as well.

He goes through things in the below interview.

Rick Kaselj


How To Train Clients and Not Hurt Them with Dan Ritchie

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video interview.

Rick Kaselj: I am down here in Orange County and I am here with Dr. Dan Ritchie. We are at the Fitness Business Summit which is a large conference with 550 fitness professionals and we are all learning different types of exercise techniques, different types of ways that we can help our clients and help communicate with our clients throughout the world like with videos, blogs and emails. Dan is one of the attendees and I wanted to talk to Dan because something that I see with people is that they grab a magazine or they will watch a video on YouTube for an exercise or an exercise program or they will jump into a class and then end up getting hurt. They injure themselves. They are aggravating like a back or a knee or hip or shoulder issue. I wanted to talk to Dan on what to do and what other options are out there when it comes to these injury creating programs.

Dan Ritchie: I got to ask you a question first, Rick! I didn’t see you at the 6:30 AM boot camp this morning. Were you there for the workout?

Rick Kaselj: I did not make this morning’s boot camp. I was chatting with Martin Rooney and Rob King. Our discussion went late into the evening so that’s what happened.

Dan Ritchie: Well, I wasn’t there either.  One of the reasons we created functional fitness solution is because we see people like you solving so many people’s injuries from exercise or injuries from maybe too much running or too much overdoing the sports.  There are a lot of fitness programs that are really not appropriate for people with a knee replacement or a reconstructed ACL like I have so people need a functional fitness solution. I mean they want to be able to move better.

Number one thing that I hear is, “I want to be able to move better with less pain”. For the most part, once you are over the age of 45, you don’t really care about being on the cover of a fitness magazine. So it’s like I don’t have to do 500 burpees to get into the best shape of my life. What I want to be able to do is walk on the beach with my kids, go swimming, play golf, or go hiking but I don’t want my knee to be killing me all the time or my back or whatever it is so you need a fitness program that really addresses my needs for regular life. If I want to be still active and hike the Grand Canyon with my grandkids someday, well my knees can’t be killing me so I want a fitness program that really solves that.

Rick Kaselj: And then maybe we can step back and explain what is functional fitness, like how is it different than all the other kind of fitness that are out there.

Dan Ritchie: Yeah! Great question! For us, we really address the client’s needs in terms of that functional component so like what it takes to climb stairs. There is a human functional component to that in terms of hip strength, knee strength and lower body strength. You don’t have to squat 300 pounds to climb stairs. A lot of times, we are training people in their 50’s and 60’s with way too heavier weights, not even really the correct technique and that’s not even the outcome they care about. They want to be able to go up and down stairs without pain. They don’t need to build a dead lift three hundred pounds or squat three hundred pounds. So the whole training program is about how I do functional movements from rotational movements which are a lot of times where people hurt their back. They go play 18 holes of golf and they don’t realize that if their hips and their back don’t rotate they are going to have back pain. We teach people how to rotate with force, how to translate from your right foot to your left foot and how to move better so you become more functional as we get older which is really essential. When we think of somebody who is 80, we think well they are less functional than somebody who is 40 but it really doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you exercise correctly you can maintain almost all of your functions.

Rick Kaselj: Alright! That is really cool! That’s really interesting! It is the kind of approach I believe in and follow. For a lot of people, the issues that lead them to injuries are due to ratcheted up intensities even if they haven’t learned to do a certain exercise yet. They have increased the load way too drastically. They are continuing on into fatigue. So, all of these things happen. I really like what you mentioned when it comes to the outcome that the individual is looking for. Not everyone wants to be ripped or lose a whole bunch of weight. There are a lot of people who just want to be able to live and enjoy life. You have a resource when it comes to help people move better. Maybe you can explain and talk about that a little bit.

Dan Ritchie: Yeah! It is called the Functional Fitness Solution. If you are 45 and you haven’t exercised in twenty years, like go on and jump in a boot camp, your back and your knees and all kinds of things are going to hurt. So we designed it with really a 45 to 55 year old in mind who is not exercising even for a 70 year old who hasn’t exercised in thirty years. They are going to need a lower level. We really built the program with 4 levels. There is a level 1 that is really designed for someone over 60 who hasn’t been exercising at all and all the way up to a level 4 where we have got Shawna Kaminski, a super fit gal in her 50’s. We put her to the test in level four.

If you are a 50 year old and you think, “I just can’t do the high intensity things, I can’t do the dynamic the jumping, the pounding but I want to work out hard“, well level 4 is designed with you in mind because its high intense. It challenges Shawna Kaminski but there are no ballistic movements so we don’t have any jumping or pounding. We teach people how to do burpees without the impact. Unfortunately, activities like burpees are great for losing weight and getting in great shape but they can be really hard on your back if you don’t do them correctly. We try to teach people how to exercise even at an intense level but not breakdown your body because in the end, nobody really wants to say we are breaking down their body. We want to feel better right after our workout. We want to feel better the next day, not like somebody beat us up.

Rick Kaselj: That’s not funny at all! But I do get those questions from people who are in their 70’s. They watch some of the exercises that I do or the workout videos that I get from my friends and on EFI and then tell me that they are way too intense or way too hard. They usually say, “I can’t do them or is there something that is not too difficult or like lower level and matches what they are looking for?” It sounds like this is exactly what people are looking for.

Dan Ritchie: Yeah! This is going to be ideal for them because they can start with level one. The workouts are as short as 14 to 15 minutes and for some people that is still pretty fatiguing but it’s appropriate. There are several level one workouts. As they get better and they feel like I need more of a challenge, they go to level two. Some clients will never get to level three or four and that is fine. They will get great results from level one and level two and they stay right there and that’s perfect.

Rick Kaselj: Yeah! I mean because you don’t have to be in pain in order to get results. That is not important!

Dan Ritchie: No pain, no gain is really not that.

Rick Kaselj: It’s not a good long term strategy! So just to wrap up the interview, where can people get more information about this?

Dan Ritchie: Well, I assume you are going to give them some sort of link where they can grab more about it.

Rick Kaselj: Yeah I mean I will have a link down below in the interview to the product but are there any other things you have like a YouTube channel or a blog that people can go visit and learn more about you?

Dan Ritchie: Yeah, definitely! So on YouTube, if you just punch in Functional Solution that is where we have a number of videos in terms of exercises you should not be doing and exercises you should incorporate. So that is a simple thing where Dr. Cody, my partner, has created a number of videos and then FunctionalFitnessSolution.com is where we write on things like “Are you Ready To Live To A 100?”. Are you ready to live to a 100, Rick?

Rick Kaselj: I am on the journey to figuring it out.

Dan Ritchie: So those are some of the places they can get more resources. Our program is really very simple. There is a book that comes with it and then a series of videos and there is even a bonus from Rick Kaselj.

Rick Kaselj: Staying injury free! So there you go! Thank you very much Dan. Thank you very much for watching the video. We are enjoying here in sunny Orange County.

Make sure to swing by ExercisesForInjuries.com. Enter in your injury or pain. There is a good chance that I have an article, a video or an interview that will help you overcome your injury or pain. Secondly, if you are watching this on YouTube, head up above, hit “Subscribe”. What that will do is every couple of days you will get a video like this where I talk about different tips and tricks on overcoming and preventing injury or pain. Thirdly, head down below, hit “Like” and leave me and Dan a question or comment.

If you want to learn how to effectively train mature clients for maximal function and quality of life, then check out the Functional Aging Institute here:


Rick Kaselj, MS


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