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Old 04-28-2009, 10:39 PM   #1
Errol Clark
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Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Hi there! Thanks for reading my thread!

I'm currently doing mobile training while building my practice and I'm trying to compose a list of benchmarks for some of my "in-home" clients.

Some of these clients are very obese, have serious health concerns with blood pressure, cholesterol etc... and need special attention and training.

I've been reviewing the literature and don't have much trouble with scaling the exercises, but i am struggling with the metabolic conditioning. I don't think that many will go to a gym, so i'm stuck with walking/running and possibly biking and swimming.

I'm trying to come up with some very easy benchmarks for them but it's really difficult for me to judge the distances and times at that slow of a pace.

I would love to hear from feedback from anyone that's helped clients like this. any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

here is the list so far;

Beginner Beginner checklist:

10 air squats at knee height
5 knee pushups
5 jumping pull ups
10 anchored sit ups
Straight plank; 30 sec
Static hang; 10 sec
Vertical leap of 4"
400m Run: under 4min???
Walk 5km: under 2 hrs????
biking ???
swimming ????
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:40 AM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

For really obese people you'll need to scale the metabolic stuff down still further:
Walk 400m without resting. -- Work up to longer distances. I wouldn't ask anyone to run unless they could walk at least a mile without rest.

Climb one flight of stairs without resting. -- Work up to multiple repeats. Stair workouts are actually pretty strenuous, but have the advantage of not requiring equipment and immediately improving quality of life for people whose homes have stairs.

Remember to be sensitive to joint impacts and range of motion issues.

Katherine
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:06 AM   #3
Sara Fleming
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Errol,

I start all of my clients with a basic functional assessment to check range of motion and strength through a dynamic warm up and six exercises. I then give them the same workout scaled to their abilities and it has worked with very fit people, very obese deconditioned people, and elderly and/or disabled people.

Don't be afraid to challenge them. Have a conversation about what they do on a day to day basis and if it involves bending over and picking things up, then they can deadlift. If they reach overhead at any time, they can do overhead presses. If they have children, they can do anything Crossfit has to offer, you just have to scale it and not push them past their abilities. Ie. watch The Biggest Loser and don't act like those trainers.

I'm not afraid to push my overweight clients who are moms because I know they are routinely loading heavy groceries and children in and out of cars, lugging laundry baskets up stairs, and probably doing the yard work on top of it all. What I do with them is way safer because its done with proper form and therefore is not going to destroy their joints the way their everyday life is.

I functionally assess my clients by observing them doing the following exercises, modified as needed (ie, let them support their weight and rest as needed):

Air squat
Sumo deadlift with a kettlebell
Barbell Deadlift
Overhead press
Body row
Pushup/Assisted Pushup (I prefer to have them do a full pushup off a raised surface such as a bar, bench, wall, or countertop, rather than their knees)
Lunge

This usually gives me a good idea as to where their flexibility and strength deficits may be.

The first workout I have them do is a modified Cindy which is 3 rounds of 10-15 air squats, 5-10 body rows, and 10-15 pushups. I can adjust the height of the body rows and pushups such that pretty much everyone can complete this workout. Its cardiovascular, core centric, and strength building. I make my clients a set of pullup ropes that they can use at home so they can do the workout at home.

The next workout we do, is a deadlift, press, and lunge circuit. And we continue from there.

I keep track of how much weight they are lifting, their overall conditioning reflected by the relative intensity of their workouts and periodic repeats of their workouts with added reps and sets, improvements in form, and learning of new skills and improvement in abilities.

The discovery and evaluation process with clients is ongoing and although it is tempting to run a lot of tests at the beginning, I find it is less intimidating and more fruitful to take a teaching approach with the client. As they improve as a student and can take on more challenges as an athlete with improvements in form, conditioning, and athletic ability, the overall improvements in their health and fitness level become obvious. When situps are part of the workout, take note of how many they could do. Next time they come up, remind them of the improvement they have made.

Good luck,

Sara

Last edited by Sara Fleming; 04-29-2009 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:16 PM   #4
Tom Seryak
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

all good stuff. i would add be careful having obese persons doing plymetrics (jumping pull-ups/vertical leap). imo, i think the risk outweighs the reward.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
Errol Clark
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

thanks so much! the comments are very helpful!
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:55 AM   #6
James Gordon
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Hey,

I've been using Beyond the Whiteboard (www.beyondthewhiteboard.com) (WFS) for 6 weeks now and it is a great tool for everyone, but especially new and deconditioned clients. I generally set a baseline workout specific to the individual if they are in seriously bad shape. The differences in mobility, weight, cardio endurance, medical conditions etc are so vast that it's impossible to have a "cookie cutter" baseline that fits everyone.

You can set up any workout and record the result. Go back to it in a month and run the same routine. The program graphs the results as well as weight, body fat, benchmarks etc. The look of pride on the client's face when they knock 1 or 2 min off of a workout in only four weeks is awesome to see!

BTW. I don't work for and am not affiliated with this site. I'm just very impresse by how much it has motivated my clients to keep pushing (newbies and fire-breathers alike).

Best,

James
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:23 PM   #7
Gayle Jordan
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Arrow Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Quote:
Originally Posted by Errol Clark View Post

Some of these clients are very obese, have serious health concerns with blood pressure, cholesterol etc... and need special attention and training.
Hi Errol,

When I started CrossFit 6 months ago at 234 pounds I really couldn't do much, but thanks to some awesome CF Trainers I have now lost 77 pounds and still losing!!! My advice would be to do more cardio endurance WOD's! I believe that is what really helped me in the begining!

example: 4 Rounds (1 minute max reps)
Rowing
Box Jumps/Step Ups
Sit-Ups
Push-Ups

Another thing that really helped me the most was Rowing 1000m before my WOD and sometimes after if I had it in me!!!

Jumping Rope is another good one!!!

Hope that helps! Tell your clients that I'm cheering for all of them and take it day by day, wod by wod within no time they'll see a change and have you to thank forever!!!

Take Care & Keep us posted!!!
((hugs))
gayle in VA
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:19 PM   #8
Leah Turner
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayle Jordan View Post
Hi Errol,

When I started CrossFit 6 months ago at 234 pounds I really couldn't do much, but thanks to some awesome CF Trainers I have now lost 77 pounds and still losing!!! My advice would be to do more cardio endurance WOD's! I believe that is what really helped me in the begining!

example: 4 Rounds (1 minute max reps)
Rowing
Box Jumps/Step Ups
Sit-Ups
Push-Ups

Another thing that really helped me the most was Rowing 1000m before my WOD and sometimes after if I had it in me!!!

Jumping Rope is another good one!!!

Hope that helps! Tell your clients that I'm cheering for all of them and take it day by day, wod by wod within no time they'll see a change and have you to thank forever!!!

Take Care & Keep us posted!!!
((hugs))
gayle in VA
I would have thought step ups would be dangerous for an obese client, especially considering the extra weight on their knees. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:50 PM   #9
Sara Fleming
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Re: Beginner Benchmarks with Obese Clients

Stepping down actually creates the dangerous shearing force, i.e., walking down stairs, but when you do step ups, the reverse motion is backwards so the risk is minimal.
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