Assessing clients is the practice of putting a client through a series of tests designed to establish a baseline of movement and exercise ability.
Broadly, there are two schools of thought on assessments.
One is to do a full assessment on the client the first time he or she comes into the facility. This may be folded into an exercise session or wholly separate from one.
The other approach is to skip the assessment and get right to the exercising.
Joe DeFranco put up an article recently on his site. Because he's since put up another one this one may have gotten just buried enough that you'd miss it. Asessment for Dummies takes the approach that you don't need to do individual assessments on incoming clients if you do a few things. These basically boil down to:
a) pay attention from the moment they walk in the door.
b) pay attention while they do exercises, especially running and squatting.
Which one works better? It's hard to say. I have done both, with good results in either case. The first allows for very specific testing that doesn't directly result in a "training effect" (the client doesn't get better as a resul). The second allows you to jump right in and start to see how the client does under a load or resistance or stress. For the second I have a generic "first day in training" template I use. As the client goes through the training (which is cleverly disguised as the warmup plus some exercises) I can check for movement problems, screen for and quiz about injuries, and otherwise see how it's going.
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