Blog Header Image


October 4, 2023

Adaptive Fitness Programming Ideas

In this video, you will see a few day's worth of small group training I complete with local clients I train who have developmental delays. I group the clients' I work with by functional abilities so I can address the needs of each person, accordingly.

For higher functioning clients, I like doing strength movements with bands in a circle so everyone can see and mimic the movements I demonstrate, AND because its just fun! I cue the groups into various pushing, pulling and twisting movements as a group. I use a velcro band to hold the center of the bands together in the middle.

We also use the bands to complete chariot races with horse-racing music playing in the background. We trot, we gallop, we high step, we back pedal, we stomp, we change directions all in a circle pattern. Then we switch partners.

In the lower functioning groups, we complete the majority of our exercises in a circle with smaller numbers of participants. Almost everyone is sitting or using his/her wheelchair. We do less transitional type of exercises and use the same modalities the entire class. We use modalities such as: PVC pipes with beans inside for weights, we use bands, dumbbells, rubber balls, ribbons, boxing gloves, etc. We use music as our metronome to stay on beat. I like using music under 128 bpm to stay on track.

For more information about implementing these ideas into your personal training business at your gym, check out the full course certified by the American Council on Exercise at:

This course is intended to be used by anyone wanting to incorporate fitness & health into the lives of the people they live and work with, who have special needs – and do not know where to begin.

people with down syndrome playing racquetball with a personal trainer
personal training for an adult with cerebral palsy
personal trainer exercising with a person in a wheelchair
dumbbell exercise with a personal trainer and a person in a wheelchair
adaptive fitness exercise book for personal trainers

Continue reading